Many ladies were also present and they were provided with separate hall with visual presentation.
Incidentally, the “Urji Oonil Qadeem” the last visble pase of the moon of Shawaal was seen around 0500 hrs on that day and many delegates, who reached Chennai before Fajr, witnessed the same.
Br. Abdul Jaleel from Coimbatore presided over and introduced various orators before inviting them to present respective topics.
A visual presentation of the movements of Sun, Moon, Earth and how conjunction, eclipses take palce were shown.
Then, Br Tahir Saifudeen from Ramanathapuram started the seminar and highlighted the necessity of unique error-free calendar for the mankind and also illustrated the unique features of the Lunar Calendar.
Dr. Mohamed Ali, Formerly Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies, International Islamic University, Malaysia was invited to present the main paper in Tamil on “When does Hijri day start according to Quran and Hadees”.
He said that Almighty Allah never used “hilaal” in His Book and instead “ahillah” the plural form was used in 2:189 implying us to look for the phases of the moon and not just one “hilaal” as is being practiced by the majority of muslims.
He also said that the Bedouins in the hills of Taif, Saudi Arabia still watch the entire phases of the moon and they start the month correctly.
He explained about International Date Line in brief, as this topic has been earmarked for another orator.
He established that the day starts with Fajr by the following points:
1) Quoting 17:78 & 17:79, he informed all that prayers start with mid-day (Zuhar) till darkness of the night.
2) Lailathul Qadar does not end till Fajr. Surah Qadar also says about the end of the day.
3) 36:40 clearly teaches us that night will never outstrip the day
4) Fajr starts when “black thread and white thread gets visible
5) 2:238 order us to be steadfast with “Salathul Wusta” (Mid-prayer) . Nearly 40 reporters including Aysha, Hafsa, Ali, Ibn Masood (RA) has explained that Asr is the mid-prayer quoting the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) . If Asr has to be the mid-prayer, the day should start at Fajr.
6) In majority of the masjids, the prayer timings chart displayed has Fajr as the first prayer. Almighty Allah brings out the truth in one way or the other.
8) It is well known that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him ) used to start Ithikaaf by Fajr and not before Magrib. He ( Peace Be Upon Him) came out of Ithikaaf only after finishing fajr as well as Eid prayers which clearly shows that the day starts with Fajr and we have to seek the Lailathul Qadar from dawn onwards.
9) Witr: Prophet ( Peace Be Upon Him ) has taught us to end the day’s prayer with Witr and that Witr has to be prayed between Isha and Fajr.
10) When Ibn Umar (RA) was asked about night prayers, he (RA) told the person to pray in two units and when Fajr approaches to end with one.
Dr. Mohamed Ali also explained about Laila & Nahar by quoting 19:10 & 3:41 where Allah SWT asks Zakhariya (AS) not to speak for three nights (Layaalin) – 19:10 & In 3:41 he (AS) was asked not to speak for three days (Ayyamin).
He also differentiated between Fajr & Subuh and said that the correct word for Fajr is “Dawn”.
He also explained 9:36 & 9:37 and said that changing the months fixed by Almighty Allah is Kufr. He urged all to observe the creation of the sky , earth and heavenly bodies and quoting Quran said that it was Ibrahim (AS) who started observing the stars, moon and sun. He ended his speech by reciting 3:189.
Dr Koyakutty Farooqui, the renowned scholar and former Professor, RUAC, Farooke, from Calicut, Kerala was the next to present the topic “How to start the month?”.
He explained further about 9:36 & 37 and said that Almighty Allah has fixed the number of months as 12 on the day of creation itself and playing around with changing the months is kufr.
He explained the uniqueness of the Lunar Calendar and why it is error-free. Jews were following a Calendar in which the months have 29 and 30 days in alternating order and the Prophet ( Peace Be Upon Him ) prohibited it and said that the month is 29 or 30 and that it is not in alternate basis. Two consecutive months can be of 29 or 30 days.
Dr. Koyakutty then explained 10:05 and said that the stars are meant for direction, sun for the day and moon is for denoting date.
Quoting 2:189, he further told about various phases of moon and explained in detail about Urji Oonil Qadeem (36:39). He explained the hadees “ Soomu li Ruyiathihi…. “ in detail and said that “Gumma Alaikkum” denotes conjunction and not the clouds as is being misinterpreted by the majority.
He also explained 3:189 and said that many still believe that moon rises in the West. He said that Mashriq means rising and Magrib means setting. He also quoted Imam Suyuqi.
He further clarified that the hilaal which remains on the western horizon for more than 60 minutes belongs to the 2nd day. He clarified that the sayings of Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has to be taken in the right perspective. He explained how shadow was used earlier for prayer timings and when watches and clock were invented, all shifted
to the new gadgets.
He also explained how Jummah is prayed within 24 hours throughout the world and about Youmal Arafat.
Br. Abdul Rasheed Salafi from Salem was the next presentator and the topic was “How Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) observed the moon ”. He said that the word Observatory originated from the Arabic word “Absarthu” which means “to observe”.
He stressed on why astronomical calculation is important and quoting 10:71, explained Nuh (AS) incident and highlighted that “Gumma Alaikum” also means “in doubt”. “Ahillah” was explained quoting 2:189.
He said that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as well as the Sahaba (RA) were very keen on observing the phases of the moon from the very beginning and they (RA) gave more importance in observing Shabaan so that Ramdaan can be started on the correct date.
He said that when microphones and speakers were used in the beginning, many objected to it saying that it is the Shaitaan who is amplifying the sound and when Adhaan was given they got convinced that no Shaitaan is inside the system.
He also explained 55:05.
With Power point presentation, the audience was taught how to read the phases of moon. He explained the waxing phases, waning phases, Full moon, Conjunction and also the Urji oonil Qadeem. Full moon is called “Badr” and Conjunction as “Meehaq”.
Hilaal means the first crescent and that it derived from “halla”, which is the first cry of a new-born baby.
He explained that on 7th day, the half moon will be overhead at sunset. We can find the full moon when it is exactly overhead at mid-night. On 16th day at sunrise, moon can be seen on the western horizon. On 21 st day it is again a half moon. On the next day, the straight line curves in a bit and the corners develop into distinct horns. If this happens on a Monday, the next Monday will be the first day of the new month.
Urji Oonil Qadeem is the last visible phase of the moon and it can be seen on the last but one day of the month, around Fajr. If it is seen on Saturday, the new month starts on Monday at Fajr.
Br. Abdul Latheef Umari, scholar and net-working Engineer from Saudi Arabia, who has done research in Astronomy was the next orator in Tamil.
He started with quoting 2:189 and insisted that only the Lunar Calendar has been prescribed by Almighty Allah for mankind for religious as well as for civil purposes.
With Power Point Presentation, he explained in detail about Lunar, Solar and Luni-solar calendar. Lunar year is 354.367 days and Solar is of 365.242199 days and that Luni-solar calendar though based on moon has to be adjusted every two years adding one more month, making it of 13 months. Gregorian Calendar which is being used world over is also waiting for adjusting the errors accumulated in the past.
So, he insisted that the Lunar Calendar as prescribed in Quran is the only Calendar which is error-free. He showed a newspaper clipping from “The Hindu” dated 22 nd Feb 1953 in which the then PM of India, Jawaharlal Nehru asking the astronomers and scientists to come out with an error-free National calendar.
He narrated the history of various calendars and how Jewish (Hebrew) calendar and all other calendars are unsuitable for mankind. He further explained how mankind migrated from Arabia to various directions. Some reached near New Zealand which is around 9 hours time difference from Arabia and some reached near Canada which is about 15 hours time difference from Arabia.
He told how Almighty Allah imbibed the knowledge of time on everyone in such a way that wherever they reached, the number of days in a week remains 7 and the number of month as 12 and that a place in the world developed so that the day in the world changes to the next at 12:00 hrs (noon) at that particular place. This is the present International Date Line. This IDL was there from the beginning of mankind, though it was recognized by International community only in 1822 due to the confusion sailors had by the gain/loss of a day when crossing this place.
After extensive research by Europeans, the imaginary vertical line running from North pole to South cutting across this place became 180* Longitude and the meridian exactly opposite which passes through the Old Observatory at Greenwhich , near London became the 0* longitude (GMT or UT). The date changes at 00:00 hrs GMT/UT at London . The standard time in Saudi Arabia is 3 hours ahead from UT and hence the day changes at Fajr (dawn) at around 03:00 hrs in Saudi Arabia.
He ended his oration by reciting and explaining 73:20
Br. Zubair Firdousi from Ooty gave a nice lecture in simple Urdu without compromising the rhythmic poetic beauty of the language.
He first quoted 2:185 and explained what is shahada mentioned in this verse. He said that a thing has to be observed first, then it has to be understood clearly in the mind and then only shahada be given. In the same way, the month has to be witnessed by observing the phases of the moon and then witness the month and then start fasting on the correct date.
He step-by step developed his theory by quoting 2:185, 2:189, 9:36, 17:12, 25:61, 31:29, 36:39-40, 55:5, 75:08-09, 17:78, 6:77, 6:96, 7:54, 10:05, 12:04, 13:02, 14:33, 16:12
He also explained the Khuraib (RA) incident and quoting great scholars convincingly established why Ibn Abbas (RA) rejected Khuraib’s statement.
Capt. Farhat N Siddiqi from Saudi Arabia, the mariner with vast experience in Navigation and Astronomical calculation was the next orator and he gave his presentation in simple English.
He explained how Astronomy was developed in the deserts by muslims. He explained that majority of the stars have Arabic names and explained about the Nautical Almanac, Navigational stars and how the mariners are trained to find out the directions, Longitude, Latitude etc with the stars, sun and moon as reference points, without using any modern gadgets like GPS, Navtex etc.
He told the audience that the data given in the Almanac, published by the Naval Department of various countries tallys with the phases of the moon and moon age and hence we can be certain that Lunar Calendar is also the scientifically proven error-free one.
He also explained why the visibility charts now coming out is full of error. He mentioned about the Visibility chart made by Dr Khalid Shaukat for Ramdaan 1429, which divided the Ka’bah into two, one half on the fasting side and another on the non-fasting side.
He ended his speech urging the muslims to continue the heritage of observing the moon as has been done by our fore fathers.
Capt. Siddiqi’s informative speech was translated into Tamil by Dr Mohamed Ali in his usual enjoyable way adding his own anecdotes but not omitting any of Capt. Siddiqi’s points.
Br. A.M.G. Masood of Chennai started his Tamil Oration with 2:185 & 2:189. He explained that Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) banned Astrology but encouraged Astronomy. He explained the hadees “ Soomu li Ruyiathihi…..” in detail and said that sight is not the criteria to start the month but it is the knowledge of the hilaal which counts.
He told how the Prophet ( Peace Be Upon Him) accepted the statement of the Bedouins when they said that the month has started. If seeing was compulsory, he ( Peace Be Upon Him) should not have accepted their statement.
Br Masood also explained that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as well as the Sahaba (RA) knew counting because if they do not know counting, they would not have been asked to do specific numbers of Zikr, after prayers and also in the morning. Many of them were also traders and naturally they knew calculations.
He established his contention by explaining how the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) found out the number of enemies at Badr by getting the information that 9 to 10 numbers of camel were slaughtered in the enemy camp and correctly estimated their number between 900 to 1000.
He further explained how shadow was used in early days and how watches and clocks replaced the straight rod used earlier to measure the length of the shadow.
He quoted the hadees reported by Asma (RA) about breaking the fast by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions (RA) when the sun got covered with clouds thinking that the day has ended. He asked if during the present time when all are having mobile phones and watches, will anyone, who insist on visibility of hilaal to start the month, break his fast before sun-set time just because the sun is overcast?
If astronomical calculations are Bid’ah, then giving Jummah oration in local language, praying Taraweeh in congregation for 29 or 30 day as well as giving Fitr zakaath with rice is also Bid’ah. Because, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) gave the orations only in Arabic and made it compulsory to give Fitr Zakkath with dates or wheat. He (Peace Be Upon Him) never gave it as rice. Br Masood wondered how all the learned men, who insist on literal meaning of hadeeths, are allowing rice to be given as Fitr Zakaath.
Night Prayers were prayed in congregation by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) only on 3 days.
Br. Abdul Kader Umari, the state orator of Jammiah Ahle Quran wa Hadees, started his oration in his powerful manner.
He explained in detail the hadees about Hilaal and said that the dua which people recite when they see the first hilaal is not an authentic one.
He explained about the rotation of the moon and earth by giving very simple, easy to understand examples and also explained about IDL.
He explained the verse “Rabbul Mashriqaini wa Rabbul Magribaini” and said that only at IDL two Mashriq as well as two Magrib exist.
He also explained how on one side of the IDL, people prayed Jummuah while people prayed Zuhar of Thursday on the other side simultaneously.
Due to time running short, he has to cut short his speech.
Br Abu Abdullah from Trichy who has been advocating for many years to depend on astronomical calculations to start the month on correct date was the last orator.
He quoted 2:183, 184 & 185. He urged the Ulemas to study Astronomy so that their misconceptions can be cleared and a suitable solution as per Quran and Hadees can be achieved at the earliest.
He also explained that the hadeeths have to be explained in such a way that no contradictions be there.
He explained how when ones husband passed away in a foreign country, the shariah requires the companion to come in person and inform about the death. Then only the Iddah started. But, now a days, within seconds, the message is conveyed and the Iddah of the widow starts immediately. No one goes by the literal meaning of the shariah.
He asked then why all are insisting on the literal meaning of Ruyiah in the hadees “Soomu li Ruyiathihi….”
He recalled how when prayer timings were introduced in old days, people resisted
by saying that it is against the Sunnah. But now all have accepted the watches and clocks.
He hoped that in near future, all will accept the astronomical calculations instead of insisting on the visibility of hilaal to start the month, which is not proper as the first hilaal will be seen only, after the day-part of the first day, on sun set.
Since, it was already 9:30 pm the seminar was winded up.
During the seminar, the book titled “Manitha Kulathin Calendar” (Calendar for Mankind) in Tamil published by the Hijra Committee of India was released by Br Mustafa Hassan from Mumbai and the first copy was handed over to Prof. Mohammed Alim Abdulla from Saudi Arabia.
Another book in Tamil “ When does the Hijri date begin….” written by Dr Mohamed Ali was also re-released by Br. Eruvadi P. Mohamed Sirajudeen and the first copy was handed over to Br.Advocate Imam Hussain, Madurai.
Dr Koyakutty Farooqi’s book in Malayalam “ Dinaarambom eppol?” (When does the day start?) published by the Hijra Committee of India was also released and the first copy was handed over to Br. Abdul Shukoor of Calicut .
An informative exhibition was arranged outside the main hall. A number of colourful banners showing the different phases of the moon, how to read the dates when on 7th day, Full moon, 16th day, 21st day and about Urji oonil Qadeem was displayed.
There were also tips on how to know before hand the number of days in the present month and when will be the first day of the coming month begin etc which enabled
all to start the month on correct day itself.
A few banners were very interesting.
One showed, a page from www.wikipedia. com which describes the Hebrew Calendar. It says that the Jews started their month only on sighting the first crescent and that too witnessed by two persons. It also says that the Jews started the day from sun-set. You can see this by clicking the below link : http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Hebrew_Calendar
Another one showed the visibility curve made by Dr Khalid Shaukat for Ramdaan 1429, in which the Ka’bah is divided into two, one half in the fasting side and the other on the Non-fasting side.
Over all the Seminar & Exhibition was well organized and well attended.