THE PTI government has announced a disbandment of all Ruet-i-Hilal committees, saying the task of sighting the crescent can best be done by the meteorological department.
Ever since its inception in the Ayub era, not once have the committees declared the sighting of the crescent moon, especially on Eid or Ramazan accurately and without kicking up a storm of criticism.
As an observer appointed by the Peshawar administration once during the committee’s meeting in Peshawar to sight the Ramazan crescent, I noticed that while a group of ulema – the members of the committee –tried to figure out the appearance of the crescent from the top of Qila Bala Hissar, the meteorological officials present disclosed to me the moon could be visible only next evening.
Truly, the evening was wasted by the committee members’ effort in searching an empty sky. The next evening as the meteorological officials had calculated crescent was vividly sighted and the beginning of Ramazan announced.
In the present scientific advancement down to seconds, the time of appearance of a new moon can be determined by the meteorological department.
Sayed Shah Bokhari
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019