Kerala: Meet the unofficial watcher of Ramzan’s crescent moon 

18 Mar, 2023 16:54 IST|Sakshi Post

Thiruvananthapuram: The sighting of a crescent moon holds a lot of significance in Islam especially before the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan. In Kerala’s Kozhikode district, a man has taken it upon himself to observe the crescent moon and report it to the local Qazis and this passion has earned him a moniker ‘Masa Koya’ (Koya, the man of months) among locals. 

Koya, a native of Kappad village, has been diligently doing this skywatching job for about 30 years. As the current month of Shaban draws to a close, in less than a week’s time, the locals will yet again wait for Koya to share the news of sightings of a new moon which will mark the commencement of the holy month Ramzan.

Despite the advancement of technology and powerful telescopes, Koya is keeping the ancient tradition of observing the crescent moon alive. Not just in Kerala, Muslims in several countries have traditionally followed the method of sighting the moon with the naked eye to declare the commencement of Islamic month which follows a lunar cycle unlike the Gregorian calendar which is based on the sun's movement. 

As per Islamic requirements, any credible and pious person can report the sighting of a new moon to their local Qazi and this should be confirmed by two witnesses and the Qazi will share it with the Ulema council who would make the announcement. 

47-year-old Koya says he was initiated into skywatching from childhood as he watched the elders of his village doing it before the start of Ramzan. When he was 18, he reported the sighting of a new moon for the first time and since then he’s continuing this job. He is now adept at skywatching. With the astronomical skills he gained over the years, Koya knows very well where and when to look for the new moon and what are the chances of its visibility on a given day. He says he tracks the moon round the year and keeps a record of sightings of a new moon every month in a notebook.
Koya is waiting to report the sighting of a new crescent moon after sunset on March 22. The sighting of a new moon on this day would mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan else it would commence the day after. 

Also Read: Internet services in Punjab suspended amid reports of radical preacher Amritpal Singh's arrest


Read More:
More News