Moon sightings

Hadith: “Do not fast unless you sight the crescent, and do not break your fast till you sight the (following) crescent.” (Al-Bukhari, Vol. 3:130).

Like many Mosques around the UK, Masjid-e-Raza relies on South Africa for any Ramadhan or Eid moon sightings.

Each enquiry is validated by a scholar from our Masjid, usually one of the Imams, who are often known to the Scholars (witnesses of the moon sighting) in South Africa. Once we are satisfied with the testimony, currently received from CTIEC Ulama Board, (Cape Town, South Africa), then only any public announcements are made.

However, in a situation where South Africa is unable to provide a testimony, we would then contact Morocco, our former country used for moon sight enquiries.

Yellow = South Africa
Gray = Morocco

Is it possible to sight the moon in the UK?
Yes, in previous years, we’ve also made announcements based on our own sightings. One must note, that as per the Islamic ruling, citizens must first search for the new moon themselves, failing this, then only another country may be referred to.

What does the new moon look like?
Well, there is very little to see in a new moon, and as witnesses would describe as: ‘a fine hairline’.

Approximate new Moon during sunset

How was announcements made 20 years ago?
Technology has evolved greatly over the last 20 years, as you’ll have witnessed, receiving a forwarded message hours before the official mosque announcement!.

However, before the inception of mobile phones, social media, and mosque radios, we and many mosques, would rely on receiving a Fax (electronic document) from the country the moon enquiry was being made.

Quite often the challenge was the speed of the enquiry, If a confirmation for the new moon was not received in time for Isha or Taraweeh, then the Masjid committee would need to go personally to the members houses to inform them of Ramadhan or Eid.

This often meant families waiting in the late hours of the night for announcements and sometimes even waking them up to inform them of Ramadhan or Eid.