Moon sighting
Clerics of Pakistan's Moon Sighting Committee use a telescope for the new moon that signals the start of Islamic month Ramadan, in Karachi on May 5. Image Credit: AP/File

Dubai: Eid Al Fitr in Pakistan will be celebrated on June 5, according to the country’s first moon sighting website and Hijri Calendar launched by Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Minister of Science and Technology.

This is the first time that Eid day has been announced much before the moon sighting in Pakistan challenging the Islamic clerics who believe that Eid and other main religious events such as Ramadan and Islamic months should be announced only after physical moon sighting.

However, it is not yet clear whether the moon-sighting committee will still meet to decide the Eid day.

Federal Minister Hussain said that he has sent the five-year Hijri Calendar to the Islamic Ideology Council. He said that the calendar will be presented before cabinet on Wednesday.

“I personally believe that there is no need to have Ruet-t-Hilal (moon sighting) Committee in the country.”

Hussain said that a number of departments have collaborated to make the moonsighting website and Islamic Hijri calendar.

The minister has been criticised by some Islamic scholars since he challenged the working of the moon sighting committee and the role of Islamic clerics involved in the moon sighting exercise.

Earlier this month, Hussain formed a committee to determine the exact dates of Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Adha and Muharram for the next five years with 100 percent accuracy through technology.

Also read

The debate

The objective of the new initiative is to end the controversy over moon sighting and the confusion amongst people, especially on the occasions of announcing big events such as starting of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.

Moon-sighting committee normally meets every month to decide the beginning of the lunar Islamic month, but they come into limelight only on big occasions.

Pakistan and many other Islamic countries face problem over moon sighting issue as Islamic scholar often disagree and clash over the official version.

The Minister had also earlier questioned the wisdom in spending large sums of money on moon sighting every year, saying that the Ruet-e-Hilal (moon sighting) committee should carry out the sighting voluntarily.

His move to set up a scientific moon sighting committee created a lot of stir across the country as many considered his move as against the Islamic norms but others welcomed his initiative.

Islamic scholars who argue that the moon must be physically seen to decide the beginning of the fasting month, have already started criticizing the minister and the government.