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Opinions of Sunday, 9 June 2019

Columnist: Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem

Salah uncertainties: crescent moon sighting brouhaha - Part II

"Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion—several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven." --Mark Twain.

According to Albert Einstein, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind.

Francis Bacon, on his part, says little knowledge of science makes a person an atheist but indebt knowledge of science makes a person a believer in God.

And Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, Chapter 30:22 "And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours”

Not only the differences of our languages is one of His Signs, fellow Muslims, but the differences of our beliefs in God.

Again, Allah says in Qur'an 2:272 that "It is not for thee [O Prophet] to make people follow the right path, since it is God [alone] who guides whom He wills."

In Qur'an 13:31 Allah affirms "Yet even if they (nonbelievers) should listen to a [divine] discourse by which mountains could be moved, or the earth cleft asunder, or the dead made to speak - [they who are bent on denying the truth would still refuse to believe in it]! Nay, but God alone has the power to decide what shall be. Have, then, they who have attained to faith not yet come to know that, had God so willed; He would indeed have guided all mankind aright?"

In the above verses, it is clear as crystal, that God is aware of humanity's division and misunderstanding of matters of theology. And it is deliberate on the part of God to leave humanity fragmented in matters of worship and religion.

However, in a polarized country where everything seems to be segmented along the lines of NPP-NDC; "PEPENIS" and Southerners; Asantes and Akyims; Abudus and Andanis; Nkunya and Alavanyo; etc., it is difficult for one to decipher and determine whether certain religious divisions are originating as a result of divine's decree or they exist because of PEPENIS vrs Southerners, or Akyims vrs Asantes, or Abudus vrs Andanis.

It is often nebulous to realize certain religious divisions are not because of mundane matters but because of God.

In part One (I) of this article I published last Tuesday, June 4, 2019, I, in my perspective, MISGUIDED Muslims who don't follow Saudi Arabia's announcement of sighting the crescent moon in the Holy Land to begin or end Ramadan.

My fundamental premise in that article was built on unity as Ummah.

How to make conscious efforts not to have different set of dates as far as the Islamic calendar is concerned in observing religious functions.

This notion of mine prompted my argument that those who are "local sighters" and do not follow Saudi Arabia in sighting the crescent moon, must have their own calendar when it comes to Hajj and Arafat.

I tried scientifically to prove the sameness of date with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world, the singleness of the earth's moon, the geographical location of Saudi Arabia on earth, and for which reasons I concluded all Muslims must rely and follow Saudi's sighting of the crescent moon.

But I was wrong.

My argument, though, was valid, astronomically speaking, there's another dimension to the sighting of the crescent moon despite the sameness of day or date which can bring about differences of sighting the crescent moon beyond bad weather that might have eclipsed the moon from been sighted in other countries.

Simply, astronomically, the moon can't be sighted on the same day throughout the world even as we have the same date or day and differs only in hours.

Naturally and scientifically, the moon, though only one, cannot appear to all countries in the world the same day according to Zakir Naik who also quoted an Astronomer he found out from.

This, he said, was the view of Ibn as well.

Hence, Saudi could have sighted the moon but it will have taken one or two days to be sighted for the first time in, say, Canada or Ghana.

In short, the moon scientifically takes two days to appear to all countries of the world.

It appears to some countries before it gets to others.

And sometimes, it even takes up to three days.
But this happens only after a long period of time according to astronomers.

Whether local or global sighting, is the same. It is not MISGUIDANCE or out of personal whims.

However, the fact that we all pray towards the Ka'ba (qibla) for unity sake when observing salat, wouldn't it be better to rely on Saudi Arabia in sighting the crescent moon also?

Because, whether some Muslims in order parts of the world rely on their own local sighting with different date of Shawwal or not, they can't rely on their date to embark upon Hajj.

On the day of Arafat, it is the same day throughout the world for those who wish to fast, do.

Moreover, Makkah is in the center of the world which affords the Holy Land the privilege to have the same date or day with the rest of the world.

As such, isn't it high time Muslims start fasting together, break and pray Eidul Fitr together, just like Muslims around the world fast on day of Arafat and pray towards the Ka'ba for unity sake?

Long live Islam.

And may Allah unite us.