IN TE NAME OF GOD, THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSIONATE
May peace and salvation be upon our Prophet Muhammed, upon His family and companions
CONFERENCE FOR DETERMINING THE BEGININGS OF LUNAR MONTHS
Upon the invitation of the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkish Republic, Conference for Determining the beginnings of Lunar Months was held in Istanbul the historical capital of Islam, on 28 November 1978 thru1 30 November 1978/26 Zilhicca thru1 29 Zilhicca 1398 A.H.
Delegates from the following Islamic Countries joined the Conference. The names of these delegates are given in a separate list attached to this document.
4- United Arab Emirates
14- Central Asia and Kazakistan(U.S.S.R)
17- Saudi Arabia
In addition to these countries, the following establishments were also represented in the Conference
20- Brussels Islamic Centre
21- Paris Islamic Centre
22- Rabıtatu' l Alemi-I Islami
The conference is held as one of the series of conferences held fof the same purposes. It aims at completing and developing the results arrived at both in Kualalumpur(Malaysia) Conference and the Conference of the Ministers of Awqaf held in Kuwait.
In their papers the delegates have dealt with the sorry situation caused by divergent practices of Muslim's during the beginnings and endings of the Month of Ramadan and during the religions holidays and feast - days.
Delegates have unanimously agreed on the necessity of tackling with this problem which in fact goes against the principles laid down by the verses of the Holy Kur'an which clearly states: "Surely this community of your in one community" Thus, the muslims are not permitted to follow divergent paths in religious matters. In the following verse God, the most High, command solidarity and unity: "And hold you fast to God's bond, together, and do not scatter."
In the conference two committees of inquiry were established: Committee of Religion;Committee of Astronomers. In each committee the specialists worked on the papers that came
under their specializations. After a detailed and comprehensive discussion, the Conference unanimously accepted the following resolutions.
1- What is basic is to see the moon; whether it is seen
simply by naked human eye, or, through modern astronomical
obseryatjons makes no difference whatsoever.
2- So as to take the astronomers' account into consed
eration from a religion point of view, they ought to base their
astronomical observations upon the fact that the moon could
be mm in the horizon by human eye after the sun - set And
after the elimination all the obstacles which hinder the visibility
of the moon. This is called "Visibility by iudgment (Hükmi
3- For the visibility of the moon, there are two basic
conditions which have to be fulfilled:
a) After "conjuction", the angular distance 'between
the moon and the sun should not be less than 8 degrees. As it
is known, the visibility of the moon starts between 7 and 8
degrees; but for the sake of precaution, taking 8.degree as
essantial is accepted unanimously.
b) The angular distance of the moon from the horizon
should not be less than 5 degrees.
Only under this condition does it become possible to see the crescent by naked human eye in, the normal conditions,
4- For the visibility of the moon no special place is
required. When such visibility becomes possible in any part of
the earth, it will be legitimate to conculede that the lunar
month Has started. In order to acheive the unity and solidarity
of Islamic world in this respect the visibility of the moon
should be declared by the observatory which is to be established
in Macca. According to the Common Lunar Calender mentioned in the next article.
5- Religious Scholars, astronomers and the authorities
in the observatory should prepare a calender for each year, by
basing themselves on the critaria stated in the articles 2, 3 and
4. The committee of Calender will hold a meeting every year so
as to approve the Common Calender . The first meeting will
take place in Rabiu'l ahir 1399/March 1979 in Istanbul.
6- The comittee of calender consists of the represent
atives of following countries:
Bangladesh, Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Katar, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia arid Turkey. In order to hold a meeting, it is not necessary to bring together all the repsent-atives.
7- Again the above-mentioned committe will prepare maps in accordance with the critaria stated above*, showing the places where the cresrent is visible in the months of Ramadan, Shawwal and Zilhicce. This will make things easier for those who, wish to see the crescent by simple observations and to be satisfied with the reckoning of the Calender Committee. Such maps will also help those states which want to carry out astronomical observations through their efficient and reliable authorities and organizations.
8- These resolutions and recommendations will be forwarded to the Secretary General of the Islamic foreign Minis-fdi' Conference, and in their first meeting, which will take place* in Rabat, the foreign ministers will be called upon to recognize and to put into practice the above mentioned reseletions.
1- A special conference should be held so as to work out and define the times of prayers and fasting in such places where, comparing with the place we are accustomed to, days and nights are longer.
2- Astronomy should be included in the curriculum of general education and especially in the program of religious schools. It is also necessary to set up special departments of Astronomy in Universities.
3- The related Ministers in the Islamic world, ruling institutions which are in charge of religious affairs and the official establishments such as Al - Azhar and Rabitatu'l alimi'l Islami, which deal with the problems confronting muslims and aim at achieving unity, should be called upon to Work toward the implementation of resulutions and to ask all the responsible authorities to do the same.
4- The goverments of Islamic Countries should be called upon to pay-attention to the question of constructing observatories and their spreading all over the muslim world, and to work for co-operation and the exchange of information and experience among these observatories.
5- The "Rabita" should be called upon to speed up the work for the completion of the Observatory, the establish ment of which in Macca was suggested by the conference of
the Ministers' of Awqaf and Religious Affairs held in Kuwait. The "Rabita", as we know, accepted this suggestion and then started to built an observatory in Macca.
6- The Presidency of Religious Affairs of, Turkish Republic should also be called upon to inform all muslim goverments and related institutions of Islamic countries about the
resolutions of this Conference.
Delegates of this Conference are happy to express their thanks and gratitudes the president of the Turkish Republic, the
Prime Minister and the Minister of State to brother muslim Turkish People for their warm and close attention they pay to Islamic causes. They also wish to express their sincere appreciation to the Presidency of religious Affairs of Turkey and to the Directory of Kandilli Observatory for their invitation and also for their excellent organisation and the efforts they showed towards the success of this Conference.
To God belong all successes...