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2ème Réunion d’Experts pour l’étude de
l'élaboration du calendrier Islamique
Rabat (Maroc), les 15 et 16 octobre 2008

 
 
Note explicative du document de travail (eng)
Introduction
Topics clarification

First Axis: Legal and jurisprudence issues

Second axis : Applied and proposed astronomical Systems

Third axis: Calendar appropriateness

 

Introduction

After the adoption of a recommendation on “the deepening of thought on the unified Islamic lunar calendar” during the first experts meeting on the Determination of the Moslem Lunar Months beginning (Rabat, November 09-10,2006), the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) raised the issue of the Islamic calendar in Its Eleventh Session, (Dakar, March,13-14,2008).

  • The Dakar Declaration says :
    “Within the same drive of Islamic Renewal, We call on member States and their scholars to seek to unify the Islamic Calendar and thus boost islam’s image in the world”
  • The final resolution No. 1/11 – C(IS), paragraph (D), entitled “The Unified Hijri Calendar” states :
    “Taking into account the pressing need for the unification and standardization of the Hijri calendar which will reflect the unity of Moslems during the feasts and celebrations :

1. Calls upon all the Member States and Islamic institutions to implement previous resolutions to support the (Egyptian) Fatwa Institution in implementing the satellite project (…).
Moreover, a number of meetings and seminars were held on the theme of Calendar, including :

  • - The First Emirates Astronomical Conference (Abu Dhabi, December 13-14,2006), and its recommendation on “The adoption of an Islamic Calendar based on the Crescent visibility which would be accepted on a wide range” ;
    -
  • A paper entitled “For a Unified Lunar Islamic Calendar” presented during a formative session for prayers Imams organised by the Islamic and Cultural Council of Catalonia (Barcelona, June 11-14, 2007) ;
    -
  • The International Symposium towards a Unified Islamic international Calendar, (Jakarta, September 4 - 6, 2007).
  • >
If the unification of the Islamic Calendar has become an objective of the OIC, and establishing the Islamic Calendar a target aimed at here and there, and although calculation has become more acceptable among Fuqahas, differing attitudes are still the rule, as to a common definition of a Calendar, as well as to some fundamental doctrinal issues, related to the subject of a calendar, the question of the visibility transfer, and time system.
The aforesaid ideas have been some of the reasons for holding a second experts meeting for the Study of the Establishment of The Islamic Calendar

Topics clarification

First Axis: Legal and jurisprudence issues

1. “Visibility Transfer” which includes :

  • Question : Is it allowed to start a new month all over the world, the next day, when astronomical calculations prove that the crescent could be seen, somewhere in the world (Principle of Visibility transfer) ?
  • The Islamic Calendar and the principle of “each country has its own sighting” ;
  • The Islamic Calendar and the principle of “unifying the sighting of the crescent” (by effective observation or calculations) ;
  • The Islamic Calendar and the principle of Visibility Transfer.

2. “Time system” which includes :

- Definition of “the day time”; its beginning and end in time and space ;

- Moslems’ times of worship and the Universal Time System ;

- The Islamic Calendar and the Universal Time System.

Second axis : Applied and proposed astronomical Systems

1. Definition of a “Calendar” : If people are accustomed to defining a calendar as a means of locating a certain day in the course of time, does the afore conception apply to the Islamic Calendar, as well ?

2. The importance of the Islamic Calendar for religious celebrations and order of Moslem life.

3. Does the notion that Moslems all over the world are one Oummah incite Moslems to have a unified Islamic Calendar (i.e. the same beginning of the month in the whole world) ?

4. The Islamic Calendar and the calculation of the crescent visibility.

5. Unifying calendars projects :

  • Conjunction before sunset, and moonset after sunset, in Makkah, and the beginning of the month, in the entire world, is the next day (Um Al Qura Calendar) ;
  • Conjunction before dawn in the far east, (East of Kiribati Islands in the Pacific), and the beginning of the month, in the entire world, is the same (this project is derived from the Libyan Method) ;
  • Conjunction before 12:00 UT, and the start of the month, in the entire world, is the next day (Abderrazik/Shaukat project).

6. Bi-zonal Calendars projects :

- The dividing line is the meridian of point east of the crescent visibility zone, (no transfer of visibility), the beginning of the month is the next day in the western region, and the day after in the eastern (Al Qodah Project) ;

- The American continent on the one hand, and the rest of the world on the other, with a calculation formula for each region (a project that avoids starting a month when sighting is impossible). Conjunction before 12:00 UT for America, and before dawn in Makkah, for the rest of the continents, the month starts on the following day, for every region (Guessoum project) ;

- The dividing line is longitude 20° west, with the crescent visibility from a place on the ground, in each region (a project that avoids starting a month when sighting is impossible), the month starts on the following day, for every region (Odeh project, called Universal Hijri Calendar).

Third axis: Calendar appropriateness

1. The month starts after conjunction.

2. The crescent visibility, somewhere in the world.

3. A crescent sighting calls for the start of a new month, whatsoever.

4. No month beginning when sighting is impossible (Is there a contradiction between this requirement and the second condition on the visibility ?)

5. The crescent visibility calculation, which can determine the appropriateness level of the Islamic Calendar, with indicating criteria that correspond of the five levels of vision (Odeh methodology) :

  • naked eye,
  • naked eye with the use of optical means, to locate the crescent moon,
  • use of optical instruments,
  • inability to see the setting crescent moon after sunset,
  • Impossible sighting; no moon over the horizon after sunset.

6. Adopting objective means to opt for the Best Calendar