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Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman Takes A Jibe At Fawad Chaudhry

Moon sighting has always been a controversial and sensitive issue and every time around this time of the year both segments (pro-science and pro-Ruet-i-Hilal) come out on the media and otherwise to partake in the decades long debate. This time again a comment by newly appointed Minister Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry sparked a debate, and now Chairman Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman took upon his shoulders to come back with a fitting reply.

Here’s what Fawad Chaudhry had said last week, “Where is the wisdom in spending Rs4 million on moon-sighting for Ramzan and Eid? At least the [Ruet-e-Hilal] committee should do it voluntarily. All around the world [the sighting] is done without remuneration.

I respect the ulema. I have given an opinion. Everyone does not need to agree,” the Minister had added.

Understandably, the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee and its chief did not agree to Fawad’s stance – who by the way is also pushing for a scientific approach for moon sighting. However, in his latest column, Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman chose to give a reply to the minister and his supporters.

“I would request Fawad Chaudhry to bring out the record from the national exchequer and tell me how much have I taken from my job of moon sighting in last 19 years. I’ll happily return it through Fawad Chaudhry and he can garner some praise too,” said Mufti Muneeb.

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He further stated, “I do not partake in the debate […] however I have to state that a pre-determined lunar calendar would not solve the controversy, it will only add to it as people in our region [country] do not consider moon sighting a ritual but rather a means of worship.”

Mufti Muneeb also emphasized on the drawbacks of scientific approach which – according to him – can only determine the region Pakistan can be in on a said date and not guarantee moon’s visibility.

“As per a noted meteorologist, moon visibility is based on three regions worldwide: Region A (definite moon sighting), Region B (uncertain conditions) and Region C (unfavorable conditions/ zero chance). The scientific calendar will only determine which region Pakistan will be in, this in no way assures if we’ll be able to sight the moon or not – and sighting is a pre-requisite as per Shariah,” Chairman Ruet-i-Hilal elaborated.

Mufti Muneeb went on to add that this Ramadan as well, there were many countries who observed fast from the same day as Pakistan. He stressed that the other countries do not follow Pakistan’s moon sighting committee but rather their own geographical and meteorological conditions turned out to similar to Pakistan, hence they followed the suit.

Taking a jibe at Fawad Chaudhry’s comment “distrust on all scholars except Ghamdi”, Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman said, “I would like to know does Fawad Chaudhry consider everyone else an illiterate? If so, then I ask the Prime Minister, is it the stance of the ruling party?”

Aisha Arshad

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