I WAS watching the Ruet-e-Hilal committee on TV on Monday evening. The religious scholars on this committee were busy collecting information and using telescopes to sight the Zil Hajj moon. My son asked me excitedly to come out into the courtyard.
I went out to see why he was excited. He had his mobile phone facing west. It was cloudy, yet he showed me a clear sky on the screen. The horizontal line on the horizon was marked and the moon could be clearly seen above the line almost touching it. The sun had gone down about an inch below the line, while some other planets were also visible.
He told me that he had installed Google Sky Map software. By simply typing in the name of any planet, an arrow mark would indicate its location. The free software has made technology available for a government official to decide about the appearance of the new crescent.
I, therefore request the state to assume this responsibility immediately, and relieve our respected religious scholars of this onerous task as they are already overworked.
Dr Osman Khalid
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2015
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