How 75 people search for Eid's Crescent moon in Oman
June 5, 2019 | 3:42 PM
by Times News Service
Supplied photo.

Muscat: Each Eid season, the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs depends on 75 people in the crescent committees to report that Eid has come to Oman.

According to a statement issued by the Department of Astronomical Affairs at the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs: "The viewing of the moon is Oman is done through 25 teams scattered across Wilayats and governorates of Oman, and each team includes an astronomer, a preacher, and the Imam.

"Those teams use naked eyes and telescopes, as well as astronomical calculations, only when a direct viewing is impossible.”

The committees steer away from archaic methods in order to insure that sightings are accurate and scientific.

Yesterday, an image of an elderly Omani using a makeshift mirror in a large water container to track the sun's movement went viral on social media, as many thought this was from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments.

To clarify this, the department issued a statement which read: "An image has been circulating of an elderly man in a Wilayat in Oman, and the image needs to be clarified. This is an old method for the movement of the crescent through the sky and is used to discover if a viewing will be possible after sundown.

"The method is not relied upon in deciding the entrance of a month, since viewings are done after sundown.”

According to the department, the ministry's teams work alongside other committees to make sure that moon sightings in Oman are correct.

"Upon confirmation of a viewing," the statement added, "the teams send reports to secondary committees in the Wilayats, which analyse their findings and send the results to the primary committee."

This committee has six members, including His Eminence Sheikh Al Khalili, the Grand Mufti of Oman, and His Excellency Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Salmi, the Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs.

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