We devoutly wish the controversy over moon-sighting on Eid to be resolved. The controversy has been lingering for years. Now the Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, has announced that his ministry has prepared a lunar calendar and a moon-sighting app, and Eid is expected on June 5. He said both the calendar and the app have been sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for review. The calendar has been prepared in collaboration with the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission and weather experts. He said the members of the CCI and the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee have been invited to view the calendar so that they can understand the extensive research work that was undertaken to prepare the calendar and the app. He said Mufti Muneebur Rehman, Chairman of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Shahabuddin Popalzai and other religious scholars have been invited to view the calendar in order to seek their opinions. The lunar calendar and the app will be okayed only after religious scholars from various schools of thought give their approval.
The initiative taken by the minister and scientists show their willingness to resolve the issue in order to eliminate the chances of controversy. Nearly every year we have been seeing controversy erupting over the sighting of Eid moon and, consequently, people celebrating Eid on two and even three days in different parts of the country. Since it is a question involving religion, it is vitally important to seek opinions of religious scholars and respect their opinions. Going ahead without such approval will further sharpen the controversy instead of resolving it.
In the past too, attempts had been made to resolve the controversy, but nothing came out of them. Here a word of caution is in order: If gold begins rusting, what will iron do?
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2019.