Saturday, October 24, 2009

Moonshine - Revisited

I may be a bit late on moon sighting controversy on Eid.. but then I have to 'deliver my sermon' because I am from Peshawar, work in Karachi and I have to spend the fasting month in Karachi and celebrate Eid in Peshawar. That is a really tricky business. Soon there will be Eid ul Azha and we will 'keep the flame burning' of making mockery of ourselves.

There were three esteemed personalities who made assess out of themselves on this august occasion of Eid ul Fitr. First was Mr. Muneeb ur Rehman, Chairman Rut e Hilal Committee. Second is Mr. Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, MNA Awami National Party (ANP) and Mr. Popalzai, imam of (in)famous Masjid Qasim Ali Khan of Qissa Khwani Bazar Peshawar.

I don't know but from my childhood I have seen 3 Eids celebrated in Peshawar. First ones to offer Eid prayers were/are the Afghans who in colossal numbers had found refuge in Pakistan, especially Peshawar during the Afghan war of 80s. They celebrate Eid with Saudi Arabia. Then there is the local Peshawari population that follows the edicts of Masjid Qasim Ali Khan - they celebrate on second day and then there is the third category who celebrate Eid with Government's Moon Sighting Committee, the third day. This time was no different but the 'very vigilant' media of ours ensured that brouhaha was broadcasted 24x7.

First thing first... what is the regulation according to Quran on moon-sighting? All along in the Quran we get the information that new moon is the source for knowing timings for offering rituals.

2:189 - They ask thee, of new moons, say: They are fixed seasons for mankind and for the pilgrimage. ...

6:96 - He hath appointed the night for stillness, and the sun and the moon for reckoning.

No where in Quran you will find that you have to 'sight' the Moon to know about the advent of new month. Trust me on this one, ancient people were much more advanced than an ordinary mortal of today regarding the movements of stars, moon and sun. Today's ordinary Abdul Qudoos ('ordinary Joe' for the rest) does not even look at the sky. The Arabs of that time were traders and knew the sky well. Even before them, the ancient civilizations of Maya and Aztecs had complex calendars pointing to exact setting and rise of moon and sun. So Prophet Mohammad would not have held a session on 29th of every lunar month to sight the new moon. Want to bet? This renders the moon-sighting committee of Pakistan as just a media stunt.

Coming to the 3 revered personalities, first I shall be talking about Mr. Muneeb ur Rehman, the chairman of Ruet e Hilal Committee. The guy has an issue with the 'witnesses of moon-sighting' from NWFP. Normally the committee, in order to follow the laid down procedures of sighting the new moon, examines witnesses who claim to witness the sighting as regards to their authenticity. Mr. Muneeb says that he does not accept the residents of NWFP as witness as they are liars! He says the Meteorological Institute of Pakistan says that there was no moon in that region so how on earth can they sight it? Hence liars. He will accept the testimony of anyone, even the remotest location of Pakistan but will simply not accept the testimony of people of Frontier. He also says that how can you sit for moon-sighting on 28th of Ramazan when one sits on 29th for that purpose. Idiot does not know that Frontier fasts one day 'before' the rest of the country so its their 29th Fast - not 28th as his is.

Mind you, the Meteorological Institute of Pakistan does not say that there was no moon, it says that 'chances of sighting the moon are less because the records with us indicate that you require 31 hours of moon-life to sight it'. The Institute has this record of various observatories around Pakistan. So the moon-sighting records of the Institute is of 31 hours.. not of the rest. You do not have an idea how religiously (literally too) the people of NWFP (not all areas) are in to this thing of moon-sighting.

When we were celebrating Eid in Peshawar, the Ruet guys were sitting in Lahore to witness the moon-sighting, I heard myself the reporter of a news channel saying that 'its been 42 hours since the birth of moon...' Pray tell me, how on earth can a moon whose life is already of 42 hours, require a 'sighting certificate' for it to be officially born? A new moon born is a new moon born for the whole god-damn world. But nay.. we have to prove that a muslim who can follow science is like a unicorn sighted.

Then we have Mr. Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, MNA of ANP. The guy had the gall to call the rest of Pakistanis who do not celebrate Eid on the day as Peshawarities do.. as Ahmadis/ Qadiyanis! Really dumb-ass. If there is anyone we hate the most, its the Ahmadis/ Qadiyanis - even more than the Jews. We hate them so much that we have written that in our Constitution, just because they don't have the same opinions as the rest of muslims have. How lovely. (Read my Post: 'I Hate You') So 'Haji' Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, and through his endeavors ANP, has lost it big time. Morons unlimited.

The third personality is Mr. Popalzai, imam of Qasim Ali Khan Mosque. There is a of of history associated with this mosque which is placed in the heart of Peshawar City. For hundreds of years people have been coming from far flung areas of NWFP, claiming to be witness to moon-sighting, in whatever mode of transportation they can find. They are Not Liars! as Mr. Muneeb portrays them. They are examined with the same procedure as Mr. Muneeb applies to witnesses as regards to the authenticity. Hundreds of people come to Peshawar and this mosque for this purpose only. Mr. Popalzai, as always, should have been doing what he does normally that is take testimonies of witnesses and declare them as either valid or invalid. Not go on national TV and try to become a star.


I am very tired I swear.

Either follow the procedure of Ruet and accept the testimonies of people of NWFP, or celebrate Eid in unison with Saudi Arabia or use common sense and get the time of birth of new moon from any website and declare Eid. Stop this mess because I have to buy tickets for home :|

What a moonshine.


a fan said...

Wouldn't it be simple to make sure you are in Peshawar on all the 3 days? :)

PostMan said...

Holidays get sandwiched :|

Me said...

Now you will have to explain this sandwiching of leaves also:p

I think if you cannot sight moon on your own or find a way to find out about its birth, then you should rely on Reut e Hilal as second responsibility lies with them to inform people of right time. I dont think you should rely on any XYZ mosque declaration even if its been there for centuries.

I feel it has also become part of fad for Peshawri mosques to go against Government everytime. How on earth is it possible that we can never ever sight moon on same day?!

And I know of many people who celebrate eid with Government announcement so you can be one of those too:) If not, then chill and celebrate eid on all three days:p that way you can have 6 eids in one year. wow:)