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The Continuing Problem Of Moon Sighting In The U.K. : A Solution On The Horizon?

بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ


April 2022

The Saudi authorities have officially declared the sighting of the new moon crescent (Hilāl) for Ramadan 1443 AH in Saudi Arabia on the evening of Friday, April 1, 2022. Consequently, this situation once again presents two different commencement dates for the month of Ramadan 1443 for Muslims residing in the U.K., which is understandably frustrating.

Despite unequivoYoutube video Moonsighting proposed solutionscal scientific data indicating the impossibility of sighting the new moon crescent (Hilāl) anywhere in Asia or Europe on Friday evening, April 1, 2022, even with the aid of optical instruments, the Saudi announcement contradicted this evidence. Notably, the scientists responsible for calculating the visibility of the new moon crescent are also the ones determining prayer times, which are typically adhered to without question. If indeed the Hilāl was sighted in Saudi Arabia on Friday evening, it would set a new record for moon crescent sightings.

The rationale behind following Saudi moonsightings, as elucidated by Sheikh Islam Ali Shah in a video presentation, was grounded on the presumption that sighting the Hilāl in the U.K. was unfeasible. Additionally, the convenience of the Saudi announcements reaching the U.K. around Asr time, streamlining life for U.K. Muslims, and fostering certainty among them, was highlighted by Sheikh Islam Ali Shah in his video presentation. However, the 1986 Agreement aimed at unifying U.K. Muslims through such moonsightings has evidently fallen short of its objective and warrants reconsideration.

In seeking a solution, our objectives should include preserving Islam, our imān, and that of the new generation of Muslims, prioritizing Muslim unity, and ensuring convenience and certainty. It is improbable that adhering to Saudi moonsightings will never achieve unity among U.K. Muslims, as the Saudi system contradicts human intellect and scientific understanding. The Hilāl sighted in Saudi Arabia is not observed in countries west of KSA, such as Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, on the same evening. Additionally, the Saudi practice of seeking the Hilāl before its birth or when it is below the horizon on the 29th of the month, according to the umm-ul-Qura calendar, raises significant doubts about its reliability. False sightings, termedDr. Ayman Kordi KACST "illusions," are acknowledged by Saudi scientists, yet the testimony of Hilāl sighters is accepted even when sighting the Hilāl is impossible.

Despite these criticisms, it is crucial to comprehend the Saudi Hijri calendar and moonsighting announcements before passing judgment. The Saudi system gives the testimony of a Muslim precedence over any scientific facts. Moreover, Saudi scholars have consistently advised Muslims worldwide to rely on their local moonsightings instead of the Saudi announcements, as reiterated by Mufti Menk. How a few Saudi moonsighters consistently manage to see the “impossible” Hilāl is difficult to comprehend. Nonetheless, certain U.K. organizations persist in exclusively following Saudi moonsighting announcements for religious months, citing the fiqhi principle of global moonsighting (ittihad al-matali).

Many Muslim groups in the U.K. have collaboratively compiled data over a period of 5 years on Hilāl sightings exclusively within the U.K. from various locations. This data demonstrates the feasibility of establishing a Hijri calendar for U.K. Muslims based solely on local Hilāl sightings. The initial assumption that the Hilāl cannot be sighted in the U.K. is no longer valid, given the increased Muslim population over the past four to five decades, concerted efforts by many Muslim groups to observe the Hilāl every month, and the training of individuals in Hilāl observation. Since local moonsighting aligns with the Sunnah practised throughout Islamic history for over 1400 years and given the proven visibility of the Hilāl in the U.K., adopting a U.K.-based Hijri calendar is advocated for the U.K. Muslim community.

Regarding Eid-ul-Fitr 1443 (2022), Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court has urged all Muslims in the Kingdom to watch for the crescent moon of Shawwal on Saturday evening, April 30, 2022 (Ramadan 29th according to the Saudi Hijri calendar). If the moon is observed over the Kingdom on Saturday, Eid-ul-Fitr, 1st Shawwal 1443 Hijri, will fall the next day on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Conversely, if the moon is not observed, Eid will occur on Monday, May 2, 2022. The Astronomical New Moon (conjunction) is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2022, at 20:28 UT. Given that sunset in Makkah on Saturday, April 30, 2022, is at 18:45 UT, Saudi citizens will be seeking the Hilāl before the moon's conjunction, i.e., before the moon is born. Notably, there will be a partial solar eclipse visible in South America after the attempted Hilāl sighting in Saudi Arabia, indicating that the moon's birth (conjunction) will occur after sunset in Makkah. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that Saudi Arabia and its followers commenced Ramadan 1443 a day early.

Countries such as Turkey, France, Germany, Ireland, and others, which rely on a Hijri calendar based entirely on astronomical calculations, will declare Eid-ul-Fitr to be on Monday, May 2, 2022. For U.K. Muslims who follow Morocco, South Africa, or local U.K. moonsighting, the new moon crescent will be sought on Sunday evening, Ramadan 29th, 1443, and their Eid-ul-Fitr, 1st Shawwal 1443, could possibly be on Monday, May 2, 2022, but more likely on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Regardless of the chosen celebration day, heartfelt wishes for a joyous Eid-ul-Fitr are extended.


A. Hussain, April 2022



UPDATE 9th April 2024

On Saturday, 6h April, 2024 Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court called on all Muslims throughout the Kingdom to sight the new crescent moon that marks the end of Ramadan and the onset of the month of Shawwal on Monday, April 8.

The Central Moonsighting Committee in the UK followed the Saudi lead and made a similar announcement aimed at UK Muslims:

CMSC announcement

As all astronomers and lay people who have a basic understanding of science predicted that the moon would be impossible to sight in Saudi Arabia on Monday evening, 8th April because the moon would not be actually born at time of sunset in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, on Monday 8th April, the moonset would be below the horizon at the time of Sunset. 

If we examine the timeline for Monday, 8th April, 2024, we see that Saudi Arabia announced that the Shawwal crescent moon had not been sighted before sunset in Makkah, Medina and Jeddah. Furthermore, the Saudis were looking for the crescent moon before it was born and after the moon had set, i.e. when it was below the horizon.

Astronomical data for Monday, 8th April, 2024


There are some Muslims who totally reject astronomical data for moon visibility but ironically totally accept data for prayer times produced by the same scientists. 

Even if one were to ignore the above astronomical data one cannot deny that millions of people witnessed a solar eclipse, which is the time of the moon being born, in Mexico and North America AFTER Saudi Arabia's attempt to site the crescent moon. 

The fact that Saudi Arabia tried to sight the crescent moon before it had been born clearly indicates that they were looking for the crescent moon a day too early, what they thought was the 29th of Ramadan, 1445, was in reality 28th of Ramadan, 1445. Let us reflect on these facts. Unity on the issue of moonsighting amongst the UK Muslims will only be long-lasting if it is based on reality and does not defy human intellect.


There are some Muslims in UK and moonsighting committees who claim that they follow the fiqhi ruling of global moonsighting, when in reality they follow Saudi UQC and Saudi moonsighting announcements only. These people should be informed that Mali and Niger (Muslim countries) have both declared that they have sighted the new moon crescent so their Eid-ul-Fitr will be on Tuesday, 9th April, 2024.  The self-declared global moonsighting advocates will no doubt ignore these official announcements from Muslim countries.

The principle of global moonsighting is based on ittihad-ul-matali’ (unified horizon) which presumes a flat earth. Although some claim that the Hanafi fiqh position is ittihad-ul-matali’ others dispute this claim. But everyone agrees that ittihad-ul-matali’ has not been practised by Muslims since the inception of the Hijri calendar. Furthermore, we know that the Earth is not flat and all the countries of the world do not share one horizon.


Islam Ali Shah statement


Mali announcement 8th April 2024

A. Hussain, 9th April 2024




The following predicted dates are to allow professionals to book holidays in advance. As a precaution, it may be better to book 2 days for some Eid dates. A special thanks to Mr. Juned Patel of Bolton, U.K., for checking the data.


Predicted Eidain dates



DuH 1446


DuH 1450



A. Hussain


Useful Links

Moon Sighting UK

New Crescent Society

Crescent Moon Visibility UK Gov


Batley Moonsighting Committee

Central Moonsighting Committee

The UK & Europe Hilal Forum

The Scottish Hilal Forum


NCS + ICOUK Moon sighted by naked eye in UK only. False positive sightings rejected. 12th Mar. 2024/ 10th Apr. 2024
Wifaq-ul-ulema + BMSC Moon sighted by naked eye in U.K. or Morocco or South Africa 12th Mar. 2024/ 10th Apr. 2024
CMSC Saudi UQC for 8 months + Saudi moonsighting announcements for 4 months 11th Mar. 2024/ 10th Apr. 2024
UK & European Hilal Forum + Scottish Hilal Forum Entirely based on calculations. A to C visibility codes any where in the world. 11th Mar. 2024/ 10th Apr. 2024