ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, Maulana Abdul Khabir, Chairman of the Current Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, shared his commitment to use scientific expertise in the sighting of the moon within the boundaries of Shariah in order to end recurring disputes regarding religious festivals such as Eids.
His comments came during a meeting with Fawad Chaudhry, the Minister of Science and Technology. The minister informed him that observatories were being set up for the sighting of the moon in Islamabad.
The sites of the observatories have been established and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has requested their permission, he said. Maulana Khabir was briefed on the ministry’s efforts in that respect.
He was informed that the observatories were the result of attempts made by the Minister of Science to promote the sighting of the moon and to make a unanimous decision.
Minister tells Maulana Khabir that observatories are being set up in Islamabad for sighting of moon to end controversies over Islamic events
With the aid of scientific knowledge, every challenge has been solved in this new era and only nations that use technology are making progress. Islam and science are not incompatible, but they are differentiated from other ideologies by the value of knowledge in Islam, the minister said.
He told Maulana Khabir of his ministry’s full support in the area of moon sighting. In order to find consensus on the sighting of the moon with the assistance of science, he said his office would assist the commission.
In the past, the Ruit-i-Hilal Committee rejected offers from the Ministry of Science and Technology to use scientific facts to declare activities of Islamic significance. A lunar calendar containing all the dates of Islamic events in Pakistan, including Ramazan, Eidul Fitr, Eidul Azha and Muharram for the next five years, was also established by the ministry to end controversies regarding religious events.
The commission, however, rejected any ministry aid, cautioning Mr. Chaudhry not to engage with matters that he did not understand.
Nonetheless, in accordance with parallels and teachings from the Quran and Hadis, Maulana Khabir displayed an inclination to work with the Ministry of Science and Technology.
He also requested the Federal Minister to make every attempt to take on board Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai of the Qasim Ali Khan Mosque of Peshawar to find an agreement on the sighting of the moon that would bring an end to uncertainty over big Islamic events.
Mufti Popalzai was also opposed to recommendations for the use of science and the new moon-sighting developments that mark religious occasions.
Maulana Khabir also claimed that she would like to bring all the members of the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee on a visit to the Ministry of Science and Technology to educate them about the value of scientific research and how it could help all those involved in the future.
On the occasion, officials also showed how an application developed by the moon gazing ministry worked.