Fawad Chaudhry Argues to Replace Ruet-e-Hilal Committee With a Scientific Panel

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has stated that he intends to disband the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee that is tasked with the sighting of the moon for Islamic months.

He plans on sending a summary to the federal cabinet to abolish the committee and the final decision will be taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The minister said he had constituted a scientific panel to replace the committee working under Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman.

He said the panel would consist of three scientists, and a member each from the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) and Pakistan Meteorological Department.

They would prepare a ten-year Islamic calendar that will not require the physical sighting of the moon.

“This will end the yearly controversy surrounding moonsighting, especially on Eids. However, the government will not bind anyone to follow the calendar,” he said.

Fawad said he had utter respect for Mufti Muneeb but didn’t agree with his way of moon sighting. However, he is expecting a strong reaction from religious groups but said the decision to be taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan would prevail.

The minister argued that the way of moon sighting in various Islamic schools of thought was different.

“Imam Hambal supports physical sighting of the moon while Imam Shafi recommends scientific ways for it,” he added.

Chaudhary said the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee uses a telescope for physical sighting besides seeking help from Suparco.

He argued that Maulana (Mufti Muneeb) could also use a satellite instead of an old-fashioned telescope for this purpose.

Note that according to the stats presented before the National Assembly, an amount of Rs. 3.06 million was spent on moon sighting for Muharram, Ramadan, Eid ul Fitr, and Eidul Adha last year. The Ruet-e-Hilal committee members also receive heavy pay cheques throughout the year for the very same purpose.

‘Rein In Ministers’

Fawad’s announcement of abolishing Ruet-e-Hilal Committee attracted a strong reaction from Chairman Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman who asked the Prime Minister to ‘rein in’ his ministers.

Mufti Muneeb said Fawad’s comments were his personal matter but he should refrain from making such comments against religious scholars and misquoting history.

“Who knows … one of them might also have a role in your [Fawad] appointment.”

He said Mr. Chaudhary lacked the knowledge of how the system worked and asked the premier to control his passionate ministers.

  • I agree with chaudhry on this matter. When we can have exact location of moon with scientific equipment. Than why we need ruhat committee.

    • This country can’t be run with logic my brother. So any person who talks logical usually faces criticism of masses.

    • The Reason being because it is not a matter of moon positioning, to see with the naked eye is what is the method according to the Sunnah. Telescope is an invention of science which the religious community uses – so they are not against technology, however, it is a matter of following the principle. The only reason there are disputes in this country is because a group of people always want to follow the moon sightings of countries like Saudi Arabia whilst they themselves remain in Pakistan.

      • So why do we follow the scientific clock while deciding prayer timings? Why doesn’t the mulvi go outside five times calculate the position of the sun to find out the prayer time? Its a matter of following principle.

      • Bro, A group of people does not want to be part of other countries but pakistan, as they have sacrificed more that any part of pakistan for this country, The truth is mufti muneeb does not except the their witnesses of moon sighting when presented. He has his own decision making process like a dictator. and please just see the whole world as around 95% of the world announced to have the first fast on 6th but here its mufti muneeb who says NO, it would be on 7th May 2019. He is such a culprit.

    • Agree with him , i highly criticise fawad sahab for being the most illiterate ones among the so called LOTAs but this is right thinking direction for moon sightings as even when the committee receives heavy cheques throughout the year for this specific purpose on top of other expenses despite all these efforts for the moon sightings mr. Populzai always differs from the rest of the country and doesnt even bother to present any evidences. What benefit this committee is providing anyways when they cant stop Populzai and the crew from spreading divisions. What kind of nation is this which never unites on a single matter..

  • I think there are many other things can be done by Ministry of Science and Technology.. I dont know why they always try to interfere in religious matter?

  • Freed from the chains of his previous job as ‘His Master’s Voice’ Fawad Chaudhry is finally making sense.

  • ASAK, firstly, sighting moon with naked eye is not what ruet-e-hilal does, they still use cannon like telescope which is invention of science, if they can make prayer time table for the whole year based on solar calendar then why not lunar calendar. Give me one reason moon sighted in Jakarta (Indonesia) can not be accepted in Perth (Sydney) when the time of sunset in Jakarta and Perth is same. Secondly, before independence (1947) India Pakistan and Bangladesh was one country and one moon, after 1947 separation became two regions East Pakistan – West Pakistan and India from here on moon sighted in East Pakistan was acceptable to West Pakistan but it was not accepted by India. Later in 1971 when East and West Pakistan became Pakistan and Bangladesh now none of the three countries want to accept the moon sighted in other region. Why ? any explanation please.

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