Message for the Muslim Community in Malawi relating to the sighting of the New Moon

1) Sighting

a) On Sunday evening the 1st of May 2022 the moon was sighted at two separate locations at
i) Mangochi and Machinga.

b) The sightings were reported to Sheikh Dinala Chabulika of the Malawi Muslim Association of Malawi. (“MAM”)

c) The Sheikh is the Publicity Secretary of the MAM and a graduate of Islamic University of Medina in the Faculty of Shariah.

d) The MAM informed The Coordinator of the National Ruyatul Hilaal Committee (“NRHC) of the sightings and provided details, the locations and the names of witnesses. The witnesses are known to the Sheikh, and he can provide good reference.

e) The MAM confirmed they were absolutely satisfied as to the credibility and validity of the sightings and the credibility of the witnesses.

2) The National Ruyatul Hilaal Committee (Moon sighting Committee)

a) Maulana Arif Ahmed reported on social media the following,

i) All stakeholders are humbly requested to kindly bear with us as a Team of Ulama has been sent to verify the sightings in Mangochi”

3) The messagefrom  Maulana Arif Ahmed

a) It refers to the persons addressed as “stakeholders”,

b) Since when are Muslims within a community referred to as being a stakeholder? is it that they hold a financial interest, influence and power within the NRHC?

c) The Stakeholders of the NRHC “question and place doubt” as to the validity of the sightings and are despatching a team of Ulama to look into this.

d) What did the team of Ulama actually do before they made a decision to dismiss the sightings?

e) The NRHC decided not to accept the sightings and verification by MAM and called for an extra day of fasting.

4) Issues

a) This decision by the NRHC has wide and a detrimental impact upon the Muslim Community

i) Their decision brings into dispute the following:

ii) The verification of the sighting by MAM was not accepted. The NRHC need to report why they question the verification or the credibility of MAM and Sheikh Chabulika and the witnesses who sighted the moon.

iii) Why did the findings of the NRHC decide against the witnesses and the eminence of the Sheikh and MAM?

iv) Were these Ulama from the NRHC going to look for the moon themselves and what exactly did they do or accomplish before they made their ruling?

5) National Ru’yatul Hilaal Committee

a) The NRHC refers to the Muslims as “stakeholders. These stakeholders are predominantly from within the Indian community who have invested in the Muslim institutions the NRHC represents.
b) Are African Muslims part of the NRHC and what is the standing of MAM within the ranks of the NRHC.

6) Impact of the decision to delay the Eidul Fitr

a. The Muslim community in Malawi comprises of Muslims from both Indian and the black African community.

b. The Indians hold the financial and business clout. The decision taken by the NRHC has served to polarise the Malawian Muslim community because:

i. The reporting of the sighting by MAM has not been accepted, MAM is looked upon with suspicion and the message being imparted is that the word or witness of an African is not to be trusted, believed or accepted.

ii. We ask the question; What if an Indian sighted the moon, would the decision of the NRHC have been different?

iii. The credibility of the MAM and the Sheikh has been diminished as a consequence of NRHC refusing to accept the sightings as genuine.

iv. The decision of the NRHC goes even further. Simply put, The Malawian Muslim community has been fractured, divided and become polarised,

1. The message given out by the NRHC is that Black Muslims in Malawi do not matter.

2. It is, money that talks and has a bearing, even to the extent that such a matter of religious significance has been decided upon by the actions of an egoist band of NRHC members headed by Maulana Arif Ahmed and his band of “stakeholders”

v. This brings to mind the recent events in Pakistan where members of Imran Khans party sold their souls laced with dollars and voted against him.

7) Moon Sighting

i) Neighbouring countries to Malawi witnessed the Moon on the evening of Sunday the 1st of May 2022. There is therefore great credibility that the witnesses did indeed see the moon as they had stated.

ii) Did the NRHC take into account the sightings in neighbouring countries when they expressed reservations about the credibility of the Malawi witnesses?

iii) If the sighting in neighbouring countries was not taken into account, was this because the sighting had to be within the confines and borders of Malawi itself?

iv) There were never ever any borders 1400 years ago. The sighting in a neighbouring place, town village is acceptable, and we now have significant access to information delivered almost instantaneously.

v) Which beggars the question, what exactly did the NRHC go to Mangochi to investigate?

8) Question to NRHC

a) Does the moon have to sighted within the confines of the Malawi border itself?

b) Was there a country called Malawi 1400 years ago?

c) Did the committee consider or ask their Ulama to consider that countries sharing the same longitude as Malawi witnessed the moon, or does the Moon expose itself to some parts of the Continent and shy away from and hide from other parts?

9) Racism

a) The decision of the NRHC is reprehensible and downright disgusting. The NRHC and the Maulana has brought disrepute and wrought division within the Malawi Muslim Community which has up to now been united and without division and has in the past respected the decision of the NRHC without question

b) The NRHC has made a frightful error of judgement, ill thought of the impact this will now have on the good relations between the so called affluent Indian Muslims and the local black African Muslims.

c) Unfortunately, we should never have to refer to Muslims as being brown, white, yellow, or black. We are all and will always be Muslims.
d) We refer you to the Holy Quran where the issue of race or ethnicity cannot be clearer.

e) The act and decisions of the NRHC are deeply shameful, they smack not only of arrogance but import racism into Islam and the religious politics in Malawi.

f) For this, the so-called stakeholders deserve complete and utter condemnation, and further, their actions go against the teachings of Islam.

10) Going Forward 

a) To the NRHC we say, get off your high horse. The principles and religious ethics, morals, and practices of the wider Muslim community of Malawi will not be misled and thwarted by your reprehensible actions. Your wealth and presumed status are of no consequence. Truth and justice will always prevail.

b) The NRHC has been discredited in the eyes of the people. You deserve to be shut down . You will be answerable to the Lord on the day of judgement . Your assumed lofty positions and power will have no bearing on that day.

c) The NRHC needs to make an unreserved apology to MAM, to the Sheikh and the Muslim community in Malawi and confirm that they were wrong in the decision they had made. The damage NRHC have caused can never be undone or repaired.

d) Most importantly the persons within the NRHC need to seek forgiveness from Allah Almighty, so He shows them mercy for their wrongdoing and attitude. And that they change their ways and become modest, humble and encompass the views and opinion of everyone in respective of their colour, creed or standing.