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09.06.2019 Feature Article

Sallah Uncertainties: Crescent Moon Sighting Brouhaha—Part II

Sallah 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 an indebt knowledge of science makes a person a believer in God.

Little knowledge that can lead people into premature conclusion, they say, is very dangerous than fake contraceptives.

That is why Allah admonish us in the Qur'an to always investigate matters to arriving at their authenticities before placing our thumbs on who to be condemned or choosing or taking side in a matter at hand.

Naturally, I'm very impatient and have the least respect for those who negotiate with facts and who try to engage in deliberate embezzlement of truth and justice.

If, all other things being equal, I find the evidence at hand being substantial and yet some people's conduct seems to be belittling and opposing it, I can't be patient with them.

But sometimes people oppose supposed facts not on the basis of their personal whims and aggrandizement, they simply have genuine alternative facts in a different angle to support their stance in any giving circumstance.

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 God's Signs, fellow Ghanaians, 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."

And 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?"

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.

And one's attempt to let everyone see their perspective can simply not be possible without hurting the feelings of others. Yet Qur'an says in Chapter 2:257, that there's no compulsion in religion.

However, in a polarized country where the people are more divided than cola nut and 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 the divine 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 really because of mundane matters but 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 and I'm not Angel Gabriel.

It was simply my opinion and in Islam, opinions don't hold water. You either practice it as it is or you leave it alone and change faith.

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 often eclipse the moon from being 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 Dr. Zakir Naik who also quoted an Astronomer he found out from.

This, he said, was the view of Ibn Taymiyya 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. And as the prophetic Hadith says "sight the moon to fast and to sight it to break or end the fasting".

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, according to the astronomers Dr. Zakir Naik was quoting from, the moon even takes up to three days.

But this happens only after a long period of time.

Hence, whether local or global sighting, it's the same. It is never MISGUIDANCE or out of personal whims as earlier envisaged and concluded. I duly apologize for that.

However, the fact that we all pray towards the Ka'ba (qibla) for unity sake when observing salat, wouldn't it be recommendable 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 beginning the month 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 the day of Arafat and pray towards the Ka'ba for unity sake?

Long live Islam.

And may Allah unite us.

Iddrisu ABDUL HAKEEM
Iddrisu ABDUL HAKEEM, © 2019

This author has authored 6 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: IddrisuABDULHAKEEM

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