The Bolton Chronicles
Wifaqul Ulamā Public Affairs (Department)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh (Peace, Blessings & Mercy of Allah be upon You).
This statement is being issued on the 17th of June 2018 and supersedes all previous statements on the subject.
On the 14th of June 2018, the following image was circulated, purporting to be the crescent of Shawwal 1439 sighted at Bolton. Our decision for Shawwal 1439 had nothing to do with this image or Moonsighting in Bolton. We received credible, authentic and verifiable Moonsighting information. This is our process for all 12 months of the Islāmic year. However, we do believe that this issue should be publicised to protect the honour of our Muslim brothers and to highlight the need for Ulamā to scrutinise Moonsighting and all matters (news, images etc) associated with it.
The love, devotion and dedication of Muslims towards Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) even in this day and age is exemplary. Muslims love and admire every aspect of the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) and compete to surpass each other in emulation of his lifestyle, teachings and ways. The desire and zeal to emulate Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) reaches its zenith during the blessed month of Ramadhān. It is evident across families, homes, Mosques and communities across Britain and it is something which British Muslims should justifiably feel proud.
The start and ending of all Islamic months is dependent upon the sighting of the crescent. The sighting of the crescent is of particular significance for the start of Ramadhān and ending of it since the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) has stated:
حدثنا آدم، حدثنا شعبة، حدثنا محمد بن زياد، قال سمعت أبا هريرة ـ رضى الله عنه ـ يقول قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أو قال قال أبو القاسم صلى الله عليه وسلم ” صوموا لرؤيته، وأفطروا لرؤيته، فإن غبي عليكم فأكملوا عدة شعبان ثلاثين ”
Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon Him) made a mention of the new moon and (in this connection) said: Observe fast when you see it (the new moon) and break fast when you see it (the new moon of Shawwal), but when (the actual position of the month is) concealed from you (on account of cloudy sky), then count thirty days. [Muslim]
It is with this immense love, admiration and with a desire to emulate the blessed Sunnah that Imran Mallu (Bolton) and Suhail Khan (Bolton) shared the image shown above in their local WhatsApp group and on Social Media enquiring about Moonsighting. They clearly stated that they did not sight the crescent.
It appears that the image was inadvertently forwarded all over the country, without the pertinent information that the crescent was not actually sighted. This oversight in hastily forwarding the image without reading the clarification had the unfortunate, tragic and disconcerting outcome of misinforming the community on such an important topic.
Wifaqul Ulamā Investigation:
The Bolton sighting was never officially submitted to us by anyone. However since we have experience in this area and were working with UCLAN and Leeds university close to Bolton, we knew that this sighting had to be investigated.
The altitude appeared to be too high and the positioning did not match the Astronomical data at first glance.
Caution in Moonsighting and Forwarding Messages
The two honourable brothers did not claim Moonsighting, and came forward and clarified matters multiple times but the image was still forwarded without their clarifications, consent or knowledge. We believe that this should serve as a reminder for everyone to be cautious in forwarding messages without verification.
The determination of the accuracy of Moonsighting should be left to Ulamā and experts who are well versed in this field with years of experience.
Analysis of this image for the 14th of June 2018 (Shawwal 1439 crescent) reveals the following problems:
- Shawwal 1439 crescent was meant to be at 4 degree altitude while the crescent in the picture for Bolton is at a much higher altitude.
- The background illumination is too high and it was unsual and unlikely for the crescent to be seen at such background illumination level.
- The size of the crescent is unusually large compared to the backrgound size of the trees etc.
There are plenty of images on the Internet which are photo shopped and it is the opinion of many that this image is also doctored. It must be clarified that the brothers named in this press release neither doctored nor spread this rumour. They are victims of this unfortunate incident and should be treated as victims rather than perpetrators. They did nothing wrong!
We have been informed that this image may have been photoshopped.
It is also possible that this image is genuine but it is not for Shawwal 1439 crescent taken on the 14th of June 2018. Since nobody is taking responsibility of taking this picture, it is impossible to investigate the authenticity of it.
We end this release by advising British Muslims to be cautious and to let this incident be a stark reminder for the Ulamā about the need to scrutinise the testimonies and news of Moonsighting. This is not the first incident of mistaken Moonsighting and unfortunately it will not be the last!
We have read this article and agree to the contents and our names to be shared in public. We never claimed this sighting so there was no need for us to come forward and provide details. However, in the interest of truthfulness and transparency we believe that this matter should be publicised and our names and reputations should not be tarnished and/or associated with the claim of Shawwal 1439 Moonsighting.
- Imran Mallu (Bolton)
- Suhail Khan (Bolton)