Confusion reigned within the public in Sri Lanka as the the Colombo Grand Mosque was seemingly unwilling to sight the moon early on Ramadan 28th.
The crescent sighting committee leader Al-Hajj Abdul Hameed Baházhi releasing a voice clip said that he was not willing to accept a 28 Day Ramadan as it maybe haram to fast on ‘legitimate Ramadan day’ (29th), despite accepting that Sri Lanka may have started late. He also confirmed that the Grand Mosque was not prepared to officially sight the moon on Thursday.
However if proper evidence was presented, he reiterated that the Grand Mosque will make necessary announcements to the public, although he did not prescribe how a person should do so.
Last week one of the top Sri Lankan Islamic cleric Rizvie Mufti President of premier Muslim clergies association, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulema (ACJU)said they will meet to decide if the country is to celebrate Eid and mark the end of Ramadan possibly early (after the end of 28 days of fasting) as there has been a growing consensus that the moon may not have been sighted correctly due to adverse weather to trigger the start of Ramadan.
The Mufti briefed the crowd in Kollupitiya Jummah Masjid, Colombo where he made a special ‘clarification’ on Friday that has startled many people in the country as it would mean that this year’s Ramadan could last only 28 days instead of the requisite 29 or 30 days.
Mufti Rizwi’s explained that all possible channels to sight the moon was done on the 16th May to commence Ramadan but due to adverse weather conditions only one hour window was available and non of the 35 observatories reported any sighting.
Owing to this by default the Ramadan fasting commenced on Friday the 18th. Neighboring countries like Maldives started the fast as early as Wednesday, prompting many queries from the public.
However media sources in Sri Lanka say that since the announcement was made on the possibility of sighting the moon Thursday, there was no visible steps were taken by the Colombo Grand Mosque to ensure a proper mechanism was in place to accommodate such a critical change.
Media units say that the Grand Mosque had gone about preparing for the standard moon sighting on Friday night (May 15th,29th Ramadan) with a possibility of Ramadan festival to be celebrated on Saturday if the moon was sighted.
Upon attempts to contact the moon sighting division of the Grand Mosque by media personnel,on seeking instructions on how to reach them on Thursday (28th Ramadan), if the moon was indeed sighted early, were futile.
As such the public is now in a state of limbo as to how to adhere and react to Rizwie Mufti’s explaination that in the event that moon is visible after the 28th Ramadan,what steps need to be done.
MDWLive investigated as to when the moon can actually be seen to the naked eye in parts of Sri Lanka.
As per moonsighting.com the moon may be visible on Thursday only through optical aid and may not be visible to naked eye unless weather conditions are perfect.
However it will visible on Friday ensuring Eid to fall on Saturday.