Saudi Arabia has announced the date of sighting of the new moon to be on January 10th 2005, which is one day before it could possibly have been sighted, and thus declared the date of Id-ul-Adha to be January 20th. This is exactly what they did at the last Id-ul-Fitr in November 2004. Commenting on the Saudi announcement, Muslim astronomical websites have plainly declared that:
These websites affirm that the date of the new moons appearance was 11th January, and hence Id-ul-Adha is on Friday 21st January 2005. The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore (U.K. branch) had announced many months ago that Id-ul-Adha would be on 21st January 2005.
In an article available at the www.moonsighting.com website, Dr. Mohammad Auwal, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, writes:
those who claim to have sighted the moon well ahead of its astronomical visibility (established by credible astronomers) are either lying or making a mistake. This year’s Saudi claim of sighting the new moon when none in the world has seen it is like telling us to believe that the broad daylight that we see with our naked eyes is dark and deep midnight. (See: www.moonsighting.com/hajj&eid-al-adha_mess.html)
Exactly the same happened at the last Id-ul-Fitr when Saudi Arabia announced Saturday 13th November 2004 to be the Id date after claiming to sight the new moon on 12th November. Then also, the above websites declared any such sighting as impossible, and their information confirmed that our long-announced date of 14th November was right.
I dealt with this in some detail during my Id-ul-Fitr khutba at our U.K. Centre, in which I cited the following verse of the Holy Quran:
They ask thee of the new moons. Say: They are times appointed for men, and (for) the pilgrimage. And it is not righteousness that you enter the houses by their backs, but he is righteous who keeps his duty. And go into the houses by their doors (2:189).
I explained that entering houses by their backs applies to the convoluted and tortuous ways of determining the new moon that are used generally by the Muslim religious and community leaders. The khutba is online at: www.muslim.org/islam/id-ul-fitr2004.htm.
I posed a question in my khutba which I repeat here. One of the following three possibilities has to be true:
This is a question we put before the whole Muslim world leadership: which of these three cases is true? Please ponder and let us know.