ISLAMABAD: With Mufti Shahbuddin Popalzai of Masjid Qasim Peshawar all set to sight the Shawwal moon on Saturday, June 24, prominent religious scholars in the country have declared that celebrating Eidul Fitr on Sunday, June 25 would be un-Islamic.
Unlike the majority of the countrymen who had started observing Ramazan from Sunday, May 28 in line with the announcement of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, people in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had followed Mufti Popalzai, starting the holy month a day earlier.
And therefore there is all the likelihood that when the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will be searching for the Shawwal crescent in the dusky skies on the 29th of Ramazan or June 25, many in K-P would have celebrated Eid earlier in the day.
With the rift over moon sighting between the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee and the Mufti Popalzai’s committee highly likely to take an ugly turn, noted scholars have come out with their judgement on the matter.
“Celebrating Eidul Fitr on Sunday will be un-Islamic,” said religious scholars and senior officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs while talking to The Express Tribune.
“People living in other provinces of the country and Azad Jammu and Kashmir have no objection to celebrating Eidul Fitr [on the announcement of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee], except for a specific group of people in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P),” said Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony Pir Muhammad Amin-ul-Hasnat Shah. “There is a certain group which has made it an ego issue.”
Modern technology and scientific methods and calculations were being used to gain knowledge about the new moon, he said, possibly referring to the Pakistan Meteorological Department’s announcement that it was impossible to sight the Shawwal moon on Saturday, June 24 anywhere in Pakistan.
Pointing towards the Mufti Popalzai committee, the religious scholars opined that a certain religious group was trying to divide Muslims over observing Ramazan and celebrating Eidul Fitr in the country every year, even though the group never raised objections to the sighting of moon for any other Islamic month.
Well-known religious scholar Mufti Saeed said, “It is truly un-Islamic to celebrate Eidul Fitr without sighting the Shawwal moon and without an official announcement from the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.”
Mufti Saeed urged the government to take stern action against the “evil people trying to lead the country towards disunity”.
Another well-known scholar, asking anonymity, said, “These are the people who want to show that they are above the law by celebrating Eid a day ahead of the rest of the nation. We all should strongly condemn the act which promotes disunity among Muslims.”
However, Mufti Mukhtar Ullah, the Administrator of Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak, said, “Celebrating Eidul Fitr whether by following the Popalzai committee or the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will be Islamic.”
He said they did not follow science because its theories kept changing with time. “We believe in sighting the moon with the naked eye, and not on what science says,” he said.