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17th June 2024: Mark the Date

12:00 AM Jun 01, 2024 IST | GK CORRESPONDENT
17th june 2024  mark the date
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Eid al-Adha, one of the two major Islamic festivals, (the other being Eid al-Fitr) honours the willingness of Prophet Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) to sacrifice his son, Ismaeel, as an act of obedience to God’s command.

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However, just when Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) was all set to sacrifice his son, with all of his unwavered commitment, God provided him with a lamb to sacrifice in his son’s place. In commemoration of this intervention, animals such as lambs, goats & camels are sacrificed on this Eid followed by distribution of the sacrificial meat amongst relatives, friends and poor, with a provision to retain some of it for personal use. In the Islamic lunar calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the tenth day of 12th month, Dhu al-Hijja, and lasts for four days. So, working out the dates of Eid al-Adha actually involves predicting the onset of the corresponding lunar month, Dhu al-Hijja.

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  1. Prediction Criterion Used

The oldest, simplest and reliable Babylonian Criterion has been used here to predict the visibility of the young waxing crescent, set to mark the onset of lunar month Dhu al-Hijja. For a successful sighting of a young crescent with naked eye after a local sunset and under favourable weather conditions, this Criterion requires:

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l Age of moon, from the moment of astronomical conjunction to the time of sunset corresponding to the evening on which sighting is attempted, to be 24 hours or more and

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l
Moonset 48minutes or more after sunset.

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  1. Data Interpretation

The Astronomical Data such as (1) time of lunar conjunction (2) sunset timing (3) moonset timing (4) age of moon at the time of local sunset and (5) moonset after sunset time-lag is depicted in tabular form for seven cities Dhaka, New Delhi, Srinagar, Islamabad, Kabul, Tehran and Makkah. Applying the two requirements of Babylonian Criterion to this Astronomical Data leads to the following data interpretation:

l
That, on the evening of 6th June 2024, young crescent will not be visible anywhere from Bangladesh to India to Iran to Saudi Arabia and

l
That, on the evening of 7th June 2024, the crescent shall be visible in all countries from Bangladesh to India to Pakistan to Afghanistan to Iran to Saudi Arabia. Hence, 8th June 2024 shall be the first day of lunar month Dhu al-Hijja in all seven cities cited in this write up and 17th June 2024 shall be the first day of Eid al-Adha 1445 AH.

  1. Saudi Arabia’s Um al-Qura Calendar & Haj Dates

Saudi Arabia officially uses, for religious as well as civil administrative purposes, what is known as the Um al-Qura Islamic Lunar Calendar, which does not use the Sharia-compliant physical sighting of crescent moon to mark the onset of a new month. Instead, it takes the day next to the day of lunar conjunction as the first day of the new lunar month provided two requirements of (1) lunar conjunction occurring before sunset and (2) moonset occurring after sunset are met. For Dhu al-Hijja this year, since the lunar conjunction in Makkah shall take place at 15.37 H on 06.06.2024 i.e. well before sunset, and also moonset shall occur 11 minutes after sunset, hence Um al-Qura calendar shall project 07.06.2024 as first day of Dhu al-Hijja, 15.06.2024 as 9th of Dhu al-Hijja (the day of Arafah) and 16.06.2024 as 10th of Dhu al-Hijja (first day of Eid al-Adha). These dates do not agree with the ones established in this work through Babylonian Criterion for earliest sighting of young waxing crescent. However, to work out this discrepancy, the government of Saudi Arabia over the last few years has entrusted its Supreme Court with the assignment of deploying moon-sighting committees in all regions of the country for establishing shariah-compliant dates in respect of important Islamic events such as Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, Haj (Day of Arafah/ 9th of Dhu al-Hijja) and Eid al-Adha. Hope this process continues this year and succeeds in establishing correct dates for Haj & Eid al-Adha as against the erroneous ones projected in Um al-Qura Calendar.

BY Er. Ghulam Nabi Mir

 

The writer works as Assistant Executive Engineer in JKPDD

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