While the central moon-sighting committee said on Saturday that the Ramazan crescent has not been sighted anywhere in the country, an unofficial committee announced the sighting of the moon, saying that the fasting month will begin on Sunday.
“There has been no testimony of sighting of the moon from any part of the country, therefore, first Ramazan will be on Monday (June 30),” Mufti Muneebur Rehman, the chairman of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, told a news conference following a meeting of the committee.
The meeting was convened at the Metrological Office in Karachi to decide the sighting of the moon of Ramazan 1435 Hijri. Other members of the committee – including Mufti Muhammad Ibrahim, Mufti Abdul Qavi, Maulana Zafar Yaseen and Maulana Iftikhar Hussain Naqvi – attended the meeting.
Zonal moon-sighting committees also met simultaneously in their respective headquarters. Mufti Muneeb told the news conference that the committee gathered testimonies about moon-sighting from the four provinces. “The Met Office, which provided technical assistance to the committee, said that Ramazan moon was not sighted anywhere in the country,” he added.
However, an unofficial moon-sighting committee, which met at Peshawar’s historic Qasim Ali Mosque, said that the crescent has been sighted and the first Ramazan will be on Sunday.
Speaking to the media after the committee meeting, Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai said that they received over 40 testimonies of moon-sighting from different cities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including Bannu.
Provincial Minister for Religious Affairs Habibur Rehman, however, said that they would follow the decision of the central moon-sighting committee and observe the first Ramazan on Monday.
Meanwhile, Ramazan moon was also not sighted in other South Asian countries, including India and Bangladesh.
However, Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates said Ramazan will start in their countries on Sunday (today). Algeria will also mark the start of the holy month on the same day. Yemen’s religious authorities said in a statement that fasting began on Saturday.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2014.