The Council of Imams and Ulamaa of Lagos State has faulted the suggestion by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) that a new crescent would be sighted in Kaduna before sunset on June 5 and that Ramadan fast would automatically begin on June 6.
A joint statement by the council’s technical advisers: Habeebullah Adam El-ilory, Abdul-Rasaq Ishola, Majolagbe Monsuru and the Chief Imam of Lagos, Ibrahim Garuba Akinola said NASRDA’s position had no basis in Islamic jurisprudence as the crescent could only be sighted after sunset.
The council added that going by astronomical calculations available to them, nowhere in Nigeria will experience sunset at the time stated by NASRDA.
“NASDR released a statement claiming the Astronomical Lunar Crescent would appear in Kaduna and Sokoto on June 5thbetween 5:12 PM and 7:14 P.M and 7:37pm and in other 34 States of the federation between 5:12pm and 7:37 pm via Charge Coupled Device(CCD). This implies that Ramadan starts on 6th June 2016,” the council stated in a statement.
“Crescent sighting valid for starting the month of Ramadan should be after sunset according to Islamic sharia and consensus of Ulama-Islamic Scholars. Therefore claiming sighting of the new crescent with CCD (charge coupled device, as used by NASRDA) before the sunset is not valid for starting Ramadan,” the council added.
The scholars quoted famous Muslim astronomers, Mohammad Odeh and Khalid Shaukat as saying that conjunction would only occur at 4:00a.m. Nigerian time on June 5, 2016 with the age of the moon – that is, the hours between the conjunction and sunset – being 15 hours only.
The council said, “The statement that crescent will appear on 5th June between 5:12pm and 7:14 pm is capable of misleading Nigeria Muslims to commence Ramadan fast earlier.
“Moreover because NASRDA does not apply Islamic Sharia parameters on its findings, NASRDA does not have the knowledge of Islamic Sharia to interpret its astronomical knowledge in favour of Islam and has no authority whatsoever to guide the Muslim Ummah as regard the beginning or ending of Ramadan.”
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