A group, the League of Imams and Alfas of South-West Nigeria (Rabitot-ul-Aimmah wal ‘Ulama), has said that this year’s Ramadan will begin on April 25. The group said its picking of Ramadan date for Muslims to begin fasting was not meant to disrespect or challenge the authority of the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’adu Abubakar III.
In a statement signed by the group’s Coordinator, Sheikh Muhammed Habibullah Adam EL-Ilory and two others, Assistant Coordinator, Sheikh Abdul Razzaq Abdul Azeez and Secretary, Moon Sighting Committee, Ustaz Nurudeen Ibrahim, the group insisted that that it had been the practice since the league was formed in 1964.
According to the group, the Holy Prophet, Muhammad (S.A.W), had said: “Begin fasting when you sight the crescent and end the fast when you sight the crescent. However, if the crescent is obscure (not visible), then complete 30 days of Sha‘ban.’ (Hadeeth).”
The statement reads: “The League of Imams and Alfas of South-West Nigeria (Rabitot-ul-Aimmah wal ‘Ulama) would like to inform the general public that Ramadan 1441/ 2020 commences on Saturday, April 25.
“This is based on the findings of Islamic Sharia complemented with astronomical calculations.
“Astronomically, the conjunction that leads to the termination of the month of Sha’ban 1441AH will occur on Thursday, April 23, (equivalent to 29th of Sha‘ban, 1441AH) at 3:26am in South-West Nigeria.
“Thus, leaving the Age of the Moon (A.O.M) i.e. period between conjunction time and the next Maghrib (sunset time 6:54pm) at 15hrs 28mins, which is only enough for sighting the Moon by a powerful telescope or Binocular provided the weather is suitable.
“It is also important to mention that the geocentric illumination for this expected new crescent is 00.50%, which will make sighting even with telescope still difficult.
“Whereas, moon sighting with naked eyes, is only possible when 17hrs – 23hrs elapse between conjunction time and the next Maghrib (sunset time).
“However, based on astronomical findings, Ramadan will end on Saturday, May 23. This is because the conjunction that will terminate the month of Ramadan 1441 will occur on Friday, May 22, at 6:38pm leaving the age of the Moon at Sunset (6:57pm) at +00H 21 mins (i.e. sighting is not possible on the day).
“Hence, the sighting of the crescent is only possible on Saturday, May 23, and Sunday, May 24, will be the official 1st day of Shawwal, 1441AH.”