The Precision of Astronomical Calculations
The precision of astronomical calculations is beyond doubt regarding the moment of “birth” of the crescent, its conjunction and the other movements of planets and stars and their satellites, and they do not differ in such matters. Regarding sighting and its possibility, it is something that is calculated on the basis of the data of the observations that have been collected for decades, and that is confirmed by the advanced modern observatories.Notably, nowadays space is filled with elements that create an obstacle making sighting quite difficult.
On the other hand, there are those who take one factor into consideration, such as the “birth” of the crescent and neglect the others, like the altitude and the angle between the moon – earth – sun and others. Nevertheless, one could still rely on the data which are proven to be precise beyond doubt.
In this regard, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah relies on the astronomical birth of the crescent, coupled with the objective possibility if sighting it. In this respect, the problem of Muslims is that they stick to the apparent meaning of the text without trying to understand its contextual meaning or the idea it is based on. This idea is simply that the issue of the beginning and end of the lunar months is a matter associated with the cosmic system, and not to man, because Allah says, “Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah’s ordinance since the day when He created the heavens and the earth” (09:36). When the moon enters the wane (the dark area), the month comes to an end; when it gets out of it and we can see it, were it not for the obstacles, the month starts.