Fiqh Council Resolves ‘Moon Fighting’ Issue in Muslim Community
by Sheila Musaji
It’s that time of year again. We are coming up to the blessed month of Ramadan, and the celebration of Eid at the end of that month, and the community will once again face an unnecessary crisis. What is the first day of Ramadan? What day is Eid? This argument has been going on for a long time.
Last year, Imam Zaid Shakir wrote an excellent article “Towards Resolving the Recurring Moon Sighting Controversy” in which he said: “We pray that the day will soon come when we are blessed with the leadership necessary to lead our community beyond this demoralizing confusion. We pray that the day will soon come when a true American Muslim identity that gives us the confidence to do what is in the best interests of Muslims living here in America is created. May Allah guide us all to that which He loves and is pleased with. He over all things has power, and His help is constantly evoked.”
The Fiqh Council of North America has done just that and issued a religious ruling (fatwa) on this issue that should solve this problem once and for all. The ruling authorizes the use of astronomical calculations to establish a fixed Islamic lunar calendar for the U.S., and the Fiqh Council issued a calendar that runs through 2011.
According to scientific astronomical calculations, Ramadan this year will begin on September 23rd, and this is the date announced by the Fiqh Council. Some Muslims are misrepresenting the Fiqh Council’s decision by saying that it imposes “Saudi dates on the Muslims in the US and Canada based on the New Moon in Makkah”, and some Muslims are going so far as to claim that this decision severs the scholars connection with Islam and amounts to fitnah.
We can only hope that all Muslims will use common sense, follow the ruling of the Fiqh Council of North America, and allow all of us to stop going around in circles endlessly.