Algeria – 21 astronomers of magisral rank, from Algerian and foreign research centers and universities, lambasted the statements of their colleague Loth Bonatiro on the hours of Imsak during the holy month of Ramadhan.
In a statement made to a private television channel, Loth Bonatiro claimed that the hours of prayers and Imsak adopted in Algeria were false.
In a long press release issued on Tuesday, the 21 signing astronomers reject Bonatiro's statements and bring their version to restate the schedules in force.
On the Pseudo Controversy
C Oncerning the Schedules ] e Prayer and Imsak
Why this Controversy Worth a Focus?
We present in this release the reasons for the controversy provoked by statements by Mr. Bonatiro, concerning the prayer times and Imsak published by the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MAR) are scientifically invalid, in addition to being an irresponsible action. This response is made necessary in view of the extent of the controversy over the public place and the massive disinformation that is conducted through complacent media doing in the sensational. In addition, these media are singularly lacking in professionalism because they present only one point of view without seeking to know the opinion of the other party, including that of the astronomical community.
Some could see in the controversy inept unilaterally triggered by Mr.Bonatiro presented as an expert in astronomy, as a non-event in this sacred month, that it would be even useless to interfere, but we think that it is our duty for us astronomers and astrophysicists to different research centers, Algerian and foreign universities not to give him the free field to mislead astronomy and science in general in the eyes of the public and denigrate astronomers.
We will establish in what follows, that Mr. Bonatiro to a controversial point of view on the subjects mentioned and that it represents only itself. It is also well known that his remarks are not based on any precise scientific study and that he has kept himself from producing a single reference supporting them.
The Rules of Establishment of Prayer Times and Imsak
The table of prayer times and calendar used by the MAR, popularly known under the name Roznama Arabic, is established each year by a group of astronomers experts from CRAAG (The Research Center in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Geophysics) using standard rules of calculation. These rules are the same as those used for decades and are consensual throughout the Muslim world. Moreover, the Roznama also serves as an evolved Hegirian calendar, based on astronomical criteria of crescent visibility (Imkaniyat Errou'ya), and not only on the mere occurrence of the lunar conjunction.
In his statements through various media , Mr. Bonatiro accuses the MAR, and through him the CRAAG, of knowingly trying to deceive the Algerians by producing these false tables in opposition to the "real" schedules (repeated declarations on the chain EnnaharTV, on BiladTV, and on the site TSA in particular ). He thus takes all astronomical science hostage. It further claims, ultimate provocation, that these errors exist since independence and that the fault would be an amateur astronomer (sic) who has established the rules and we have inherited today. Our fellow astronomers in charge are perfectly competent in the matter and all these accusations are simple gossip without any basis or reference, and which in other circumstances do not even deserve an answer. As for his accusations of amateurism for the first Algerian who was busy establishing the ephemerides after independence and is still alive, it is pure slander.
In fact, these calculation rules were established by the well-known Muslim astronomer El-Birouni (among others). We speak in particular of the rule of the 18 ° of angular elevation of the Sun under the horizon which makes it possible to calculate the schedules of the prayer of the dawn (Fadjr) and thus of the Imsak, and that of the night (Isha) and which constitute the main points of contention that some people raise concerning Roznama.
Mr. Bonatiro to a Problem with the Muslim World
The reality of the facts is that not only these calculation rules have a historical continuity, and for Algeria at least since independence, but in fact this are the same as those used, with some differences here and there, by all the other Muslim countries in the world!
So it is clear that Mr. Bonatiro not only has a problem with the Algerian prayer times since independence, but also with all the Muslim World!
Why Fadjr Schedules Appear Incorrects for Some?
Let us explain the origin of the present confusion which makes even people of good faith liable to be misled.
The complete darkness, corresponding to the "disappearance of the twilight glow", is defined precisely in astronomy by the astronomical twilight (or astronomical dawn for the morning). This happens when the Sun is below the 18 ° line below the horizon and all illumination of the same indirect sky has disappeared, and at that moment under ideal conditions, we can see the less luminous stars. This is the same criterion used today by the Muslim world with very few exceptions.
Regarding the "evidence" brought by Bonatiro as to his allegations that in Mecca at the time of the release of the prayer of Fadjr the sky is already bright while at home it is always the complete darkness, in addition to not constituting a scientific demonstration, it is patent wrong as the visitors of the places Saints can easily testify. It is also in direct contradiction with many hadiths of the Prophet saying precisely the opposite, including Sayyeda Aisha's famous hadith on the subject.
Once again, all his statements are not based on any scientific reference or supported by any body. scientist from around the world.
The environment to correctly observe the first glow of the Dawn
The real reason why darkness still prevails during the Fadjr is the non-occurrence of conditions ideal observation by casual observers. Indeed, only conditions of observation with horizon is completely clear, moonless night, far from agglomerations, absence of substantial concentration of aerosols in the air, and of course ideal weather conditions, allow to see this glow auroral. Moreover, the presence of light pollution in our days produces a weak luminous halo which greatly reduces the contrast on the horizon line.
As for the accusation made by Mr. Bonatiro that Algerian astronomers confuse with their calculations the pseudo fadj (al-Fadjr al-kadhib) which corresponds astronomically to the zodiacal light, with the real Fadjr (Dawn), it is as absurd as to pretend that a cook can not distinguish semolina from flour [19459013InconclusiontheschedulesinRoznamaoftheMARandpreparedbytheCRAAGastronomersarebasedonsoundscientificbasisandusethesamerulesasthoseusedinotherMuslimcountriesTheyarecompletelyreliableandrequirenocorrection!ThecontroversythatMrBonatiroisattemptingtocreatefromscratchthroughsomemediaandunilaterallyhasnoscientificbasisandhasnoplacetobe
Note that Mr. Bonatiro is not his first controversy, but the mode of operation is always the same: fanciful or even false declarations on a given scientific question not supported by serious references or short references, and often seasoned with irrelevant or general Qur'anic verses in a crude demagogic attempt. We hope that the Algerians will rise above these inept pseudo-controversies that are so many unwelcome distractions while our country faces enormous challenges, and based on the provocation and sensationalism of people with excessive ego . We also hope that our media will show more circumspection and professionalism when dealing with issues of high societal impact, and certainly those concerning the religious practice of our fellow citizens.
– Prof. Jamal Mimouni Mentouri University, Constantine, Head of the Master of Astrophysics, Vice President of the Arab Union of Astronomy and Space Sciences
– Dr. Nassim Seghouani Dir. of Research, Head of the Division of High Energy Astrophysics, CRAAG, Project Manager of the National Observatory of Aurès
– Dr. Toufik Abdelatif solar astrophysics, Dir. of Research, Ex Chairman of the Scientific Council of CRAAG, Algiers
– Prof. Nidhal Guessum astrophysicist, American University of Sharjah, UAE, formerly Director of the Institute of Physics, Univ. of Blida
– Dr. Abderahmen Zoghbi astrophysicist, Univ. of Michigan, USA
– Dr. Mourad Fouka astrophysicist, CRAAG, Algiers
– Dr. Yassine Damerdji astrophysicist, CRAAG, Algiers
– Dr. Bouziani Naceur astrophysicist, CRAAG, Algiers
– Dr. Khalil Daiffallah astrophysicist, CRAAG, Algiers
– Dr. Zouleikha Sahnoun astrophysicist, CRAAG, Algiers
– Dr. Yassine Rahmani, astrophysicist CRAAG, Algiers
– Prof. Abdelghani Tebboune Dean of the Faculty of Exact Sciences, USTO, Oran
– Prof. Réda Attallah astrophysicist, Director of Research, Univ. of Annaba
– Dr. Sofiane Aoudia astrophysicist, Univ. of Bejaia
– Prof. Bahia Si-Lakhal astrophysicist, Univ. of Blida
– Prof. Hacène Hachemi in charge of the Master's degree in Space Sciences, Univ. of Setif
– Dr. Sihem Kalli astrophysicist, Univ. of Msila
– Prof. Zitouni Hannachi astrophysicist, Director of the Lab PTEAM, Univ. from Medea,
– Prof. Moulay C. Chabou astronomer, Director of the Institute of Architecture and Earth Sciences, University of Setif
– Prof. Toufik A. Mostefaoui astrophysicist, Univ. of Bejaia
– Prof. Noureddine Mebarki cosmologist, Director of LPMPS Lab, Univ. Constantine 1