Archive for May, 2017

Cape Town Ramadaan 2017 Calendars?

Posted on the May 25th, 2017 under Islam and Muslims by

With Ramadaan around the corner, one will find lots of Ramdaan calendars containing the Salaah Times for the month. This is particularly important as Muslims starting fasting from sunrise (Fajr prayer), and break their fast at sunset (Maghrib prayer).

I have already come across quite a few, but there’s something that stands out from them: For Cape Town, they all have different salaah times, which depending on the calendar you follow, means you’ll either be fasting earlier or breaking the fast later. The purpose of this blog post is three fold:

  1. To show evidence of these differences without commenting on which one is more correct/accurate.
  2. Related to the first point, to raise awareness of the issue to get Muslim scholar/leaders to rather address the issue.
  3. To call and raise the importance of providing salaah times in an open format.

The Different Salaah Time Calendars for Cape Town

If one were to classify the Salaah Time calendars for Cape Town, they could fall into three broad groups:

  1. The Printed/Distributed Calendars in Cape Town (Wembley one being a standout)
  2. The Jamiatul Ulama KZN Perpetual Calendar
  3. The Calendar based on Calculations using the Muslim World League – Angle Based Rule method.

1) The Printed/Distributed Calendar

Taking a look at most of the printed/distributed Islamic calendars in the Cape, I’ve often found it difficult to accurately match the formula/calculation method as it’s usually slightly different/out to the formulas/calculation methods found on the Internet.

For reference purposes, I will refer to the one published by the Wembley Group of Companies annually for the past 25 years, these calendars chronicle sites and events of historical significance in Islam alongside beautifully photographed images. The concept and content of the calendar is usually done by veteran journalist and Radio Voice of the Cape presenter, Shafiq Morton. (The first one on Shaykh Yusuf’s Kramat in 1994 was done by him, as well as the latest one. Cannot say for sure each edition was done by him).

The calendar is available for download at http://wembley.co.za/calendars/.

For the purpose of reference, lets consider the Fajr and Maghrib times for today (22 May 2017) and for 27 May 2017 which is predicted the 1st of Ramadaan.

22 May 2017: Fajr – 06:16, Maghrib – 17:52

27 May 2017: Fajr – 06:19, Maghrib – 17:50

Re-use of the “Printed/Distributed Calendar”

a) Muslim.co.za (Disclosure, run by me). The Salaah times from the Islamic calendar was manually copied and typed into an excel spreadsheet, and then exported into a database table. It gets treated as a perpetual calendar in that Salaah times on a given Gregorian date will always be the same regardless of year. Random checks are performed in Muharram with newly printed Islamic calendars to ensure they are still the same.

b) Cape Town Muslim Events – Source: WhatsApp Daily Profile Photo

 

c) Balmoral Supermarket (I assume many other companies will too) Source: https://www.facebook.com/balmoralsupermarket/photos/a.314665238725457.1073741829.314257428766238/647582772100367/?type=3&theater

 

 

2) The Jamiatul Ulama KZN Perpetual Calendar

The description in the Jamiatul Ulama KZN Calendar shows that it is either based on or generated using the Prayer Time Calculator V2.5 by Dr Monzur Ahmed. The one for Cape Town can be found here: http://jamiat.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ptpCAPETOWN.pdf

Re-use of the “Jamiatul Ulama KZN Calendar”

From my brief investigation and comparison of the salaah times, this calendar is used by:

  1. Voice of the Cape – http://www.vocfm.co.za/resources/salaah-times/
  2. Salaahtimes.co.za (Acknowledges that they use the Jamiat KZN data) – http://www.salaahtimes.co.za/cape-town
  3. Samd.co.za – http://www.samd.co.za/salaah_times_CT.html

In my opinion, there are two reasons why the Jamiatul Ulama KZN calendar used by so many others:

  1. The Jamiatul Ulama KZN generated such calendars for many of the major cities and towns in South Africa using a known tool.
  2. From a software development perspective, it was easy to extract this data to show daily salaah times, for example. (This is what muslim.co.za uses for all other towns besides Cape Town).

The Salaah Times for comparison:

22 May 2017: Fajr – 06:09, Maghrib – 17:52

27 May 2017: Fajr – 06:12, Maghrib – 17:50

The Maghrib times are exactly the same as the ‘Printed Calendar’ but the Fajr Time is 7 minutes earlier.

Radio Islam Perpetual Calendar for Cape Town

The Radio Islam perpetual calendar for Cape Town (available at http://www.radioislam.co.za/salaah_times/Ct/Cape_Town_SF.htm) is similar to the Jamiatul Ulama KZN one, but a minute later for each item.

The criteria is mentioned, viz.

  • Location: Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA
  • Juristic Method: Hanafi, Timezone: GMT +2
  • Calculation Method: University Of Islamic Sciences, Karachi
  • Maghrib: +3 minutes after Maghrib (sic) (Probably meant sunset)

The Salaah Times for comparison:

22 May 2017: Fajr – 06:10, Maghrib – 17:53

27 May 2017: Fajr – 06:12, Maghrib – 17:51

The “Taqweem” Calendar

Again similar to the Jamiatul Ulama KZN one, but out by a minute in some instances:  http://taqweem.rapidsoft.co.za/report_perpetual.php?ID=141

The Salaah Times for comparison:

22 May 2017: Fajr – 06:09, Maghrib – 17:52

27 May 2017: Fajr – 06:12, Maghrib – 17:49

 

3) Calendar based on Calculations

These calendars can be found on a few websites like livingislam.co.za are usually based on widget provided either by Islamic Finder or SalaahTimes.com. Even though the salaah times provided are not the same as the printed one in Cape Town, many websites use them in my opinion because these are the only ones easily available to be integrated. Perhaps a poor reflection on local Muslim developers for not coming up with one?

The Salaah Times for comparison from https://www.islamicfinder.org/world/south-africa/3369157/cape-town-prayer-times/

22 May 2017: Fajr – 06:09, Maghrib – 17:50

27 May 2017: Fajr – 06:12, Maghrib – 17:48

The Salaah Times for comparison from https://www.salahtimes.com/south-africa/cape-town

22 May 2017: Fajr – 06:09, Maghrib – 17:49

27 May 2017: Fajr – 06:12, Maghrib – 17:47

The last one in particular seems to be the source for the calendar generated by the South African Students Association in the Arab Republic of Egypt (Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=127922454437974&set=ecnf.100016606606825&type=3&theater)

The calendar based on calculations has a similar Fajr time to the Jamiatul Ulama KZN calendar, but an earlier Maghrib time.

Summary of Differences

Comparing the earliest and latest times between the different calendars for Fajr and Maghrib shows their is up to a 7 minute difference between the times for Fajr and a 3 minute difference for Maghrib (in one case, 4 minutes).

As mentioned, determining which one is more correct/accurate is a task for the Muslim scholars/leadership to resolve.

 

The Need for Providing Salaah Times in an Open Format

 

Will tackle this in a new blog post, Insha Allah