Fake Moonsighting: Shawwal 1439

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 Islmic 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]

Bolton Moonsighting:

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.

Photopshopped Image?

Analy­sis of this image for the 14th of June 2018 (Shaww­al 1439 cres­cent) reveals the fol­low­ing prob­lems:

  1. 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.
  2. The back­ground illu­mi­na­tion is too high and it was unsu­al and unlike­ly for the cres­cent to be seen at such back­ground illu­mi­na­tion lev­el.
  3. 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!

Consent

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. 

  1. Imran Mal­lu (Bolton)
  2. Suhail Khan (Bolton)