The 2017 Ramadan season will begin on May 27, the National Moon Sighting Committee and the Southwest sub-committee have said, agreeing to harmonise the beginning and ending of the fasting period in the Northern and Southern parts of the country.
The two committees reached the agreement at an interaction held at the Bodija headquarters of the Southwest League of Imams and Alfas, in Ibadan.
At the meeting, the two committees shared experiences on moon sighting techniques and the need to harmonize start date for the fasting exercise. At the end of the interaction, the two groups announced May 27 as the possible start date based on guide by astronomical science indicating that the moon would be most likely sighted the day before.
According to a unanimous resolution by both parties, the moon is expected to be sighted at 6.45 p.m on Friday May 26 according to the Abuja weather forecast and fasting would commence the following day provided there are no clouds blurring the sky.
Members of the national committee, led by its chairman, Dr Hafiz Wali, said the need to harmonize start date of Ramadan became necessary because it is only in Nigeria that the two parts of the country start and end Ramadan at different times due to moon sighting inaccuracies.
Dr. Wali said his committee would continue to work with regional committees to ensure that the Nigerian Muslim community operates a unified Ramadan process. He promised to transmit the agreement to the Sultan of Sokoto, who set up the national committee to achieve harmony of process.
The Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar, is the President General of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (SCIA) in Nigeria.
The chairman of the moon sighting committee in Southwest, Sheikh Muhammed Habibullah Adam Abdullah El Iorry promised to sustain the new relationship.
Those who attended the meeting were the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Professor Usman El Nafaty, the President of the League in the South West, His Eminence Sheikh Jamiu Keulere (the Chief Imam of Ekiti State), the Vice President and Chief Imam of Lagos State, (Garuba Ibrahim Ainola), the Secretary (Shaekh Ahmad Olagoke Aladesawe), and the host Chief Imam of Oyo State (Shaekh Abdul Ganiyy Agbotomokekere, among others.
In a lecture titled “Basics of Moon Sighting” and its relevance to fasting, Malham Mohammad Yaqub, entitled: “Basics of Moon Sighting”, adddressed the challenges being faced in sighting the moon on annual basis as well as the influence of science in determining the accurate and uniform time.
El Ilory said: ”Though some are saying we are no longer following the Sunnah which is the sighting of Moon with ordinary eyes, thinking that we don’t have the right calculation, we are building on astronomical science. Modern time calculation through seeking of knowledge. Some are mocking us that we Muslims are not in unity because the North may see the moon one day and the South may sight it the second day, thereby making us to terminate the Ramadan on different days. The cooperation and scientific knowledge between the two regions have brought near same time and date, thus promoting unity”.
In his own remarks, Shaeikh Keulere, said: “I hope to contribute my quota to move forward the entire Muslim Ummah in all states of my jurisdiction in particular and the nation in general. Essentially, we would be ready to work with all Islamic organizations and groups, sects and associations to further the frontiers of Islamic religion towards achieving greater peace, progress, unity and development in our midst and in our nation at large. Good initiatives towards achieving peaceful coexistence and societal peace among various other faiths shall be supported”.