1. Preface and Foreword


The motivation behind the writing of this booklet came from a relation of mine who wishes to remain anonymous. However, I must acknowledge that without his drive, inspiration and enthusiasm, I would not have progressed very far.

I must also thank Dr. D. McNally, Director of the University of London Observatory who has not only helped to answer the many questions that I put to him, but has also given strong recommendations to consult Dr. Ilyas’ book (ref: 3) in this matter. It goes without saying that I would have been greatly hampered in writing this booklet without Dr. McNally’s helpful suggestions and comments on the technical aspects involved in “Moon Sighting”. He has also kindly agreed to write the foreword.

It must also be pointed out that in the field of the Islamic Calendar, the contribution of Dr. Ilyas is very extensive and his book (ref: 3) is a must for anyone interested in the subject. Fig.5.11 taken from his book has helped me to emphasize the fact of the enormous variation of the Moon’s age requirement for the earliest visibility at different latitudes.

Finally, I am indebted to my wife for editing the booklet and for making valuable suggestions.

Mohammed Abdul Malek, July 1992,


Mr. M. A. Malek has produced a useful summary of the scientific basis for timekeeping and calenderical reckoning which is both simple and clear. He has indicated the difficulties of basing a calendar that starts the month following an actual observational sighting of the new crescent Moon. This is a problem that depends very greatly on the interval between the conjunction and the next sunset, the clarity of the atmosphere, the actual position of the crescent Moon with respect to the horizon, and the visual acuity of the observer. He has put forward a most interesting suggestion for the regularisation of the determination of the start of a lunar month.

Dr. D. McNally,
University of London Observatory,
Mill Hill Park