A group of 25 astronomy specialists from 13 Arab countries have announced that the crescent moon in the month of Shawwal cannot be visible today(April 20, Thursday) with the naked eye in Islamic and Arab countries.
However, astronomers admitted that there needs to be more clarity regarding the sighting of the Eid Al Fitr crescent on Thursday, April 20, 2023, with conflicting opinions on whether it will be visible.
The International Astronomy Centre, in a statement, suggested that ” It should be noted that this statement is not calculated to determine the exact date of Eid Al Fitr, as many factors, including both scientific and jurisprudential considerations, impact it. This statement aims to provide some scientific clarifications considering the matter of crescent sighting”.
The statement also indicated that the presence of the crescent in the sky for a short time after sunset is not acceptable to say it can be seen. Hence, merely observing the crescent moon in the sky briefly after sunset is not a reliable indicator of its visibility.
” The duration of its appearance and age alone is insufficient in predicting its sighting. Other factors like atmospheric conditions, the moon’s position in its orbit and the angle between the moon and the sun are crucial in specifying the visibility of the crescent moon”.
International Astronomy Centre statement read as follows:
It is crucial to note that the issue of crescent sightings has been discussed among our esteemed scholars. Our Muslim ancestors established different criteria for sighting the crescent through practical observations. These standards are even followed today and are known for their accuracy in determining the possibility of seeing the crescent with the naked eye.
Returning to the crescent on Thursday, April 20, let us look at its situation in some Arab cities. At sunset,
- In Jakarta, the moon is 2.7 degrees from the sun.
- In Abu Dhabi, it is 4.7 degrees from the sun
- In Mecca, it is 5.1 degrees away from the sun.
- In Jerusalem, the moon is 5.4 degrees away from the sun
- In Cairo, the moon is 5.5 degrees away from the sun
- In Dakar ( Senegal), the moon is 8.0 degrees from the sun.
In these cities, it can be seen through instruments.
Hence, for countries that require correct vision only with the naked eye or countries located in Asia that accept the local vision with a telescope, it is assumed that Ramadan will be 30 days. The Eid Al fire will be on Saturday, April 22.
This and the declaration of the beginnings of the Hijri months is the prerogative of the legal authorities in Islamic countries.