بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
وصلى الله على نبيه الكريم
وعلى آله واصحابه اجمعين
Recently Fawad Chaudhry, a disgraced cabinet member in the current Pakistani government who now holds the portfolio of Minister of Science and Technology, stated that the government of that country will soon introduce a fixed lunar calendar based on astronomical calculations, particularly for the purpose of determining the beginning and end of Ramadan. This is another example of the devious agenda of Imran Khan`s government to gradually impose a state version of Islam on the nation. Since its inception, Pakistan has never had a truly Islamic government that observes and implements the Shari`a. Instead, there have been various governments, both civilian and military regimes, that used and continue to use the name and slogan of Islam for political convenience and legitimacy. Imran Khan himself, during his election campaign, put forward the slogan of Madina Riasat in order to dupe the general Muslim public of Pakistan into voting for him and his party. This is the same Imran Khan who is notorious for having a secular, irreligious lifestyle. Going clean shaven, keeping pet dogs in his home, and worst of all prostrating to tombs, are the well known public characteristics of the Prime Minister of this so-called "Islamic Republic". His hypocrisy of playing dumb and failing to condemn the naked persecution of our Muslim brethren in China by the Communist regime reveals just how disgusting and cowardly the man is. This being the condition of the Prime Minister, it is not surprising how thinly veiled the contempt for Islam there is among his hand selected cabinet. The obese pig Fawad Chaudhry has a record of pronouncing statements and outlining policies of his government that are manifestly inimical to the cause of Islam. As I said, the government`s decision to introduce a fixed lunar calendar for the next ten years based on astronomical calculations is part of a broader agenda to impose upon Pakistan a State sanctioned Islam and eliminate any dynamic manifestation of the Faith which is independent of state control. Such an agenda also includes, among other things, "mainstreaming" the privately run madaris, strictly monitoring the activities of the Ulama and preachers, and regulating the content of religious sermons. Now I am the first person to strongly criticize the corruption of the contemporary Ulama and our mainstream religious institutions. But State control and regulation of Islam is no solution. It can be likened to curing the disease by shooting the patient to death. Islam itself is meant to be a privatized affair independent of centralized control and State regulation, especially when the State is as tyrannical and fallen as it is today, and as it has been for centuries since the end of the Rightly-Guided Caliphate. After Allah Himself, the highest authority in our Religion is the institution of Prophesy. And in reality, this is a single authority because the Prophet is merely the mouthpiece for Allah, his authority being derived from his office of speaking on behalf of Heaven and not from his own self. Then how could we have received our Islam if the activity and words of the Prophet were subject to the authority of the central state, being regulated and monitored by the government? Therefore, in its very DNA Islam is skeptical of the State and foresees a constant struggle between the Prophet and the Pharoah, in our time, represented by the competing narratives of the saintly, ascetic and lettered men of Religion and the clean shaven, elitist ruling class that have their hands firmly gripped on the reins of political power.
Returning to the issue of astronomical calculations to determine the start and end of Ramadan, to be fair, this is an issue of legitimate jurisprudential difference. But by and large, the mainstream of the Muslim Umma, led by the traditionally educated and certified Ulama, have adhered to the method of visible moonsighting, based on the Hadith:
صُومُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ وَأَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ ثَلاَثِينَ
Fast with its sighting and break fast with its sighting. But if it is obscured for you then complete thirty days.
With these words the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) clearly instructed the Umma to initiate the beginning of Ramadan with the actual sighting of the crescent, and likewise to end Ramadan and begin the next month of Shawwal with the sighting of the crescent of the new moon. The fact that he (alayhis-salam) also instructed us to complete thirty days of the month if we are unable to sight the crescent due to obscurities such as cloudiness, haze, dust, etc., proves that the beginning and end of the fast of Ramadan is meant to be determined by visible moonsighting and not astronomical calculations. That is because astronomical calculations do not take into account the obscurity of the horizon due to things like cloudiness, haze, dust, etc. Those who assert that science has progressed to the level that we can manufacture a fixed lunar calendar that will precisely determine the occurrence of the lunar months years and years in advance must admit that even the latest scientific and astronomical methods of calculation and weather forecasting cannot predict the precise movement, formation of clouds and other factors that obscure the horizon even several days in advance, let alone years. As for the other version of the Hadith which states:
فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْدِرُوا لَهُ
But if it is obscured for you them calculate it
This is used as a basis for the position of using a fixed lunar calendar of astronomical calculations and disregarding visible moonsighting altogether. The truth is, however, that if we accept the interpretation of the Hadith that we are to make a calculated determination regarding whether the crescent should theoretically be visible or not if the horizon is obscured or cloudy, that is still not a justification for producing a fixed lunar calendar that determined the beginning and end of Ramadan years in advance. That interpretation would only be applicable on the eve of the 29th of Sha`ban and Ramadan when the horizon is obscured or cloudy. In actuality, the meaning of this version of the Hadith is the same as the other, i.e., that if the horizon is obscured we are the complete thirty days even if the crescent would be visible if the horizon wasn`t obscured:
فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْدِرُوا ثَلاَثِينَ
But if it is obscured for you then calculate thirty days
This is the Wisdom of Allah; it is from the legislated ways of worship to actually visibly sight the crescent moon in order to begin and end the month of Ramadan. To change this method is not only an innovation, it is an evil emulation of the Jews who created their own calendar based on calculation in order to determine their months and festivals well in advance. Before the ancient Israelites would light fires to inform the people of surrounding areas of the beginning of the new month based on the sighting of the crescent moon. But then their rabbis and scholars played games with the Religion and created a new, fixed calendar for the purpose of fixing the seasons for the festivals and holy days. Did not our own Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) warn and rebuke us that we would follow the misguided ways of the Jews and Christians to the extent that if one of them walked straight into the hole of a lizard there would be one from this Umma who would blindly follow him into it as well?! As for the silly argument that we Muslims calculate the timings of the five daily prayers that are based on the position of the rising and setting of the sun and do not actually have to visibly observe that; the answer is that there is no instruction of ruya or visible sighting for that from the Sunna in contrast to the Prophet Muhammads (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) explicit instructions regarding determining the start and end of Ramadan in the Hadith I have cited.
Sadly, popular preachers and scholars with great name recognition have begun promoting the use of a fixed lunar calendar that is based on astronomical calculation rather than visible moonsighting. Figures like Yasir Qadhi, who is a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, have altered their traditional position on visible moonsighting in favor of calculation for the sake of keeping with modern trends. As I wrote in my critique of the modernist deviant Ghamidi, the agenda behind this push for adapting a fixed lunar calendar based on calculation to determine the beginning and end of Ramadan is to convenience those of our community who have to notify their employers in advance of when they wish to take a day off from work to celebrate Eid. Essentially it is this business interest that motivated a class of scholars and Muslim intellectuals to sell their Religion in legitimizing a fixed lunar calendar based on calculation and abandon the teaching of the Sunna to determine the start and end of Ramadan by visible moonsighting.