Moon politics dampens Id spirit | india | Hindustan Times
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Moon politics dampens Id spirit

india Updated: Oct 25, 2006 01:24 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan
Highlight Story

POLITICS OVER sighting of Id moon today landed the entire Muslim community in a piquant situation.

Moon committees, which were unanimous in their decision on Monday evening to celebrate Id on October 25, mysteriously changed the stand after midnight and said the festival would be celebrated on Tuesday itself. There was a tussle between mullahs and people with scientific temper on the issue, which finally led to sharp division in the community.

The central moon committee here had issued statement on Monday evening that moon was not sighted and now Id would be celebrated on October 25. But the committee, according to highly placed sources, backtracked under pressure from Deoband and made fresh announcement in Lucknow at 3 am.

Committee’s general secretary Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahli told Hindustan Times that confirmation about the moon even from some places in Uttar Pradesh reached quite late and he had to change the statement late in the night. Rashid said he tried to contact the Shia Ulema to apprise them of the changes but in vain. Significantly, the Barielvis did not celebrate Id on Tuesday.

Vice chairman of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and prominent Shia cleric Dr Kalbe Sadiq said, “It was the result of clash of ego among the Muslim ulema (clerics)”.

Dr Sadiq had announced nearly a month ago that astronomically Id moon would be sighted on October 24 leading to the festival the next day. This, however, did not go down well with traditional mullahs.

The late night “Chand Dekha Gaya” (moon was sighted)-operation in Delhi, Deoband and Lucknow was probably aimed at scuttling Dr Sadiq’s announcement.

A highly upset Dr Sadiq told HT that clerics were not ready to accept changes.
“Ulema ki aankhe der mein khulengi” (the eyes of clerics will open late), Dr Sadiq said. While pointing out that it was easy to calculate appearance of moon scientifically, Dr Sadiq said traditionalists were unwilling to get into the computer age. However, he said it was a matter of a few years.

Once the community’s new generation was fully acclimatised to computers (modern knowledge), moon sighting would disappear, he said adding it was shocking to see countrywide division of the community on Eid.

During the last few years, Dr Sadiq had been making desperate efforts to scientifically mould the community on Id moon issue so that the festival date could be announced at least one month in advance but in vain due to rigidity on the part of mullahs.

Dr Sadiq said before leaving for Kenya during Ramzan he had told Khalid Rashid that Eid moon could be sighted in “extreme south of India” a day earlier.

The first report came from Mysore on Monday evening. Dr Sadiq said moon was sighted all over India only October 24.  He said the situation would improve only when the community would go by “ilm” (education) and astronomical calculations were time-tested in this connection.  People were in a delimma due to the confusion.