Criteria and Guidelines for Establishing Islamic Lunar Calendar
Members of the Crescent Committee have come together to provide a solution for Islamic dates, on a unified platform with efforts to establish uniformity. This solution is such that it complies with the regulations of Islamic law and at the same time does not defy logic and obvious reasoning. This position is also such that it is convenient and does not cause undue hardship (ḥaraj), while meeting the Islamic rulings accordance to schools of jurisprudence (fiqh), based on the teachings of the Qurʾān and Prophetic way (sunnah). The Crescent Committee of Canada is of the view that in the current context, unity and uniformity is more important than insisting on a particular Islamic view amongst the various acceptable positions regarding lunar months.
Members of the Crescent Committee will adhere to the following guidelines to establish and declare the Islamic lunar dates:
Date of sighting the crescent must be on the 29th, i.e. the eve of the 30th.
Sighting reports will be accepted from any country of the world where we are able to obtain reliable information, including Saudi Arabia and the countries in its east and west.
Decision will be made based on the actual sighting of the first moon (hilāl) with the naked human eye.
Testimony will be taken from people who claim to have seen the first moon. If the skies are clear in the area where the sighting assumingly was made, then the testimony of ten people will be preferred to declare the new lunar month and decided through the testimony of a minimum of two witnesses. If the sky is cloudy or hazy then the testimony of a minimum of two witnesses will be required to establish the new lunar month.
Testimony will be taken from an organization, moon sighting committee or judiciary council whom we deem as reliable, that has declared the sighting of the first moon (hilāl).
A testimony can be rejected due to external evidence such as someone claiming a sighting on the 28th of the lunar month. The Crescent Committee of Canada will utilize science, astronomical data and moon visibility maps but not over emphasize them. It has been noted that lunar sightings do occur in regions where scientifically or astronomically it was not likely, such as in recent years, Zimbabwe, South Africa and also North America. Regarding Saudi Arabia, the Crescent Committee of Canada notes that there may be occasions where a reliable moon sighting report will be communicated to us (from Australia, for example) while there is no declaration from Saudi Arabia. In such cases the reliable international moon sighting will be the basis to commence the lunar month, even if the Judiciary Council of Saudi Arabia has not determined a sighting in its region.
Astronomical data will be used for informing the public about the scientifically most possible date of the new lunar month but will be confirmed upon the sighting of the first moon (hilāl) on the 29th, i.e. the eve of the 30th
As a general rule, if a testimony does not reach the council by midnight (Eastern Time Zone), it will conclude in completing the current lunar month as 30 days. Accommodations will be made for exceptional cases where there may be possibilities of sighting based on astronomical information.
This criteria will be adopted for all Islamic lunar months (including Dhū al-Ḥijjah)
The above Guidelines have been established and agreed by the following religious scholars:
• Sh. Ayub Mamun
• Dr. Abdul Hai Patel
• Dr. Hamid Slimi
• Dr. M. Iqbal Al Nadwi
• Sh. Omar Subedar
• Sh. Dr. Saeed Faizi
• Sh. Syed Shah Mohammed Quadri
• Sh. Yusuf Badat
• Sh. Zahir Baccus
Crescent Committee of Canada