Unfortunately, the Minister in charge of Interior Affairs did not heed the advice I gave two weeks ago regarding the gazetting of the date of Idd-Ul-Fitr public holiday.
He waited until Tuesday June 12, to announce that it would be on Friday 15. This is exactly the date that I had predicted!
Now, do you want to know the date for next year’s Idd-Ul-Fitr? This is how to work it out…
We start by noting that the Islamic Calendar has 12 lunar months; so, we multiply the time period of the lunar cycle by 12. That is, 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8769 seconds multiplied by 12.
The answer is 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes and 34.5228 seconds. The next step is to add this result to the exact moment that the crescent moon appeared marking the end of Ramadhan this year.
According to astronomical observations, this year, the crescent first appeared at about 7am on the Thursday June 14. But the sun was also out at that moment so it wasn’t possible to see the moon with the naked eye. The best visibility occurred on Friday evening.
Now counting 354 days from 7am on June 14 2018 takes us to 7am on June 3 2019. Adding 8h:48m to 7am takes us to 3.48pm.
So, the crescent moon to mark the end of Ramadhan in 2019 will first appear at 3.48pm on June 3. But, again, the sun will be out so the moon won’t be visible to the naked eye.
The crescent will become visible the following day — June 4 — between 7.15pm and 7.30pm. Therefore, Idd-Ul-Fitr 2019 will be on Wednesday June 5. Mark that date on your calendar!
I want to repeat the suggestion that I have been making about this matter: the Public Holidays Act needs to be amended to state that the gazetting of any public holiday should be done at least 90 days in advance.
In the current arrangement, we are allowing the government of the day to play politics with these holidays. In 2007 (an election year) the government suddenly declared that Idd-Ul-Adha would be a national public holiday.
For the following nine years (2008 to 2016), this important day on the Islamic calendar was not a national public holiday. Then in 2017 (another election year) it was gazetted again! This blatant political manoeuvres are not healthy and must be stopped!
My final word on this matter is to the Chief Justice. Normally, when an impromptu public holiday is announced, courts move cases that had been scheduled on that date to the end of the queue.
In many instances, this postpones the cases by up to three months or longer. I have been a victim of such postponement.
My suggestion is that all cases should be pushed to the next working day.
That is, those scheduled on Friday, June 15, move to Monday the 18th; those of Monday go to Tuesday, and so on. I hope the Chief Justice will take my advice.
www.figures.co.ke; Twitter: @MungaiKihanya