Shawwal moon delay: Leaked video of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee member triggers controversy

Former RHC Chairman Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman asks believers to observe a qaza fast in lieu of 30 Ramadan

Web Desk

  • A leaked video of RHC member Mufti Yaseen Zafar makes the matter further complicated. 
  • Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman asks believers to observe a qaza fast in lieu of Friday.
  • Asks those who observed aitkaaf to perform a qaza for that too.

KARACHI: Following the late-night announcement made by the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee about sighting the Eid moon — a move which left the nation surprised — a controversial video that went viral on social media has made the matter even more complicated. 

According to Geo News, a leaked video started making rounds on social media in which Mufti Yaseen Zafar, a member of the Central RHC, could be seen talking on the phone with someone and saying that the committee announced eid "in a bid to show unity." 

And as if the video was not enough to arouse suspicion among the masses regarding the sighting of Eid moon, Mufti Mubeeb ur Rehman, the former chairman of the Central RHC, issued a statement and asked believers to observe a qaza fast in lieu of 30 Ramadan. 

He also asked those who observed aitkaaf to perform a qaza for that along with a fast, adding that he too would be fasting on Friday to make up for the missed roza.

On Wednesday night, the session of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee to sight the moon, chaired by Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, went on for hours. At about 11:30pm, Maulana Azad announced that Eid would be observed in Pakistan on Thursday, May 13, adding that evidence of moon sighting has been received from Balochistan and other areas which the committee accepted in line with the Shariah.

Following the announcement, Prime Minister Imran Khan's Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony Maulana Tahir Ashrafi had said that the government had "fulfilled its promise to the nation of celebrating Eid on the same day throughout the country."

"There was a delay but we gave the people the gift of a singular Eid," he said.

Ashrafi added that the decisions on testimonies were made "in accordance with the Shariah".

"The entire nation will celebrate Eid together after 20 years," he had said.

'Duty of the govt to announce Eid': Maulana Raghib Naeemi

Commenting on the controversy, Maulana Raghib Naeemi, member of Central RHC and head of Jamia Naeemia in Lahore, said that in 1967, a similar controversy broke out regarding the citing of the moon and Eid was announced a day earlier.

At the time, he said, five scholars had refused the decision so they were kept in Machh jail for two months.

"According to Mufti Muneeb, Mufti Ilyas, and several other scholars, it is the duty of the government to make an announcement regarding Eid moon."

"All Pakistani Muslims should, therefore, observe a qaza fast in lieu of Ramadan 30."

'No chances of moon sighting:' Fawad Chaudhry

Citizens of Pakistan were left confused after the announcement as earlier in the day, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had said that there was no possibility to sight the moon in Pakistan since the age of the moon at the time was 13 hours and 42 minutes.

The minister said there are "no chances of sighting the [Eid] moon today".

He added that people who wish to celebrate Eid with Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan should just say so.

"Ending the holy month on a lie is not a wise thing to do."