The sighting of the Moon

The Sighting of the Moon

A quick review of the structure of the universe:

The space age which began in 1957 with the launch of the Russian Satellite Sputnik I, has greatly enriched the understanding of the solar system. There are nine planets of the Sun, four minor and five major. The minor planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mrs. The outer major planets are Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Jupiter and Plato. Our Earth is one tiny spec in the space with a restless atmosphere around it. And beneath it below its crusts, it has massive volcanic eruptions and earth quakes which create massive forces bearing their impact on it. Then there is also its continental drift, unnoticed but inexorably changing the world map.

Our universe consists of millions of galaxies and our Milky Way the galaxy in which our solar system is placed which has 100,000 million stars like our Sun. These are held together by gravity in the spiral Milky Way galaxy and the Milky Way galaxy is only one of millions of galaxies that can be observed through large telescopes. And the Momin has to consider where the journey of the Prophet SAWW in Meraj was made to (the seventh Heaven) and what was the destination of the journey in this universe of God, and where was Sidra- the tree of Jujube, on which Angel Gibrael Als lived (in the sixth Heaven). These questions are extremely mind bogging and cannot come in the frame of the mind trained to see only three dimensions around him. The fourth dimension the time he is going through without seeing it. But the cosmologist scientists say there are 11 dimensions to be reckoned with. So we know only that what God prefers to reveal.

On a clear night about 6000 stars can be seen from earth with naked eye. There are individual brighter stars and those in groups in constellation forms. And in this theatre of God our solar system rotates once round the centre of the Milky Way, every 200 million years – the Milky Way is not a round collection of stars but having projecting finger in directions of its choosing.

Our solar system consists of sun and nine planets with their moons and debris that orbit round it. In 1982 Russian astronomers estimated that 130 solar system similar to ours lie within the Milky Way. Our sun probably began to form 4600 million years ago. The orbiting planets somewhat later formed from the debris and perhaps it will take 5000 million years before the Sun will use up most of its hydrogen and will become a red giant star.

The discussion between the Momeneen

The other day on Wednesday 8th of September, 28th of Ramzan, after our star world renowned Zakir Aayetullah Aqeelul Gharvi had illuminated us with the meaning of the last three Aayat of Sura Dahr and what a talk these lectures have been for the whole month of Ramzan. He explained and elaborated this very Sura. I immediately inspired by this talk have updated my written article on Halal Risq a couple of days back, the original article was written sometime in March. It’s a different thing in the way of the writing of this article this time the Shamat-e Aamal - the thick and crude doing of the 17 judges, dragged them in, in the article fortheir biased judgement on the NRO and they were dealt with for equating all menareequal in the judgementverdict. They had the audacity to even refer to Quran in support of their argument. The Quran specifically says in Aayet 2,253 all men are not equal. And of all of them if a Qazi says so it is obvious his judgement will be tainted.

In contrast to them learned of the universities, take the example of our simplest Momin but here of the cheery but worried Momin Sayed Zafar Abbas, he is frantically explaining away on the phenomenon of the sighting of the Moon for Eid and doing his best to stage a single Eid in London, besides doing so many other things, more than the share of other Momeneen. But before I deal on this subject of moon sighting let me tell what an asset this Momin is for the Babul Murad Centre in London. And surely he has an edge over other Momeneen.

Then there is Momin Syed Vequar Hussain maintaining the centre, managing and collecting the funds, and rain or cold, he is always first at the centre to open it for prayer and Majlis. Then Maulana Zulqadar leads the Momeneen and he is credited to founding the Babul Murad, though apparently he has one responsibility of leading the prayers and holding meetings with the outsiders and looking after his library, but this Momin Zafar Abbas is all the time conducting and instructing. He is a Soze Khwan, a Nauha Khwan, a herald announcing of the programmes, and calling the Soze-o-Salam readers to present their Kalam, serving the Aftaar to the Momeneen, cooking the food in the kitchen, vacuum cleaning the floor and making odd announcements as required. But this centre is lucky to have beside him Momin Riyaz Bhaee who ensures that everyone has had the Aftaar and serves them on his quick feet and then in the end swallows quickly what food he should and readies the floor for the Majlis.

The fraternity aroused and enlivened by these Momeneen is spectacular so I would place them at a slightly higher pedestal than the other Momeneen. And this immediately disproves the judge’s premise that all men are equal. God bless these Momeneen. Only lagging behind in the schedules is the Maulana’s programme of announcing the list of the Musallah allocation to the Marhoomeen. I and my wife have deposited Hadaya – the sums as the tokens for the allocation of Musallah to the names of our Marhoomeen parents – may God elevate their stations, a year back and longer, but the souls of the Marhoomeen are still waiting to receive the beneficence of the Sawab to them because no Musallah is allocated as yet and no list is displayed in the mosque. Where it is meant to be and when it will appear contrary to the sects in Islam who belief no beneficence from the living reaches to the dead, we believe it does. And that’s why we are booking these Musallahs, allocating space to the praying in the name of the dead and his soul is being transferred blessing accruing from it. So these spectacular performances of different Momeneen are an additional earthly cause to disprove the judges that all men are equal. The Momin is advised to see my article or the Hub ‘Halal Risq’, on the Hub Pages.

The Moon

The Moon has been studied from the earth far too deeply and more than any other heavenly body in space. Since 1950 Space Probe began exploring Moon from close range. Then in July 1969 American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set his foot on the Moon. Its rocks have been collected from its various sites which show that the Moon is 3300 to 4400 million years old and the oldest rocks are 4600 million years old, which suggests the Moon was formed in the same manner as the rest of the solar system. Moon’s surface is pock marked by the impacts of the meteoroids some of which are 1000 Km across. The Moon has no atmosphere or weather, because its gravity is insufficient to hold any gases, consequently there is absence of sound and enormous difference between night and the day temperatures.

The Moon is the Earth’s satellite. It revolves round the Earth and every 29 ½ days and in this it passes through a complete cycle of the phases. The phase of the moon is that how much of its surface we can see, which is seen because of the reflection of the Sun’s light from its surface.The new Moon cannot be seen and then only a thin crescent is visible growing larger after the occurrence of the new moon. In the first quarter it is a perfect half moon, full moon comes a week later. This is waxing of the Moon. The Moon then wanes through the last quarter to the next new Moon. The Lunar month is 29 days and 13 hours. Lunar axial inclination is 6 ½%. In the interval that the Moon makes one orbit of the earth it also spins and makes one revolution on its axis, hence it always shows the same face to earth.

Sometimes the Moon passes exactly between the Earth and the Sun. When this happens there is total solar eclipse and for a few minutes the Sun’s bright disc is blotted out. And sometimes when during its orbit the Moon comes in the shadow of the earth that is the earth coming in between the Moon and the Sun there is lunar eclipse.

The Moon is making a counter clockwise, the anti-clockwise revolution round the earth that is it is going round the earth from East to the West direction when seen from the North Pole, like wise it will be seen to make a clock wise revolution when seen from the South Pole. I asked Paul Skidmore my friend and Chairman of the Pinner Philosophy Group on the face book: ‘Paul, Does the moon go round the earth anticlockwise?’ Here is what he replies:

“Dear Sayed, Looking at the earth – moon system from above the earth’s North Pole, the moon does revolve around the earth (more precisely around the centre of gravity of the earth-moon system) in an anticlockwise direction. This is the usual way of referring to the direction of revolution. If, however, you look at the system from above the earth’s South Pole the direction will be clockwise. Anticlockwise is dominant in the solar system with all the planets revolving anticlockwise around the sun and all the planets except Venus and Uranus rotating anticlockwise as well. Paul.”

And the New Moon would have occurred sometime earlier in the East as the evening falls after its 29th revolution and therefore if we hear of the moon having been sighted in one of the easterly positions to the observer’s position that is when he is in the west of the sighted position he can assure him the moon has appeared since 29 ½ days have passed. Given ideal condition of the clear sky the moon should be sighted first in the East. But the Sharaee condition of the Eid Moon sighting that satisfy the regional sighting will perhaps have the final say in the matter.


Sayed Athar Husain

Afkar-e Shia (Shia Thought)


September 9, 2010.


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