Did the Sultan mislead us by starting Ramadhān on Friday? (Part 1) By Shakir Akorede

Deep-dive fact-finding research on controversies surrounding the commencement of Ramadhān 1441 AH in Nigeria.

I cringe at writing this but the need to dig to the bottom of the misconceptions regarding the commencement of Ramadhān on Friday, April 24, 2019, would not allow me to shy away from this dire religious responsibility.

Immediately the Sultan announced that the moon was sighted on Thursday evening, marking the start of Ramadhān in Nigeria, the volume and spate of “copy and paste” Arabic articles that bombarded my timeline was just too much for me. As if it wasn’t enough to rely wholeheartedly on the Sultan’s announcement to kickstart the holy month.

Was it truly impossible to have sighted the moon on Thursday? Is there any consensus of astronomers concluding so?

In this post, I will take one of the Arabic texts shared virally as a rebuttal of the possibility to sight the moon on Thursday, and conduct a basic analytical study of it. Since the piece is in Arabic, this post will have to alternate between Arabic and English, bringing out the writer’s arguments for interrogation in a peace-meal comparative manner... read more