Ramadan 2023: How residents in Sharjah gathered to spot crescent moon

Most Islamic schools of thought accept use of telescope for sightings, says expert


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Wed 22 Mar 2023, 8:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Mar 2023, 10:49 PM

The sighting of the Ramadan crescent moon is a time all Muslims eagerly look forward to. For over 1,400 years, Muslims have gathered during Maghrib prayer time to sight the crescent as part of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH).

Like all the other Islamic countries, this Sunnah is widely practised among UAE citizens and expats as well.

But with the advancement of technologies, telescopes are now widely used by authorities and scholars for sighting of the moon. Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology (SAASST) on Wednesday hosted its annual event to observe Ramadan Crescent at Sharjah Optical Observatory.

Khaleej Times also got the opportunity to attend the event and witness the sighting of the crescent.

Much before the Maghrib time, dozens of Emirati and Arab families, including children, turned up, making it a nice family gathering to see the crescent.

Few highly-advanced telescopes were installed outside the Observatory’s building where the officials had gathered for a crescent sighting. A big screen linked to the observatory was put on display as well for people.

The event started with Prof. Mohamed Sumeran, Vice Dean of the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at the University of Sharjah, addressing the people to highlight the importance of the holy month.

Prof. Mashhoor Al Wardat, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sharjah, and Director of Academic Affairs at SAASST, then explained to men and women how to sight the crescent with the naked eye.

The Ramadan crescent was sighted around Maghrib time and as people spotted it, they went in jubilation, taking out their smartphones and zooming in to take photos.

Those people who were not able to spot it with the naked eye, huddled around Prof. Mashhoor to help them sight the crescent.

Then people also saw the crescent with telescopes to enjoy a unique experience.

“The crescent would be visible to the naked eye for 25 minutes today (Wednesday) before it disappeared,” he told the people.

“To observe the moon, we use a dedicated telescope because it should be very precise and have reflectors for more accuracy. And if the telescope is equipped with GPS, that is even better,” Prof. Mashhoor told KT.

He further added that most of the Islamic schools of thought accept the use of telescopes for crescent sightings.

The Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences and Technology arranges family gatherings for moon sighting as well as for important months such as Zul Hijjah and other important events.

“More than 800 people had turned up for the solar eclipse. And hundreds of people also come to witness the sighting of Zul Hijjah,” he said.


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