Crescentwatch changes its moonsighting policy

by britishmisk, the moon sighting wing (if it can be called that), of Zaytuna college has this year changed its policy for moonsighting. Previously their policy was to go with a naked eye observation for the west coast of America, this being the usual preferred method of the Malikis, which is the school most of the Zaytuna teachers adhere to (if not all of them). But they have decided to change their policy to go with a global moonsighting rather than specific to the west coast of America. The reasoning behind this change being explained by Imam Zaid Shakir here.

I personally tend to lean towards the original opinion of Zaytuna in that the crescent moon should ideally be spotted with the naked in the locality. However reading Imam Zaid’s comments I can only but commend the institute for looking at the situation of its community and being robust and adaptable enough to be willing to make sacrifices and changes.

Having said that, Allah is the best of planners. In the year Crescentwatch changes its policy, the moon was sighted on the west coast at the same time most of the world did. Which was on Wednesday evening, which moon the Saudi Arabian government was looking for remains a mystery. Is their policy to go with a global moonsighting, or whether its sighted in Makkah? As this graph shows it was impossible to see the moon in Makkah on Tuesday evening. If they were going with a global sighting, that would mean the moon could have only have been visible in South America, and according the Crescentwatch report, it was not sighted in South America on Tuesday either:

Crescentwatch has not yet received any reliable reports of the new crescent moon being sighted anywhere on Tuesday, August 10th. Astronomical visibility forecasts indicate that the most likely places to sight the new crescent moon tonight are in South America and the Caribbean (see visibility charts here). We have received numerous reports from Bolivia, Brazil, Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, and Suriname all indicating that many people went out to look and the moon has not been seen.

We are awaiting further reports from Chile and other key parts of the Americas. We will update this site as more reports come in. We expect to make a final announcement here by 8:30pm PST.

*Crescentwatch adheres to the traditional principal that Islamic lunar months begin and end based on the confirmed, verifiable sighting of the new crescent moon.
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2010 18:51 PST
Posted: Aug 10, 2010 18:32 PST

Why our ummah is so keen to be bed fellows with the Saudi Arabian government still remains a mystery to me. These are the same group of people who slaughtered thousands when the invaded the Hejaz, called the the French military of all people to release the Haram in Makkah from the hands of heretics in the 70s. (If the king of Saudi at the time considered himself the be the ‘Guardian of the Two Holy Sanctuaries’ he would have lead an army himself to release the holiest site in our faith). And when Iraq invades Kuwait they ask the US government to help protect them, clearly violating the verse of the Qur’an stating “Do not take the Christians and Jews as ‘awliyah” which in this context is referred to as military allies.

Apart from the small glimmer of hope, which was the reign of King Faisal, Saudi has had nothing going for it in terms of being an honourable nation. Its time our scholars rise up to the current challenges of our nation, the same way Zaytuna are at the forefront of progressive traditional scholarship in the west. If we just sit blindly by and let the Saudis make our decisions for us then we have no hope for our future and our generations to come.

And to Him is our return.