For the followers of Ayatullah Ul-Uzama Syed Ali Sistani ONLY:
Frequently Asked Questions on Moon Sighting for Shawwal 1430 in London:
Q: When is Eid?
A: According to Agha Sistani, Eid, the first day of Shawwal, is declared on the day following the night where the crescent moon is sighted, or you have Itmina’an (are reasonably certain) of the presence of a visible crescent (i.e. the crescent would have been seen if there were no obstructions like clouds etc.)
Q. Will the crescent moon be seen on Sunday night (for Eid on Monday)?
A. Possibly. We are arranging teams to go and look for the moon in various locations. We encourage Mu’mineen to go out in groups of 3-4 to look for the crescent before Sunset.
Q. What happens if I see the crescent?
A. If you see the crescent moon, then please call the Jamaat office and report this on 020 8954 6247. Once verified, we will then make announcements on the answephone/website etc. to inform the community. Remember, the criteria for the community to follow this sighting is that it was witnessed by 2 Adil Mu’min baligh men or 4 such women, or 1 man / 2 women. This sighting must be without the use of optical aids like binoculars/telescopes, but glasses/contact lenses are allowed.
Q. What happens if the crescent is not seen?
A. The only way we can declare Eid on Monday in the absence of a sighted crescent is if we have Itmina’an (reasonable certainty) that the crescent would have been seen had the conditions been perfect.
The community criteria usually used by us to demine crescent visibility is only valid at or just after sunset. At this time in London, the crescent moon is less than a degree above the horizon and so invisible to the naked eye. The only chance of seeing the crescent is before sunset (as the moon is nearly 2 days old this might be possible) where these criteria cannot be applied.
According to the authors of various other criteria usually used to determine visibility (Yallops Criteria, Odeh’s criteria etc.), the situation for Shawwal 1430 is a unique case and they cannot have reasonable certainty in their own calculations for this month in the UK. Visibility curves and maps drawn by software packages or found online (including HM-NAO) based on these criteria are therefore similarly unreliable for this month according to their authors.
We have asked for the opinion of eight leading astronomers (see appendix) to help us understand the situation better. Seven of them do not have reasonable certainty of a visible crescent; some of these acknowledge the possibility of visibility before sunset, others disregard this. One astronomer believes the crescent will be seen, but no past sightings in similar situations are available to back up this theory.
As a result of this investigation, we have not been able to achieve Itmina’an (reasonable certainty) of the presence of a visible crescent and so, in the absence of a verified sighting, we will declare Eid on Tuesday (after 30 days of the month of Ramadhan).
Q. So will Eid be on Monday or Tuesday?
A. If the crescent moon is seen on Sunday night, then Eid will be on Monday. If there is no sighting, Eid will be on Tuesday.
TAIA (Team for Advice on Issues of Astronomy) of KSIMC of London Makbul Jaffer, Suhail Valji, Ali Panju, Akil Kanani September 20, 2009; Ramadhan 29, 1430AH