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The War Within Islam ( 26 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Moon-Sighting Controversy

By Dr A Q Khan

27 August, 2012

Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated throughout Pakistan on August 20. Despite all the worries and calamities they are forced to face, the poor were in the forefront. This kind of occasions are the only break they get from their difficult lives and they make the most of them. Many of the poor were finding it difficult even to buy the cheapest clothes. It makes one wonder if they were even able to buy meat or anything extra for the occasion. Everything is now beyond their means, thanks largely to our rulers.

Religious tolerance, despite the nature of the festivities, seems to have disappeared. People don’t think twice about killing others on sectarian, ethnic, religious or political grounds. The worst, and most shameful, is the collusion of our rulers with the US in allowing Pakistanis, mostly innocent men, women and children, to be killed in drone attacks, which do not spare us even during the Eid festivities. It is a curse from Allah on us!

 As usual, the sighting of the moon and the date of Eid celebration was made controversial by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa mullahs and government. They even managed to break all previous records of celebrating two Eids by having four Eids this year. Right from the time of the establishment of Pakistan, Ghaffar Khan, together with his coterie, did everything possible to undo Pakistan. At the time of Partition they had, in collusion with the Congress and Mountbatten, forced a referendum in the Frontier to join India, but they failed. Thanks to the sincerity and untiring efforts of Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, Pir Sahib of Manki Sharif, Dr Abdul Rahim Khan Bangash, etc., the supporters of the referendum lost and the Frontier became part of Pakistan. Imagine what the drastic consequences would have been for Pakistan had the Frontier gone to India!

 Current sophisticated technologies can precisely determine the position of the moon and its duration. As the chief meteorologist has again and again pointed out, there was no possibility of the moon appearing and being sighted on Saturday night. However, a mufti sat in a mosque in Peshawar and started dictating the names and addresses of unknown people who had claimed that they had seen the moon. On the basis of those “sightings” he announced Eid-ul-Fitr to be on Sunday. A senior Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa minister immediately went to the mosque and announced the acceptance of these dubious sightings. The result was that, while the chief minister was praying the next day, the governor was still fasting.

 The minister went so far as to accuse the Federal Ruet Hilal Committee, consisting of eminent Islamic scholars from all over Pakistan, of being biased against Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. In no other Islamic country does this sort of mischief occur. Surprisingly, Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s representative, Maulana Shirani Khan, chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council, has remained silent on the issue. All state organs and institutions are systematically being destroyed and the country seems on its way to disintegration. My advice to the authorities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the mullahs is: If you want to avoid all this confusion and controversy, decide once and for all that you will start Ramazan and celebrate Eid at the same time as Saudi Arabia, and don’t accept dubious evidence.

 The importance of evidence cannot be over-emphasised. It has its own significance and sanctity. A specific instance has been quoted where a person asked the Holy Prophet (PBUH) about evidence. The Prophet asked that person whether he could see the sun. Upon hearing the person’s reply in the affirmative, he said: “Evidence must be as without doubt or ambiguity as this is. Ignore the rest.” From the sightings of the moon starting the month of fasting and for ending it are important religious matters and extreme care is needed.

 The evidence for it must be beyond any doubt. The one who gives evidence must fulfil the following conditions: he should be (1) be an adult, and a pious and practising Muslim; (2) have good vision and hearing; 3) not have been involved in wrongdoings or convicted of any crime, even a minor one. The person who accepts evidence must be a scholar following Islamic injunctions, a respected citizen having a prominent status amongst other religious scholars and be free of any debt. While making their decisions, the mullahs should keep in mind that it is haram to fast on Eid day just as it is haram to celebrate Eid on a day of fast. Those dealing with such sensitive religious matters are answerable to the Almighty and will be dealt with severely if found to have indulged in any wrongdoing.

 As I mentioned in my last column, I was in Karachi just before Eid to attend two important functions. On the 12th I went to Nine Zero, the residence of Mr Altaf Hussain, and then participated in the distribution of items of daily necessity to the needy. Consequently, I received three emails airing reservations about this. One friend described me as being naive (fortunately he didn’t call me stupid or an idiot) to expect anything good from the MQM. However, I still stand by my suggestion that Rauf Siddiqui should be appointed home minister in order to eradicate the menace of targeted killings and extortion. I am convinced he can deliver. I am quite familiar with all the politicians and leaders and know well what I am talking about, and what is at stake.

 Three or four people also expressed reservations about my participation in the Pehechan-e-Ramzan programme compered by Dr Aamir Liaquat Hussain. It was an excellent show appreciated by all and seen all over the world. I was asked some important questions by those present and I had the opportunity of expressing my views on topics of national importance to Pakistanis at home and abroad. It was also the 10thanniversary of the launching of the GEO network and I was pleased to be able to participate in it.

 During the whole month of Ramazan we were given a carrot of 50,000 MW of power for the next 500 years and millions of barrels of diesel. We were told that dozens of wells were overflowing with gas which was not being used. If that is indeed so, then why not get a few 1,250 KV Kohler generators from Karachi, feed them with this surplus gas and produce electricity to supply the area.

 First we were told that no foreign firm would be allowed to participate in these projects but now three foreign companies have been involved. Why have we wasted four years and billions of rupees? Somebody should be taken to task and account for it.