The Jeddah Astronomy Societyâ€™s mistake in sighting of the new
moon in Saudi Arabia has angered the many Muslim nations who followed suit and pronounced Tuesday as Eid al-Fitr wrongly.
According to the Fars News, The society had said that people actually saw the planet Saturn and not the crescent moon that marks the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal.
Hatem Auda, director of the National Institute for Astronomical and Geophysical Research, had said that
astronomical calculations by scientists of the institute noted that the first day of the Eid was Wednesday, August 31, making Tuesday, August 30 the last day of Ramadan for the Hijri year of 1432.
Various news agencies such as Al-Arabiya and Aljazeera have also reported that the planet Saturn has been mistaken for the Hilal (crescent moon), and this means that what was announced as the first day of Eid al-Fitr was supposed to be a day of fasting, rather than celebrations.
According to the Aljazeera report, the source of these problematic
Hilal-sighting is from Sudair, a region located approximately 150km North of the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The vice-president of Jeddah Astronomy Society reassured that it is impossible to view the Hilal with the naked eye.
Saudi government officials have reportedly apologized to their nation and said that they would pay Kaffarah (an amount of money paid as expiation for breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan) for the entire Saudi
While a number of Muslim countries like Iran announce the new crescent only on the basis of frequent sightings by the people, astronomy societies and clerics inside their borders, many others rely on the sightings done by Saudi Arabia and announcement of the Eid crescent by Riyadh.
Thus, those Muslim nations who have followed the Saudi suit as usual and celebrated the last Tuesday as Eid al-Fitr are now angry with the Saudis as Eid al-Fitr is the biggest eve for the worldwide Muslim community.