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International Islamic Calendar Conference in Turkey

It is contrary to the spirit and traditions of a religion based on Tawheed (oneness of the Almighty) that Islamic countries and in fact even countries that are located in the same geography start fasting on different days and thus observe the Eid on different days. The Office of the President of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) of Turkey has convened a Ru’yat al Hilal Conference in İstanbul in 1978 to solve the problem and yet the fact that the decisions taken then have not been put into practice and thus Islamic countries and for that matter even countries located in the same geography have continued to start fasting on different days and thus observing Eid on different days. Despite the fact that so many scientific meetings and similar activities that followed this conference have come up with very important results the problem has not been resolved.

On the other hand the failure to come up with a consensus to observe these special religious days on the same dates has created injustices for Muslims and has hurt the hearts and souls at a time when there are efforts to declare the religious festivities as holidays for Muslims living in Europe.

A great majority of the Muslims are seriously disturbed and are pushed into discourse as Ramadan starts in four different days in different places and thus Eid is observed in different times despite the fact that scientifically there is no location left on the globe that has not entered the new lunar month in a time span of 24 hours.

People are upset when countries on the same longitude with Mecca or even in the same geography start celebrating Eid al-Adha when their own Hadjis are standing for the Wuquf (standing in contemplation) at Arafat.

In Europe, in the Caucasus and in the Balkans Muslims living in the same city or even going to the same mosque are starting to observe Ramadan on different days or observe Eid on different days. This situation contradicts the unity, solidarity and fraternity principles of Islam and is turning into a tool to create new groups and identities.

This situation requires Muslim scientists, scholars and officials to take up the issue of the start of the lunar months once again with a widely attended gathering. Such a gathering is needed to at least resolve the issue for the sake of the unity of Muslims living in Europe. The advanced level that the science of astronomy has reached today, the Islamic Astronomy Associations and the scientists at the Astronomy departments of universities and their fine work will contribute to assist those who are in a decision making position.

The Office of the President of Religious Affairs of Turkey (Diyanet) has decided to convene a comprehensive meeting to be attended by the scientists and scholars of the Islamic countries, astronomers and decision making officials.

The process which started with a preparatory meeting between February 18 and 19, 2013 was put on hold due to the chaos and painful incidents experienced in the Islamic wolrd.

At this point the Office of the President of Diyanet regards it its duty to organize a meeting aimed at resolving this issue has convened a work group between February 6 and 7, 2015 and has determined a course of action and a road map.

The meeting attended by Islamic countries as well as authoritative and respected scientists and astronomers from the Muslim minorities in Europe has established a science delegation comprised of astronomers and experts of Islamic rules and laws and has determined a timetable for the congress.

Name of the Congress

International Start of the Lunar Months and Hijri Calendar Unity Congress

The Aim of the Congress

Establishing unity among Muslims on determining the start of the month of Ramadan as well as determining the start of the religious festivities like Eid and contributing to the unity of the Hijri Calendar.

Format of the Congress:

The congress will not be in the form of a symposium where papers will be presented and discussed. First the current state will be determined with papers prepared looking into the issue from the perspectives of Islamic rules and laws, astronomy and social dimension. Then the congress will discuss concrete proposals for solutions and proposals on the calendar. Thus an effort will be made to reach a scientific and workable result.

Secretary General:
Prof. Dr. Yavuz ÜNAL (Member of the Supreme Council of Religious Affairs)

Secretariat:
Dr. Mustafa Bülent Dadaş (Specialist at the Supreme Council of Religious Affairs)
Kenan Oral (Assistant Specialist at the Supreme Council of Religious Affairs)
Üzeyir Öztürk (Assistant Specialist at the Supreme Council of Religious Affairs)

Scientific Commission
Dr. Ekrem Keleş (Commission Chairman)
Prof. Dr. Ahmed Yaman (Turkey)
Prof. Dr. Ali Muhyiddîn el-Karadâğî (Qatar)
Prof. Dr. Sâcid Özdemir (Turkey)
Engineer Muhammed Şevket Avde (Jordan)
Prof. Dr. Sharef el-Kudât (Jordan)
Dr. Zülfiqar A. Shah (USA)
Ahmed Câballâh (Europe)
Dr. Heymen Mütevellî (Egypt)
Dr. Muhammed Gharîb (Egypt)
Dr. Mühendis Celâleddîn Hâncı (Syria)
Dr. Mustafa Bülent Dadaş (Turkey)
Astronomer İlhami Aşıkkaya (Turkey)

Language of the Congress:

Turkish, Arabic, English, Spanish, German and Russian,
.
Calendar for the Congress
The last date of acceptance for proposals and calender projects is September 15, 2015
The Congress is planned for the March of 2016.

Open Invitation for Proposals on Solutions and Calendar Unity

The Scientific Commission as a part of the preparatory work before the congress invites scientists qualified in religion, astronomers and persons specialized in the area of Hijri Calendar as well as civilian and official institutions to present their proposals on creating unity regarding the start of the lunar months and calendar projects.
The following aspects should be taken into consideration while proposals and calendar projects are submitted to the Scientific Commission:
Unity Regarding the Start of the Lunar Months

The proposals to be submitted on the determination of the start of the lunar months –especially the start of Ramadan and the start of special religious days like Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha – should try to reasonably eliminate the different applications for Muslims living in various parts of the world or create standards.

The proposals should keep in perspective the rules and laws of Islam and the astronomical data. The proposals should not contradict Islamic laws and rules or the data provided by the science of astronomy, should be applicable and should satisfy Muslim affairs. Within this perspective the solutions to the problems experienced by the Muslims of Europe, America, the Balkan countries and Caucasus countries should be given priority.

United Hijri Calendar

In today’s world individuals, state, public and private organizations need a standard calendar that is accepted by all those concerned to be able to make future plans. It is not realistic in a global world to use a calendar that differs from country to country and even from region to region and to expect plans to be made according to this calendar. Thus it is an absolute necessity that a systematic calendar is prepared that helps Muslims plan their social and religious lives and keeps in mind their sensitivities.

Thus it is of utmost importance that the applied calendar proposals should be presented to the congress in a detailed manner.

The Aspects Required about the Calendar Proposals

The proposals on the calendar to be submitted to the commission should have the following features:

o The calendar samples should be prepared according to the rules of astronomy and should adhere to Islamic rules and laws.
o Individuals and institutions should clearly specify the data and the scientific rules they have used while preparing their calendar.
o The proposals made for the Islamic world or for the whole world should be accompanied with a calendar that covers at least one Hijri year.
o The proposed calendar should be used with great ease in daily life.

Addresses for contacts:
Mail: takvim@diyanet.gov.tr
Web: www.takvim.diyanet.gov.tr (The site is being conmtructed)
Phones: (00 90 312) 295 8529/8598/8504/6970/6971
Faks: (0090 312) 284 8531

Postal Address: Üniversiteler Mah. Dumlupınar Blv. No: 147/A 06800 Çankaya ANKARA