Shawaal Moon 1435 (South Africa) Musings

29th July 2014

Asslamo Allaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

3 days have passed since the sighting of Shawaal moon in South Africa and my phone hasn’t stopped beeping and ringing about the issue. I heard the announcement live on air and had no problems accepting the sighting because I have immense trust upon the Ulama so no questions asked.

Before my “musings” let me get some basics out of the way. One of our brothers (Salih) posted this picture of the moon on twitter and asked me to spot it and here is my feeble attempt to draw a red circle over what I think the crescent is : - ) and the location is Laudium (South Africa)

I am sure that the brother will correct me if I am wrong :P but this is the best my eyes can do with a grainy picture...


I had zero problems celebrating Eid because of two reasons:

  1. I have been commanded by Allah (SWT) to make Taqleed of Ulama so I did
  2. Moon was sighted hours later in Chilli which confirmed the "possibility"  of South African sighting.

I have been informed that New moon sighting occurred at:

  1. Johannesburg in Northcliff,
  2. Lenasia South
  3. Laudium (picture above)
  4. and 3 other areas.

New moon sighting maps use several criteria and here is a map using “ODEH” criteria instead of the famous “Shaukat Khalid” criteria with Johannesburg and Santiago locations shown:

Here is a little table explaining it a little better:




Johannesburg (SA)

28.0456° E


26.2044° S



11: 39 (Santiago)

Santiago (Chilli)

70.6667° W


33.4500° S



00:01 (Johannesburg)

Due to the time difference it is obviously not possible for South Africans to get their moon sighting verified from South America. However, I do have some random thoughts and queries on the issue.

  1. Firstly, why does the moon have to be sighted with the naked eye?  Why can’t analogue optical Aid such as Binocular or Telescope be used in the process? I might be mistaken but I do believe to the best of my knowledge that these optical Aids are used by Ulama in India and Pakistan
  2. Secondly, if we are to rely on the moon sighting of another country be it Saudi Arabia, Morocco or South Africa it is not practical to expect people to wait until sunset! The news of moon sighting will be known to the masses hours earlier (even before Asar). I genuinely admire the South African system because they rely on local moon sighting and by definition the masses will wait for the news (around sunset) but for British or Canadian Muslims who know that their localities follow a certain country how can you expect the masses to wait? And for what? We should encourage and preserve the Sunnah of moon sighting but what is the big secret? Personally, I knew about South African sighting before Asar but scanned for the local moon before Maghrib then grabbed a date and continued to scan and only came into the Masjid for Maghrib prayers; I knew the conclusion (of Ramadhan) before Asar.
  3. Thirdly, if the (National) Ulama have expressed confidence in the moon sighting of another country (e.g. South African Ulama for British Muslims and Chillian Ulama for Canadian Muslims) then why do we need to take the time and “re-investigate” the affairs of another country? Surely if the Ulama from Chilli (or South Africa for that matter) have declared Ramadhan (or Eid) we simply seek (Shariah complaint affirmation) of their decision and that’s it.
  4. Fourthly, the issue of Saudi moon sighting BEING IMPOSSIBLE by any criteria has been missed in the excitement over “Naked eye sighing in South Africa”. This is the main issue in the world today as expressed by Shaykh (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (HA).

We had an all-day workshop at work together where senior management discussed last year’s performance, news coverage about our company in the media during the last week and our strategy for the next 5 years. Importantly, problems during the last year were candidly discussed and high level brainstorming was done to improve the negative aspects.

The lows and negatives from last year were candidly discussed but not dwelled upon (perpetually)!

In an ideal world Muslims from multiple countries would get together, discuss the South African episode and look to improve matters. I (unfortunately) have no hope that the matter will be discussed positively and lessons learnt, instead I fully expect (incessant) dwelling upon the matter and issuance of conflicting Fatwaas (of repeating the fast or validity of Eid).

May Allah (SWT) assist this Ummah (Ameen).

Jazakallahu Khayran

posted by Muadh_Khan on 29th July 2014 - 4 comments


fishman wrote on 30 Jul 2014
watch this space - looks like we'll have another spilter group!

I totally understand the need to have a realiable/verified local sighting confirmation....the million dollar question is why is there an emphasis in the UK that we can ONLY rely on South African confirmation???

Blogger's Reply:
WS. I think that due to a number of Gujratees in UK and South Africa co-operation is easy due to family links etc.
Ansari wrote on 1 Aug 2014
In the document posted on ilmhub.com it was stated that the moon was sighted 8 degrees above the horizon:

According to the Johannesburg Planetarium, at 17:43 the moon was 6 degrees above
the horizon and at 17:50 it was 4 degrees above the horizon. This is consistent with the times that the sightings were reported.

How is the moon in your uploaded picture 8 degrees above the horizon? Or am I missing something here?
Blogger's Reply:
How are you figuring our degrees from a picture?
Concerned wrote on 3 Aug 2014
And do you think that the number of Gujratis in a country is a valid basis for trusting moon sighting testimonies? So we are only to trust Gujratis?
Blogger's Reply:
I don't know if that is or isn't the reason. UK Muslims have close ties and connections to South African Muslims so it is convenient to exchange information.
Ansari wrote on 5 Aug 2014
I don't know how to calculate the degrees from the horizon, but I thougt the angle between the moon and the horizon was quite big. This is also what Sultan Alam said:


Maulana Ashraf & Br Haneef

Thanks for sending data.

1. If you consider the white thing in your provided image as a crescent moon

then it is not correct because its altitude is nearly 20 degrees whilst correct altitude in

Ladium at 17:52 local time was only 4.3 degrees. Moreover the orientation of that

white thing is wrong.

2. A healthy moon ….having well conditions……. could be seen some

minutes before or after the sunset. As the moon on the evening of 9th September

2010 was healthy therefore you were able to spot it 5 minutes after sunset thus it is

not an astonishing phenomenon but the moon of Sunday 27th July 2014 was very

weak in you area so don’t guess it on moon of 9th September 2010.

For your ease important data is underbelow.

I am sharing this email with expert as well to get their more expertly

A similar discussion started on the ICOP group:groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/icopmem

Khalid Shaukat wasn't the only person who seems to have rejected the sighting. It's quite an interesting discussion between those who state they saw the moon, and those who explain away the sighting.

Here is Sultan Alam with his conclusion in the end:

Br Haneef
Jazakumullah for sharing knowledge but now I think that without standing with you at your sighting point, it is difficult for me to accept your sighted white thing as a crescent moon. After reading our full emailing, experts and interested persons will judge many things themselves.
By face to face scrutiny we have found the claims to sight the doubtful moons, wrong. Here is the link:


Brother Zakariyya of crescentwatch.org: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=forums&srcid=MTQ0OTQwODUzNjYzOTQxMjU3MDcBMTA4OTY0NTY0MDI4NTk2Mzg4MzcBZTNOVzlKd1NuaFVKATAuMQEBdjI

This is effectively just 2 locations close to each other. Hardly Jame Mustafiza. Both of them have timings for sightings that are completely implausible. I don't see how we can confidently validate these reports.

Do I think that these people are not trustworthy or pious or scrupulous? No. In this day and age, it is very common for people to see something that appears crescent-like but is acutally not the moon. It can be contrails (like this or this) , distant clouds that suddenly get illuminated by the sun, or atmospheric refractions.

You can read the full discussion in that group if you sign up.
Blogger's Reply:
I am lost in your comment and unable to follow or look at the links. Are you discussing the present July 27th 2014 South African Ramadhan sighting or are you referring to something in the past?
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