The Hilal Committee Toronto was introduced in the early 1970s by an honourable and eminent scholar of Toronto, Khalil Sufi. He still serves as the Chairperson of the Committee in Toronto and Vicinity in the company of many other intellectual scholars. It was set up to erase confusion among Muslim Communities about the events of the calendar.
This massive confusion between the committees was based on the beginning of the Islamic Months and its holidays. This includes Ramadan and the two Eids and the confusion that arises with declaring their dates. This is when the procedures in the Quran about moon sighting is at stake, and people start questioning the authenticity of the Calendar.
Many great Scholars and other influential Islamic representatives from different mosques and Islamic centres across Toronto and Vicinity have continued to be a part of this planning committee. The members of the committee to take part in curating the Islamic Calendar according to confirmed sightings and parameters of the Hilal Committee Toronto.
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A. What Is The Need For Hilal Committee Toronto
Islamic rules were created with ease and simplicity and not any sort of scientific explanation or logical calculations that support it. This was done so that people from all races could easily cope up and adapt to the Islamic way of life. Similarly, to easily identify the lunar months and sightings, the Hilal Committee Toronto was established.
For instance, keeping fasts for a complete 30 days in the month of Ramadan is an obligation on all Muslims in Toronto and around the world. The start of the month of Ramadan is based on the confirmed and verified sighting of hilal, also known as the crescent Moon and not any scientific calculations.
The Islamic Lunar Calendar is based on the hilal (crescent moon) sightings, and months are marked based on the hilal ( crescent moon) for that month. Just like the Gregorian Calendar, The Islamic Calendar, or Hijri Calendar has 12 months. Let us take a look at the months in order of their occurrence
1) Month of Muharram
2) Month of Safar
3) Rabi al-awwal
4) Rabi al-thani
5) Jumada al-awwal
6) Jumada al-thani
11) Zul Qidah
12) Zul Hijjah.
The Hilal Committee Toronto has centres for convenience all over Canada and other parts of the United States and the Caribbean. These centres gather information, verify and provide sightings about the hilal (crescent moon). The sightings in the United States, as well as the Caribbean, are based on the time zone of Toronto.
A lot of difference in opinion arises when moon sighting is concerned. Click here to read this interesting article on Moon Sighting Controversy based on science.
B. Procedures For Moon Sighting
All the main decisions regarding the sightings of the Hilal (crescent moon) are taken at the Markaz-ul-Islam. According to them, If the Hilal (crescent moon) is not sighted at Edmonton, other Masjids and Islamic Centers of Toronto are reached out to. Why
Members of the Hilal Committee Toronto get together every month to decide on the local sightings of the moon and to make decisions on the upcoming events of that month. Once the hilal (crescent moon) is sighted, it is verified and confirmed by other people, and then a final result is declared.
C. Role of Astronomical Data In Moon Sighting
Astronomical Data also plays a very vital role in the procedure for moon sighting. Even if the final result is based on the sighting of the hilal (crescent moon) with the naked eye, the probability of the moon occurring is established based on these astronomical calculations.
It was Hazrat Umar who first bought using astronomical data into practice and ever since the Hilal Committee of Toronto’s establishment, this method has continued to be used even now. Hazrat Umar considered the Hijri or The Start of the Prophets Journey along with his companion from Mecca to Madinah.
With the right astronomical facts and the expertise of the Hilal committee Toronto, we can expect even more precise event planning and an accurate Calendar.
D. Sightings Of The Hilal During The Time Ancient Prophets Or Sahaba (RA)
The Prophets or Sahaba (RA) were people who were enlightened of deen (religion of Islam) by the Holy Prophet (SAW) himself. However, according to the Hadiths (Stories on Prophets lives) and the Scriptures present today, we can see that they had different dates for Ramadan and Eid based on sightings in different countries.
According to one of the Hadith, A Sahaba named Kuraib (RA) narrated an incident where he travelled to Syria. While he was there, he spotted the hilal on Friday and started observing fasts from Saturday. After a month when he returned to Medina, he observed that the hilal sighting took place on a Saturday and that they observed fasts until they complete all 30.
This incident depicts the commandments of Allah on the sightings of Hilal in the Holy Quran. If Hilal Sightings are observed in your locality, you must start observing fasts and Mu’awiya.
E. Reasons why the Hilal Committee of Toronto and its sightings are considered the way of Quran
- The Hilal committee sightings are followed and practised by a majority of Muslims all over the world. Some major countries that have adopted this system are Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, and India.
- Hilal Sighting Method is a way of sunnah (way of the Prophets). In other words, this practice follows the norms of moon sighting in the Holy Quran and also provides accuracy since it is based on the variation of time zones.
- This system instils a sense of unity regionally and provides systematic planning of dates in that region.
F. Methods Of Establishing A declaration For Moon Sighting on the 29th Day
All Islamic months are either 29 or 30 days in length and not 28 or 31. Sighting of the moon is not necessary once a month completes 30 days. It is by default considered that the current month is over and the next month has started immediately.
However, the sighting of the moon is necessary on the 29th of every lunar month to predict the arrival of the next month. If the moon is seen on the 29th, it is to be taken that the lunar month was only 29 days long and that the next month has begun.
On the 29th of Zul Hajj, Shabaan, Ramadan, and Shawwal, the moon sighting takes place on the 29th since these months can be 29 days long. Also, other reasons like fasting, pilgrimage, and sacrifices are based on the sighting.
G. Some Important Dates In The Islamic Lunar Calendar
The Islamic/Hijri Lunar Calendar has been in practice since before time and is used to determine religious dates and occurrences based on the Hilal sighting. The Hilal Committee of Toronto and Vicinity curates a well-planned calendar based on the Hilal sightings and accurate Astronomical Calculations.
Some of the most important dates in the Islamic/Hijri Calendar are:
- On the 1st of Muharram Month, Muslims celebrate the beginning of the Islamic New Year.10th of Muharram is acknowledged as the Day of Ashurah.
- 12th of Rabi al-awwal is the day of the Birth of Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W).
- 15th of Shabaan is celebrated as Laylatul Qadr (Night of Emancipation).
- 1 Ramadan marks the beginning of the month of Ramadan and the 30 fasts that Muslims keep to mark the presence of the Holy Quran.
- 1st of Shawwal is celebrated as Eid ul-Fitr (Marks the end of the 30 Fasts).
- 9th of Zul Hijj is Celebrated as the Day of Hajj (Pilgrimage).
- 10th of Zul Hijj is Celebrated as the Eid ul-Adha also known as the Day of Sacrifice.
H. Common FAQ’s And Doubts About Hilal Sightings And The Hilal Committee Toronto
1. Who makes the Heads of the Hilal Committee Toronto?
- Sh. Khalil Sufi is the Chairman of the Hilal Committee Toronto and Vicinity. A bunch of highly educated scholars assists him.
- Kasim Ingar, Aslam Kachwi, and Yusuf Badat are the acting deputy chairpersons of the Hilal Committee Toronto.
2. Who are the members of the Hilal Committee Toronto?
A large number of Islamic Centers and Masjids are a part of this great committee. Around 80 Centers exist only in Canada, and the count keeps on increasing. Any centre or masjid willing to be a part of the Hilal Committee Toronto can reach out to the respective Coordinators.
Some of the members in Toronto are Afzal Academy, Albanian Mosque, Al-Khair Community Center, Alnadwa Islamic Center, etc.
3. Why do the decisions of the Hilal Committee Toronto get delayed sometimes?
One of the major reasons why the decisions get delayed sometimes is the difference in Time Zones between cities and provinces. These decisions are also influenced by climatic conditions where the hilal cannot be sighted with a naked eye even if it is there in the sky. In conditions like the results are declared by the Hilal Committee Toronto on the Eve of Eid.
4. When does Hilal usually appear?
After the new moon, as and when the moon moves further, a crescent-shaped moon is visible which is known as Hilal. The visibility of this crescent-shaped Hilal is when the Hilal is said to be sighted.
5. Why should the Hilal sighting of Saudi Arabia not be believed?
The Hilal sightings of Saudi Arabia have been incorrect a couple of times before. For instance, they once issued a declaration that said that Eid was on August 31 Thursday making the 30th the last day of Ramadan. They did so when they mistook planet Saturn for Hilal whereas the hilal was seen on the eve of Tuesday 29th was the last day of Ramadan. This incident took place in the Hijri Year of 1432.
Many such inconveniences occurred with the Hilal sighting in Saudi Arabia; therefore, a majority of people find it unreliable.
6. Why is Conjunction (Birth of New Moon) not used as a basis for starting the month instead of the crescent moon?
Conjunction takes place between the duration of 24 hours; therefore, we can conclude that keeping it as a basis for starting the month only leads to more confusion in planning the Hijri Calendar.
7. Can the Crescent Moon be predicted accurately using calculations?
Some theories say that the birth of the new moon or the crescent moon can be predicted within a hundredth of a second. Some people who put this theory into practice encountered many errors, and thus it can be concluded that accurate prediction of Crescent Moon (Hilal) is not possible.
8. Is sighting the Astronomical New Moon (Invisible Moon) possible using a Telescope?
The sighting of a planet’s movements is far easier than that of the moon. The moon’s movements are affected by many changing factors and thus sighting the invisible moon is out of the question.
9. Similar to that of the sun, does the moon rise in the east too?
Not exactly the east but the moon rises from the North East and sets in the South West.
10. Is Astronomy forbidden in Islam?
This is a misconception that rose at a time when Astrology and Astronomy were considered one combined topic. Astrology is the study of planets, stars, and other celestial bodies while Astrology is the study of the effect that all these celestial factors have on human beings.
Therefore we can conclude that Astronomy is an accepted concept in Islam while Astrology is forbidden.
The main motto behind the establishment of this committee was to help clear confusions, provide more Information about the hilal (crescent moon), to create a well planned Islamic Calendar, and to provide unity among local Muslim communities and their celebrations.
The Hilal Committee Toronto has their official website that reaches out to the people with the latest update and information. It also answers the public’s queries and people who observe any kind of sightings can contact them on their site to know more.
Hope to have you covered on all the things you needed to know about the Hilal Committee Toronto.
Happy Moon Sighting!