ISLAMABAD: In an attempt to ensure that Eidul Fitr is celebrated the same day across the country this year, Ruet-i-Hilal Committee members have started approaching and persuading the clerics who had publicly opposed the announcement related to Shawwal moon sighting by the national body in the past.
However, some committee members have expressed concerns over what they called the premature statements by Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry regarding the expected date of Eid.
Several members have registered concerns to Ruet-i-Hilal Committee chairman Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad that such statements by the minister would only encourage clerics such as Mufti Popalzai of Peshawar’s Qasim Khan mosque to continue to undermine the authority of the committee this year too.
Responding to a question about this matter, Maulana Azad said it was essential to turn our back on the wrong past when up to four Eids were celebrated in the country.
“We are engaged with clerics of all schools of thought and various groups, involving them in the process,” the Ruet-i-Hilal committee chairman said, recalling that the Qasim Khan mosque management had observed Ramazan with the rest of the nation.
“I am sure that they will respect decision of the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee over Shawwal moon too,” he added.
Interestingly, the chairman had recently requested Mufti Popalzai to send his representative to the central Ruet-i-Hilal committee meeting, but the Qasim Khan mosque management had not only declined the offer but announced plans to convene the meeting of its Ruet-i-Hilal committee at the mosque in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital.
Meanwhile, a senior official of the committee said discussions had been held with clerics in the KP province to ensure they respect committee’s decision and they did extend assurance in this regard.
But the official said the recent statement by the cabinet member was a new challenge for the committee. “Apart from the Sharia principals of moon-sighting observed by the committee the only two other scientific sources for determining the age of moon is with Suparco and the Met Office but both were under the cabinet division,” the member said.
The central meeting of the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee has been called on Wednesday (May 12) in Islamabad for the sighting of Shawwal moon.
The meeting will be chaired by Maulana Azad and will be attended by members of the Central Ruet Hilal Committee, representatives from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Suparco and the Meteorological Department.
Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2021