Malang (Indonesia): Children hold torches as they take part in a traditional Takbir procession, on the eve of Eidul Fitr in the East Java province, on Tuesday.—AFP
Malang (Indonesia): Children hold torches as they take part in a traditional Takbir procession, on the eve of Eidul Fitr in the East Java province, on Tuesday.—AFP

• Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Indonesia among several countries observing Eidul Fitr today
• Shawwal moon not sighted in India and Bangladesh, which will mark festival tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: The Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee on Tuesday announced that the whole nation will unanimously celebrate Eidul Fitr today (Wednesday) following the receipt of moon-sighting testimonies from various parts of the country.

The decision came despite initial reports of no Shawwal moon sightings by several zonal committees. The committees in Karachi and Lahore announced at around 7:30pm on Tuesday that there was no evidence of moon sightings in their regions.

With the announcement, Pakistan has joined several countries across the world in celebrating Eidul Fitr on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkiye, Indonesia and Australia are some of the countries that are celebrating Eid today. However, the moon was not sighted in India and Bangladesh, which will observe the festival on Thursday.

The Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee convened at the Federal Secretariat’s Kohsar Block in Islamabad, with Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad presiding over the meeting.

The gathering saw participation from committee members, primarily clerics representing major Islamic schools of thought — Shia, Barelvi, Deobandi and Ahle Hadis — alongside officials and technical experts from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Suparco, and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Maulana Azad, addressing the media after the meeting, shared that credible evidence of the moon being sighted in major parts of the country, including the erstwhile Fata and the Gilgit-Baltistan, led to the collective decision to mark Eidul Fitr the following day.

“Eidul Fitr will be celebrated tomorrow,” he announced and prayed for the welfare of the country and the whole ummah.

He said the Shawwal moon was sighted in Karachi, Dir, Mohmand Agency, Faisalabad, Skardu and other areas. “We all congratulate the nation on this occasion,” he said, adding that this was also message of unity to the Islamic world due to Eid falling on the same day in most Muslim nations.

Maulana Azad stressed the need for all sections of society to move forward together for the sake of the country and paid tribute to the sacrifices rendered by armed forces to ensure peace in the country.

Zonal committees

Earlier, Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Salfi, head of the zonal Ruet-i-Hilal committee in Karachi, announced at around 7:30pm that there was no evidence of moon sighting in the city.

He said the Met Office had briefed the committee that a new moon was easily visible if its age was around 23 hours, whereas the moon on Tuesday had the age of 20 hours and it was difficult to view. “We have conveyed our findings to the central committee in Islamabad,” Maulana Salfi said.

However, he was confronted by the media persons who claimed that they themselves had seen the crescent through the official telescope installed at the roof of the Met Office building in Karachi. “I cannot speak on behalf of the media or anybody else,” Maulana Salfi responded.

A similar situation was faced by the zonal committee in Lahore, which also announced at around 7:30pm moon was not sighted.

However, the head of the zonal Ruet-i-Hilal committee in Peshawar, Prof Abdul Ghafoor, announced that 64 testimonies had been received and the information was forwarded to the central committee in Islamabad after verification in accordance with the prescribed criteria.

Meanwhile, the Dawoodi Bohra community celebrated Eidul Fitr across the country on Tuesday, as per the Fatimid calendar.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2024

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