Jerusalem Post — The Muslim world is in turmoil over the possibility that it may have misread the skies and mistaken Saturn for the moon when it declared Ramadan and its daily fasting over last week, causing the devout to starting feast a day early. Sighting of the new moon crescent has always been difficult and a special Hilal panel, or moon-sighting committee, receives testimonies from veteran Muslim moon gazers that in fact the lunar month is over. Religious authorities in Saudi Arabia declared Ramadan ended last Monday August 29 and the three-day Id al-Fitr festivities could begin. … In Indonesia, there was such doubt that the astronomers and Muslim bodies extended the Ramadan fast for another day and didn’t celebrate the Id until sundown Tuesday. Saudi and Egyptian astronomers, too, questioned the veracity of the moon sighting and issued a statement saying there was no way it could have been sighted last Monday because it had eclipsed before sunset. If they saw anything, it was the planet Saturn and not the moon, the astronomers said. In Saudi Arabia, conservative religious scholars were so galled that their veracity had been questioned they threatened to take legal action for creating the uncertainty… (H/T: Big Peace)
That’s no moon!
How exactly do you confuse the moon with the planet Saturn? Without any special expertise in the matter, and without any special equipment (a telescope, a sextant, a copy of the Quran in case it’s a cold night and I need to burn something for warmth) I guarantee you that I could the tell the two apart. Maybe they should have asked someone from NASA for advice; after all, NASA’s main job these days is keeping Muslims happy. (Anybody could have built Bill Clinton’s bridge to the 21st century; but it takes our Community Organizer in Chief to build a bridge from America to the 7th century.) Then again, Ramadan is all about fasting; and what could be faster than ending a month a day early?