In this modern era . we (NASA and other organizations) can very easily know the relative position of moon through modern setups. http://www.moongiant.com/

Like scientists predicts the solar and lunar eclipse and other planetary incidences almost accurately. They also knows the position of moon and from which place of earth it can be sighted at any given time.

Then my question is why we still depends on the head of local moon sighting committee to know if moon is seen or not. The funny thing is they mullah use binoculars to see the moon, which is also a scientific invention. Then why they don't take their help in knowing the new moon.


1 Answer 1


The whole issue of sighting the moon vs. astronomical prediction comes down to how literal you interpret hadith. In one hadith the Prophet says:

"If you see it (The moon) then fast, and if you don’t see it then do not fast"

How do you interpret the verb 'see'? Is it actual visual eyesight, or is modern technology a viable alternative?

In another hadith, he says:

"We are an illiterate nation; we neither write, nor know accounts. The month is like this and this (i.e. sometimes 29 days and sometimes 30)"

This is a direct ban on using calculation to predict the phase of the moon. But, at the time of the Prophet astronomical calculation was still in it's infancy and did not have the accuracy afforded to modern day calculations backed up by the latest of gravitational theories. So is that ban still in effect?

While the majority of Muslim scholars still stick to visual method of sighting of the moon, more and more scholars are beginning to accept a more modern approach.

  • i wonder if calculations are not allowed then how the salat timings and ramzan calander is prepared well in advance.
    – Zia
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 6:10
  • @Zia - Well there's no hadith that explicitly bans calculating prayer times like the one for moon sighting. Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 17:18
  • 1
    @Zia who said that they are calculated? Yes in non-Islamic countries they might but in Muslim countries many people know the timing by looking at the sky, the sun etc.! As i discussed here most calculation methods are giving us wrong timings as they are only locally valid islam.stackexchange.com/questions/32643/…
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 6:51
  • @SystemDown Can you provide a reference to the second Hadith your quote.
    – Ahmed
    Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 15:26

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