Monday, September 12, 2011

Saudia admits mistake in announcing Eid-ul-Fitr 2011

According to Fars News Agency, Saudi Government officials have reportedly apologized to those who have followed them and said that they would pay Kaffarah of (One Billion Saudi Riyal as expiation for breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan) for the entire Saudi Arabia. The Government gave order to the people and citizen of Saudi Kingdom to do fasting of one day because Eid-ul-Fitr was not supposed to be on 30th August 2011.

The Jeddah Astronomy Society  had said that people actually saw the planet Saturn and not the crescent moon that marks the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal.

Hatem Auda, director of the National Institute for Astronomical and Geophysical Research, had said that astronomical calculations by scientists of the institute noted that the first day of the Eid was Wednesday, 31st August, making Tuesday, 30th August the last day of Ramadan for the Hijri year of 1432.

Various news agencies such as Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera have also reported that the planet Saturn has been mistaken for the Hilal (crescent moon), and this means that what was announced as the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr was supposed to be a day of fasting, rather than celebrations.

According to the Al-Jazeera report, the source of these problematic Hilal-sighting is from Sudair, a region located approximately 150km North of the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The vice-president of Jeddah Astronomy Society reassured that it is impossible to view the Hilal with the naked eye.

While a number of Muslim countries like Pakistan and Iran announce the new crescent only on the basis of frequent sightings by the people, astronomy societies and clerics inside their borders, many others rely on the sightings done by Saudi Arabia and announcement of the Eid Crescent by Riyadh.

Thus, those Muslim who have followed the Saudi suit as usual and celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr on 30th August shall now fast for one day and pay their Kaffarah.

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