FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON MOON-SIGHTING
 
What is Universal Time (UT or GMT)?

"Universal Time" (abbreviated UT) is sometimes referred to as "Greenwich Mean Time" (GMT) and it is a time scale called "Coordinated Universal Time" (abbreviated UTC), which is the basis for the worldwide system of civil time. This time scale is kept by time laboratories around the world, including the U.S. Naval Observatory, and is determined using highly precise atomic clocks.

 
Ever Wonder Why?

(1) Translation of Quran in any other language was prohibited by Fatwas till about 1000 AD. Now Ulamaa' allow.

(2) 300 years ago, when clocks and watches were invented; use of those devices for prayer times was not allowed by Ulamaa'. Now they allow.

(3) 120 years ago, in India, calculated Prayer Times were not acceptable per Fatwas by Ulamaa'. Now they allow.

(4) 60 years ago, loud speakers use for Prayers was considered Haraam, per Fatwas by Ulamma' in Indo-Pak. Now they allow.

(5) 50 years ago, taking picture for ID or passports was considered Haraam, per Fatwas by Ulamma' Now they allow.

(6) For decades and even now Muslims think telescope sighting is not valid, but Ulamaa' (Scholars) accept it now valid for starting Islamic months.

It takes decades for Ulamaa' to accept science and remain reluctant to do Ijtihaad.

1. Conjunction (New Moon)

  • 1.1   Question: What does the "Birth of New Moon" mean, and what is conjunction? Show Answer

  • 1.2   Question: Why not adopt CONJUNCTION as the basis for starting the month? (Nov 24, 2001) Show Answer

  • 1.3   Question: Is it accurate to determine the exact time of the birth of the Crescent? i.e., Is it a scientific fact or an arguable theory? Show Answer

  • 1.4   Question: Does determining the birth of the 'hilal' depend on mathematical calculations only or with the aid of other factors such as observatories on earth and those orbiting? Show Answer

  • 1.5   Question: Does science absolutely negates the possibility of seeing the 'hilal' with the humane eyes unless its age is for example 14 hours? At what age can the Hilal be seen with various tools including the naked eyes? Show Answer

  • 1.6   Question: I read in some books about what is called "birth abortion" where the 'hilal' is seen in some parts of the earth, and not others, and for a certain period. Then the moon goes back to the wane due to the geographic pockets of the earth. How much truth is in this? Does it affect the astronomical calculations that determine the exact birth of the 'hilal' or the possibility of sighting the new moon with the naked eyes? Show Answer

  • 1.7   Question: Is it possible to see the astronomical new moon (invisible moon) using telescope? Show Answer

  • 1.8   Question: Some refute the astronomical calculations regarding the 'hilal' with the following argument: "The motion of the moon is different from the motion of other planets. The journey of the later can be determined precisely, while the journey of the moon is affected by many changing factors, which leave its marks on its motion, whereby it lessens the degree of certainty in describing its journey." What are your comments regarding this? Show Answer

  • 1.9   Question: Some say that astronomers differ in their decisions and calculations, therefore, their opinions are not reliable. What are your comments on this? Show Answer

  • 1.10   Question: Some argue that the predictions of astronomers in many astronomical phenomena are not precise. Therefore, how can we take their words regarding the 'hilal'? Are there any differences between these astronomical phenomena? Show Answer

  • 1.11   Question: As elongation occurs after the conjunction as well as it occurs before the conjunction, so why we consider that moon cannot be sighted before the conjunction on the western sky? Show Answer

2. Age: Youngest Moon

  • 2.1   Question: After the Moon Birth, how much time is required for people to sight the New Moon? Show Answer

  • 2.2   Question: When has the earliest new moon crescent been seen after new moon was born? (Dec 4,1997) Show Answer

  • 2.3   Question: What is the record time between a new moon and its first possible sighting, and is this result available for every point on earth? (Jan 15,1998) Show Answer

  • 2.4   Question: What is the "scientific" basis for the apparently accepted view that the moon cannot be sighted with naked eye if it younger than 13 hours or so? (Dec 24, 1998) Show Answer

  • 2.5   Question: What is the youngest new moon observation record with a telescope, binocular, and with unaided eye? (Dec 30, 1998) Show Answer

3. Big Moon (must be second day moon?)

  • 3.1   Question: If the moon is big, does it mean it is a second day moon? Show Answer

  • 3.2   Question: I saw the moon that was so big and remained above the horizon past Isha time. It has to be the second day moon. Show Answer

  • 3.3   Question: The moon on Feb 24, 2001 was so big, was it not the second day moon? What percentages of the moon surface illumination can be considered a second day moon? Show Answer

  • 3.4   Question: Why is the moon sometimes big and orange and sometimes small and white? Show Answer

4. Why not with Saudi Arabia

  • 4.1   Question: This question was put in 1997 and the answer is outdated Show Answer

  • 4.2   Question: Did someone try to tell the Saudi Arabian authorities that their calendar is totally wrong? This is causing ripple effect in the USA. I know several masajid that declared December 30, 1997 as the first day of Ramadan. Unless this is fixed in Saudi Arabia, we will continue to have two Eids. (Dec 29,1997) Show Answer

  • 4.3   Question: According to what was posted on your web page the Ramadan moon was not supposed to be visible in the Middle East on Dec 29, 1997. Yet there are reliable reports of relatives (not connected to the government officials) who saw the moon - in Syria, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. I hope you have your own sources who can confirm that. However I have not heard of anyone sighting the moon on that date in North America! Do you have an explanation for this? I am a regular visitor to your web page, I find it very informative and entertaining. May Allah bless you for the service you provide. (Jan 5,1998) Show Answer

  • 4.4   Question: Many Muslim countries in Middle-East have seen the moon on Friday (Dec 18, 1998). Why astronomers are saying that it is impossible. I would take the word of a Muslim over all the sciences, when I know that science theories change with time. (Dec 23, 1998) Show Answer

  • 4.5   Question: The first day of Dhul-Hijjah was observed in Saudi Arabia two days before here in the U.S. and one day before its neighboring countries. How could that be possible? (April 20, 1999) Show Answer

  • 4.6   Question: Eid-al-Adha was celebrated in India and Pakistan on March 29, 1999, three days after Hajj, and two days after Eid-al-Adha in Middle East countries. Why there is difference of two days between the countries which are very close such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

    About Pilgrimage, Allah says in Holy Quran "They ask you (Mohammad)(peace be upon him) about the phases of the moon: Say : These are signs to mark fixed periods of time for MANKIND and for the pilgrimage" (2:189). In Hadith Allah's Messenger says after sighting the crescent we have to begin the Ramadan fasting and similarly we have to end the fasting after sighting of the new crescent. In another Hadith Allah's Messenger says: We are unlettered people and we don't know writing and calculations and the lunar month is 29 days or 30 days. Both Ahadeeth are from Sahih Al-Bukhari. Based on the above verses from Holy Quran and two Ahadeeth I want to know your answer. (May 10, 1999) Show Answer

  • 4.7   Question: Many mosques in USA individually announced Eid on Friday, Jan 7, 2000. How could the moon be sighted in so many places, not only in USA but also in Middle East? (Jan 15, 2000) Show Answer

  • 4.8   Question: I spoke to my cousin in Saudi Arabia who said that today (Nov 25, 2000) is the 29th day of Shabaan. Hence they were looking out for the moon of Ramadan today. If the moon is sighted today then Ramadan will start for them on Tuesday (Nov 26) which according to you is not possible. Was there a mistake on their part regarding sighting of the moon for Shabaan? Show Answer

  • 4.9   Question: If we all agree on one Qibla, and if we have the state of the art in telecommunication, would that not be enough to follow Makkah in moonsighting. Do you think that Saudi Arabia does not have all the tools that are required for an accurate moonsighting? We should be one Islamic Umma at least for one day out of the whole year which is the day of Eidul Adha. Show Answer

  • 4.10   Question: Granted that Saudi Arabia may be wrong on their announced date (Feb 24, 2001) for the 1st of Dhul-Hijjah. But do you think that the other countries in that area, who did see the moon, are also wrong? Shouldn't we follow them if they saw it? Show Answer

  • 4.11   Question: What is the basis of "Saudi Ummul-Qura (Calendar)"? (Feb 4, 2003) Show Answer

  • 4.12   Question: Saudi authorities declared Saturday, Nov 13, 2004 as 1st Shawwal. Was it possible to see the moon on Friday evening anywhere in Saudi Arabia? Show Answer

5. Moon in Qur'an, Sunnah, & Fiqh

6. Month is 29 or 30 Days

  • 6.1   Question: Is there a pattern of sequence of 29 and 30 days month? Some people say that after 19 years moon phases repeat. Some others say that after 30 years moon cycle repeats. (Nov 11,1997) Show Answer

  • 6.2   Question: When did Ramadan start in the year 1947 according to the Christian calendar? (Jan 12,1998) Show Answer

  • 6.3   Question: Can we achieve a global Islamic calendar that could unite the whole world for same dates for the beginning of every Islamic month? Show Answer

  • 6.4   Question: Is it possible to have several consecutive months of 29 days and to have several consecutive months of 30 days and what is the highest possible number? (Dec 30, 1998) Show Answer

  • 6.5   Question: Is it possible according to the calculations that the month be 30 days in the northern hemisphere and 29 days in the southern and vice versa? (Dec 30, 1998) Show Answer

  • 6.6   Question: Is it true that if we rely on local moonsighting, then a month may end up in 28 days? If yes, then does that not prove that local moonsighting is not the best solution? Show Answer

7. Astronomy Questions

8. Eclipses Questions

  • 8.1   Question: What is "Eclipse," and why and when "Solar" or "Lunar" eclipse occurs? (Oct 20, 2000) Show Answer

  • 8.2   Question: What does Qur'an & Hadith say about eclipses? Show Answer

  • 8.3   Question: How often the eclipses occur in one solar year? Show Answer

  • 8.4   Question: What are the dates of all solar/lunar eclipses that occurred during Ramadan between 1840-1900 CE, to understand the claim of Qadianis (Ahmadiyya) about Mehdi. (Jan 7, 1998) Show Answer

  • 8.5   Question: It was stated by someone that in the year 2003 there will be a Lunar and Solar Eclipses at the same time. Do you know anything about that occurring? From an astronomical view has it ever happened before or is it predicted to happen? (Nov 21, 1998) Show Answer

  • 8.6   Question: If the birth of the moon means that the center of the earth, the sun and the moon lay on straight line, does that mean the eclipse occur every month? If the answer is no explain. (Dec 30, 1998) Show Answer

  • 8.7   Question: Is instant of new moon the time at which the moon begins to move out of the shadow of the earth? (Jan 17, 1999) Show Answer

  • 8.8   Question: Many Muslims want to pray salat-ul-kusoof during eclipse. Can you provide date and timing of eclipse on your web page? Show Answer

  • 8.9   Question: Could you please give scientific information as to when the solar eclipses occurred in Arabia during the life time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and what was the date of solar eclipse when his son Ibrahim died? Show Answer

  • 8.10   Question: Does lunar eclips occur other than 14th of the month i.e. on full moon? Show Answer

  • 8.11   Question: At solar eclipse, can the "Hilal" be seen? Show Answer

  • 8.12   Question: I read in your site that lunar eclipse will occur only in the middle of the month. This time lunar eclipse occurs on 13th day of Ramadan in USA. Does this indicates that Ramadan in USA began one day late? Show Answer

  • 8.13   Question: Dr. Yusuf Qardawi, the head of the Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), said "If the moon is sighted after noon, Muslim scholars agree that the following day marks the beginning of the new month (Ramadan). He also said, Calculations indicate that a partial eclipse will occur on Monday, October 3, 2005 after 12:30 p.m. At that time, the Ramadan moon will be born and could be seen in the Gulf region using special glasses."

    So, is there a need to second look at the present definition of the "Hilal" as moon seen after sunset? Show Answer

  • 8.14   Question: Is it possible to have Hilal any where in the world on the day of solar eclipse? Show Answer

9. Sighting Questions

  • 9.1   Question: What is the process one must use to correctly sight the moon? (Dec 29,1997) Show Answer

  • 9.2   Question: Why does the first crescent look thin in some months and thick in other months? (Oct 31,1997) Show Answer

  • 9.3   Question: After looking at your website, I started fasting on December 31 1997 in Detroit Michigan. On the evening of December 31, I was able to see the new moon even at 7:15pm in Detroit Michigan . I have got a shareware software (CyberSky). According to the this software at 7:15pm the moon was about 5 above the horizon in Detroit Michigan. The point is that I think one can see the moon at 5 above the horizon which your software (on the web MOONCALC 4.0) does not take into account for global moon sighting. Now I check the software for the evening of December 29 1997. According to the results of this software, the moon was at 5 above the horizon after sunset in Detroit, Michigan. This makes me wonder that how no one of you was able to see moon in North America on 29, 1997. For eid according to the software results the moon will be about 10 above the horizon in Detroit Michigan on January 28, 1997, so we should be able to see it easily which moonCalc 4.0 does not predict. (Jan 3,1998) Show Answer

  • 9.4   Question: Why it is not possible to see a Crescent on Jan 28, 1998, when It will be 19 hours old in California, and possibly at good altitude above horizon.

    Also, I just saw that sighting is possible on Wed Jan 28, 1998 at Hawaii. Will ISNA take it as a proof to celebrate EID on Jan 29, 1998 Thursday ? (Jan 6,1998) Show Answer

  • 9.5   Question: Can I determine the 14th of an Islamic month from the full moon time shown in Moon phases Tables? Show Answer

  • 9.6   Question: If the moonset in Riyadh is 37 minutes after sunset on Dec 19, 1998, why you say that this moon cannot be seen? Show Answer

  • 9.7   Question: If the astronomical calculation informs that the moon is definitely on the horizon after sunset then why is its visibility impossible before the age of 13 hours, or before the lag time of 24 minutes between moonset and sunset? (Dec 30, 1998) Show Answer

  • 9.8   Question: Is it possible to see the moon near the sun in the morning and during sunset in the same day? And when does that happen? (Dec 30, 1998) Show Answer

  • 9.9   Question: At what age the moon after getting out of the "Mahaq" (new moon phase) the hilal can be seen with: a) naked eyes? b) scientific instruments? Also, at what time the moon starts leaving the Mahaq (wane) for the current month i.e. Jan. 1999? (Jan 9, 1999) Show Answer

  • 9.10   Question: Why the crescent is often described as "impossible to see" after it has passed the time of new moon? (Jan 17, 1999) Show Answer

  • 9.11   Question: Taking this Shawwal 1419, for example, the new moon was at 10:46AM, which means that at the time of Maghrib on the east coast, it was 6 to 7 hours old. It also set a few minutes after the sun in the mid-Atlantic region. Why is it then "impossible to see"? (Jan 17, 1999) Show Answer

  • 9.12   Question: Is it correct that the new moon (dark moon) was seen in Utah, Arizona & California Friday April 16, 1999? I was under the impression it was impossible to see the dark new moon. Apparently that is not correct, according to what you state. (April 18, 1999) Show Answer

  • 9.13   Question: I came across a website "Virtual Reality Phase of the Moon" which shows photos of the current phase it appears a new moon can be seen. If one knows where to look and looks for it's faint contrast.

    Do you know how many hours after the conjunction, that a faint sliver of light appears? (April 18, 1999) Show Answer

  • 9.14   Question: Are there some locations on the globe inherently better than others for sighting the new crescent? (May 2, 1999) Show Answer

  • 9.15   Question: WHAT (astronomically, scientificly) could it possibly be, that people "see" as the HILAL, when there is no sighting possibility according to calculation? (Jan 10, 2000) Show Answer

  • 9.16   Question: On Sept. 26, 2000 I was driving south on I-127 in Michigan and I saw a clear crescent on the east side at 6:40 am. Per your web site, the new moon will be born on Sept. 27 and it will be seen on Sept. 28, 2000. can you please explain? (Sep 28, 2000) Show Answer

  • 9.17   Question: Do you know why countries other than America started Ramadan on Monday, Nov 27, 2000. Do you have the visibility map for Nov 27? Show Answer

  • 9.18   Question: How come Eid-al-Adha in Pakistan and India is also on March 6, 2001 same as in USA? I thought they see the moon a day later than USA sees the moon. Show Answer

  • 9.19   Question: Is it possible to observe the crescent before sunrise and after sunset in the same day in the middel east region? Show Answer

  • 9.20   Question: What happened to the trust that if a Muslim brother or sister sighted the moon and take an oath to that effect is sufficient as evidence? (Feb 20, 2002) Show Answer

  • 9.21   Question: What is the Dua (prayer) that a Muslim should say when he/she sees the crescent moon? (Sep 1, 2003) Show Answer

  • 9.22   Question: I saw on your website that for ZilQada, on Dec 24, 2003, almost entire world will be able to see the moon but Europe will not be able to see the 30 hours old moon. The same was with start of Ramadan. the moon here in Holland was visible when it already was 51 hours old. Is Holland in such a geographic position on the globe, that this will always happen to us in Holland? Or is it just coincidence?? (Dec 3, 2003) Show Answer

  • 9.23   Question: Is it possible to see the moon in the afternoon? Would such sighting be valid to start the Islamic Month? (October 2, 2005) Show Answer

  • 9.24   Question: Some people claim that UAE and Sub-continent have same horizon, so UAE can follow India-Pakistan announcement of moonsighting. What does exactly same horizon means? (August 20, 2011) Show Answer

10. Sighting Criteria

11. Ittihad-ul-Matali' or Ikhtilaf-ul-Matali'

  • 11.1   Question: If the moon is sighted any place on earth, then why all Muslim Ummah cannot start the Islamic month on the same day. (Oct 1,1997) Show Answer

  • 11.2   Question: ALL middle eastern countries, with the exception of Oman and Tunisia, have declared Ramadan to be Dec. 30, 1997. In sunnah Rasul-allah (SAAW), states that if 2 people had sighted the moon, then all Muslim Ummah should fast. And what is good for 1 Ummah is good for all. If 2 persons have sighted the moon, the astronomical calculations are not valid. (Dec 29,1997) Show Answer

  • 11.3   Question: I understand, that it is valid to say, that if the moon is sighted anywhere in the world, one may use that to start the month everywhere on the globe. If we know in advance that the moon could be seen from the far west of USA and Hawaii Islands. Why is it not okay to use this knowledge for beginnig the month in North America? Show Answer

  • 11.4   Question: If the moon is sighted on different dates in different parts of the world, are we to use different 'start' dates for the month or is the whole world supposed to use the same date? Show Answer

  • 11.5   Question: It is true that in North America, the CRESCENT known as HILAL was not visible on January 17, 1999? We do not have to see the moon to start a new month if one trustworthy Muslim on earth sees the first Hilal, the whole Muslim Ummah must follow. THIS IS ACCORDING TO QUR'AN. Prophet[pbuh] never wanted the Muslim Ummah to be disunited on any matter. In this day and age of Satellites, internet, and telephones, the sighting news of HILAL can be sent to any part of the globe. This way Muslims will start the first day of the month on the same day all over the world. What is wrong? (Jan 23, 1999) Show Answer

  • 11.6   Question: Why did Makkah celebrate Eid-al-Fitr one day erlier than Malaysia? We in Malaysia are not too far away from Makkah. (Jan 25, 1999) Show Answer

  • 11.7   Question: Is moonsighting really more important than the unity of the Muslims? Majority of Muslims celebrated Eid-al-Adha with Saudi. Why don't we all follow Hajj date for Eid-al-Adha? Show Answer

  • 11.8   Question: What is Ikhtilaful-Matali' and what is Ittihadul-Matali'? Show Answer

  • 11.9   Question: Is it not possible have Eid on the same day throughout the whole world after the actual sighting of the crescent? Show Answer

12. Eid-ul-Fitr and Yaumul-Arafah

  • 12.1   Question: The crescent for the new moon of Shawwal was not sighted (with the eye) by Muslims anywhere across the world today, Tuesday, Jan 27, 1998. Therefore we continue to fast tomorrow (Wednesday) to complete the 30 days. Why we cannot have Eid, when 30 days are completed? (Jan 27,1998) Show Answer

  • 12.2   Question: I have noticed that the moon was visible more than two hours after sunset, and it seems to be big. Some people may ask me about this, and I want to have an answer. Does this mean anything. Does it favor the fact that Eid is supposed to be on Friday, Jan 7, 2000 instead of Saturday. (Feb 13, 2000) Show Answer

  • 12.3   Question: What is the definition of "YAWM ARAFAH" and how are we going to fast "YAWM ARAFAH" for example Monday, March 5, 2001 is 9th Dhul-Hijjah in North America and it is day of EID for Hujjaj. Show Answer

  • 12.4   Question: Based on authentic moonsighting, when was Eid-al-Fitr 1423 AH? Show Answer

  • 12.5   Question: I heard that Saudis have hilal sighting committees. Those committees did not see the moon on February 1, 2003. Hajj date, however, was announced by Saudi authorities as February 10. You say sighting was not possible. Was it based on Ummul-Qura calendar? (Feb 4, 2003) Show Answer

13. Dates in Islamic History

14. Suggested Global Islamic Calendar

  • 14.1   Question: I like the proposal of Moonsighting.com for global islamic calendar that takes 12:00 Noon UTC (or GMT) as the cut-off time for the month to begin everywhere in the world. However, Islamic day begins with Maghrib. In the case of Ramadhan, for example, those living close to IDL - theoretically may have to offer Taraweeh Prayer even before conjunction - in case conjunction is to happen close to midnight at IDL locations (which of course is close to 12 Noon UTC). Hence my suggestion is to keep the cut-off time at 6:00 (am) UTC. This - I believe - would take care of the above issue. Show Answer

  • 14.2   Question: What is the accuracy of calculated Islamic calendar, such as adopted by ISNA, and what is the probability of the calculated calendar being wrong? How the issue of different longitude and latitude is handled with one calendar for whole world? Show Answer

15. Visibility Maps

  • 15.1   Question: Why do you not provide time stamps for the various maps (showing lunar visibility across the planet)? Or even show several hourly maps (or animation) that showcase how the lunar visibility changes in the course of 24-48 hours of interest. As it is; the map is incomplete as it provides the lunar visibility area, but at what time? Show Answer

  • 15.2   Question: Your visibility maps (showing lunar visibility across the planet) many times show that Saudi Arabia is out of visibility zone, yet Saudi announcement comes they have seen the moon. Is there a possibility that your calculation have some error? Show Answer


top Back to Top    Updated December 7, 2015