New Age Islam
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Islamic Society ( 23 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Eid Celebrations: A Tale of Three Moons


By Sabir Nazar

August 22, 2012

The progress from two Eid celebrations to three is a healthy sign. Within the next 10 years, with the help of these Muftis we will most probably be celebrating the last 10 days of Ramazan as Eid. Every Mohalla, town, city and province would have separate Ruet committees and separate Eids. After all we are a democratic nation and everyone shall have equal rights in this country.

 I don’t know why people are so obsessed with celebrating Eid on the same day and why everyone is criticising one another for failing to unite the nation. Are we united on any other subject, be it from Quaid-e-Azam’s conception of Pakistan, to war against terrorism, from the term Khuda Hafiz to our national dress?

 What good would it do for Pakistan if we celebrate Eid on one day? We should be thankful to our muftis for uniting us on the controversy of the moon. These healthy debates on astronomy, science, geography, religion and optics have enriched the nation for one whole week. Moon sighting by the muftis of Waziristan, Masjid Qasim and Ruet-e-Hilal have changed drawings rooms into NASA headquarters. The best gift to the nation was the united stand of ANP and the Deobandis, once bitter rivals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Muftis love controversies. And controversies follow our muftis like beggars follow us during Eid shopping. Muftis are experts at snatching controversies from the jaws of consensus. These controversies power the engine of TV channels, newspapers, the Internet and bad actresses to stardom. For 65 years, one headline, ‘Eid festival was celebrated with religious zeal’ has never changed, much like our ‘Afghan policy’. But this time one Eid was not enough, so we celebrated three Eids to express our zeal. The month of Ramazan was also packed with more controversies, like the killing of Rohingyas of Gilgit-Baltistan, Quetta and Karachi, the attack on an American base in Kamra, the blasphemy case against an 11-year-old Christian girl. The Leo Rauf controversy also erupted in the middle of the holy month but Mufti yaan-e-Karaam showed some enlightened moderation and didn’t drag him over coals like Veena Malik.

Imagine an Eid without a controversy, it would be as bland as Halwa without sugar or fried chicken without spices. Our muftis spiced up this Eid for us. The abundant jokes about the sighting of the moon added to the festivities that continued for five days. Instead of being thankful to them, people are criticising them.

The moon of Ramazan was sighted on the same day in Pakistan, but after 27 days the moon of Shawal was seen on three consecutive days in three different parts of Pakistan. The Met department said that the moon was not born on Saturday and therefore, there was no question of seeing an unborn moon, whatever that means. But our Muftis with X-ray eyes spotted the fetus of the moon on Friday in Waziristan. North Waziristan is on the boundary of Yemen and Egypt, both the native countries of OBL and Aymen al-Zawahiri respectively. Zawahiri is a doctor and his ultra-sound laboratory in North Waziristan was the first to sight the moon.

 The Ruat-e-Masjid Qasim Khan committee of Jeddah received 24 testimonies from the 22 million population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who sighted the moon therefore, it was mandatory for the 180 million people of Pakistan to celebrate Eid on Sunday. These septuagenarian and octogenarian muftis have perfect eyesight because of the hygienic atmosphere and hygienic food in the constituencies of Dera Ismail, Malakand and Charsadda. The moon was not sighted in the cantonments cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The rest of Pakistan had turned blind on this ill-fated Saturday and couldn’t sight the moon. Or maybe people couldn’t see the moon because of load shedding, yet another example of the bad governance of PPP.


 Why it is that Barelvi Mufti Muneeb is always the last person to see the moon from the Met department? He is always pictured with a telescope but he is the last person to sight the moon. Why does Mufti Muneeb always get a bronze medal in this race of sighting the moon? He should use the ultrasound machine from the gold medalists of Waziristan to see the moon earlier than Masjid Qasim Khan. Or he could name his son ‘Chand’ and then swear to have seen Chand on the 27th of every Ramazan. If Mufti Muneeb was smart enough, he can outmaneuver Waziristan and Masjid Qasim Khan so that for the first time Barelvis would collect all the fitrana from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa population and the rest of Pakistan.

 Sabir Nazar left architecture for painting but ended up as a cartoonist and now writes Hijjo. He is the jack of all trades.