TOWARDS MOON-SIGHTING, NOT MOON-FIGHTING IN NIGERIA

They ask you about the crescents. Say: they are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in the affairs of men and for pilgrimage (Q. al-Baqarah, 2:189)

Abdullah bin Umar narrates that Allah’s Messenger once mentioned Ramadan and said: Do not begin the fast until you sight the moon, and do not break the fast (at the end of Ramadan) until you see it. If the new moon is concealed from you, then work out when it should be (TMH Al-Muwatta, 18. 1. 1)

While thanking Allah (SWT), the Praiseworthy, Who has made us to witness and experience the holy month of fasting, Ramadan, for the year 1435 A.H. / 2014 C.E., the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) felicitates with Muslims all over the world and in Nigeria in particular, on the successful attainment of the last part of the blessed month.

 The Council also sincerely apologises to the Muslim ummah in Nigeria for the unusual confusion and miscommunication that trailed the commencement of the holy month. Despite all the efforts made towards avoiding such a confusion, complete success was not attained. The appropriate lessons have however been learnt.

It is in this respect that the NSCIA wishes to remind all Muslims who know, and notify those who do not, that there is an established structure for moon-sighting in Nigeria. Due to its significance and technicalities, the Council has a National Moonsighting Committee under the leadership of an expert. The Committee is equipped with necessary equipment and technological gadgets that are relevant to the discharge of its assignment.

The membership of the Committee is drawn from various segments of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah, including:

1 Dr. Hafiz Wali             (CHAIRMAN) 08036009090.         Kaduna
2 Shaykh  Tahir Bauchi 08032103733, 08033058201.   Bauchi
3 Shaykh  Kariballah Kabara 08035537382        Kano
4 Muhammad Nasir AbdulMuhyi 08065687545,  08024333381. Jos
5 Shaykh  Habeebullahi Adam Abdullahi Al Ilory 08023126335.   Lagos/ Ilorin
6 Alh. Abdul Hamid Oyebode (Surveyor Gen.). 08037063923.     Offa/Ilorin
7 Prof. Z I  Oboh Oseni (Chief Imam of Auchi ) 08033574431.       Auchi
8 Shaykh  AbdurRahman Ahmad. 08023141752        Lagos/Ilorin
9 Prof.  J. M. Kaura 08067050641          Sokoto
10 Shaykh  Mustapha  Ajisafe ( Imam of Osogbo) 08035740333.       Yorubaland/Oshogbo
11 Shaykh Abdur-Razzaq Ishola 08023864448, 08051111063. Lagos
12 Shaykh Abdur-Rasheed  Mayaleeke 08035050804.    IJEBU ODE
13 Mal. Simwal Usman Jibrin 08033140010.   Kaduna
14 Alh Yusuf Nwoha 08030966956      Oweri
15 Mallam Nurudeen Ibraheem  
16 Prof. Usman El-Nafaty. (DEPUTY CHAIRMAN) 08062870892.  Bauchi
17 Dr K. K. Oloso 08023098661    Ibadan
18 Mal. Ibrahim Zubairu Salisu  
19 Alh.  Shakir Ettu  Lagos
20 Prof. Muritala Salawu 08037229766. Abuja/Ibadan
21 Dr. Ganiy I. Agbaje, FNIS 08028327463, 08057752980.  ABUJA
22 Muhammad Yaseen Qamaruddeen 08055322087, 08099516362 Lagos
23 Mal. Abdullahi Shuaib (Secretary) 08023037478.   Lagos
24 Usman Mahmud (Desk Officer / Expert) 08034540120. ABUJA/Kano

However, membership of the Committee is not exclusive to the above-listed personalities. The NSCIA expects people with requisite technical and demonstrable knowledge of moon-sighting to indicate their interests to the Secretary General, NSCIA.  It is also helpful for such persons to list their areas of expertise. We intend to have at least a competent and commited member in each of the Senatorial Zone of the Country.

The National Moonsighting Committee will advise the President-General of the NSCIA (The Sultan) on the commencement and conclusion of Ramadan or sighting of Ramadan and Shawwal crescents. The DEPUTY(The Shehu of Bornu) AND STATE VICE PRESIDENT GENERAL (in the North,usually the Senior-most EMIR) and the Secretary-General are available to connect any Muslim informant with appropriate member of the National Moon Sighting Committee for verification and appropriate advice to The President-General.

When an informed Muslim sights a new moon, therefore, (s)he should call any member of the Committee close to him/her who will ask him/her a series pertinent questions These may include i). time the moon was sighted, ii). Position of the crescent relative to where the Sun sets iii) Altitude of the crescent above the horizon, iv) Orientation of the crescent, v) Conditioon of the sky at the time of the sighting (e,g, clear, cloudy, rainy). Our brothers and sisters in Islam are urged to direct their observations, notices and enquiries on the crescent to members of the National Moonsighting Committee who are officially equipped to verify claims.

It is on the backdrop of the foregoing that the NSCIA announces that in line with the Qur'anic verse and the tradition of the Prophet (SAW) cited above, as Ramadan draws to its close, any information on sighting the crescent (of Shawwal) should be conveyed to the National Moonsighting Committee so that the President-General of the NSCIA, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, may pronounce the end of fasting.

IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT THE OLD (Ramadan) moon will set just before sunset in Nigeria on Saturday, 26 th of July 2014. The new astronomic moon would be born few minutes before midnight of that Saturday. CONSEQUENTLY, THE SEARCH FOR SHAWWAL MOON ON SATURDAY THE 26th of July is as traditionally done. The crescent can be sighted in Nigeria on SUNDAY with optical instruments (or with some difficulties) with naked eyes. Any claim of sighting a moon that is yet to be born is not only false or mistaken but also incorrect.Appropriate announcement will be made by the President-General ON THE ADVICE OF THE NATIONAL MOON -SIGHTING COMMITTEE.

Once again, the NSCIA congratulates the Muslim Ummah on the auspicious period of Ramadan and wishes all Nigerians happy 'Idul Fitr in advance. Many happy returns of the holy month! Let us PRAY and WORK for restoration of peace, security and brotherhood in our potentially great Country.

“Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector, help us against those who stand against faith” (Q. Al-Baqarah, 2:286).

Signed
Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede
Secretary-General, NSCIA
For and on behalf of the NSCIA