Asalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatahu,
Before the beginning of this Ramadhan the Ummah witnesses yet another year of constant debate between those who wish to adhere to and uphold the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) and than those who wish to develop and utilize modern innovated methods in the practice of ‘sighting the moon’ to determine the coming of Ramadhan and the first day of the sacred fast.
Those who adhered to the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) upheld the practice of local or regional moon sighting. Where the fast was determined based on the moon sighting done by Muslims within the same particular region or city. The Nur uz Zamaan Institute has written a piece defending this stance and has been available for some time now, it can be read here.
Those who wish to turn to more ‘modern’ methods believe it is possible for the Ummah to begin Ramadhan based on a global moon sighting. Many have boasted at the modernity, ease, simplicity, and benifit of this newly invented practice adopted by some of the Ummah, even those who claim to have ilm. This is why a large number of Muslims in North America began Ramadhan by fasting on August 11th, 2010. This date was not determined by the clear methodology of The Prophet (saw), but through the organization ‘ISNA’ calculating and fixing the date weeks before Ramadhan even began. Not only does this take away from the practice of regional or local moon sighting, but throws aside the practice of sighting the moon at all! As well this practice only further limits and suppresses the abilities of indigenous Muslim Americans excelling at all in their independent practice of Islam without having those overseas, who have very little if not any connection with the community here, dictate how they are to practice their deen. This has long been part of a pattern of suppression and the forcing of Saudi Arabian dates and verdicts upon the indigenous Muslim community when we are an entire ocean away. As if the House of Saud was not pleased enough with having a monopoly upon an entire region, they feel the necessity to expand into the international Ummah.
While the moon may have been possibly sighted in Arabia, as they report it was by Bedouins in Shagrah near Riyadh, was it sighted anywhere here in North America?
Brother Fuad Musa of Chile stated that the Hilaal for Ramadhan was NOT SEEN by the indigenous Muslim communities of Chile nor Argentina. There was even an effort from the Astronomy Department at the University of Chile to assist in sighting the Hilaal, yet nothing was found. The Nur uz Zamaan jamaat had also requested brothers of the jamaat all over the east coast to keep a watchful eye on the 10 of August, yet no one reported a single sighting of the Hilaal. In reality, the only Masjids and communties that began Ramadhan on the 11th in North America where those who have allowed themselves to be governed by a council not only in their community but an entire ocean and continent away as well as allowing organizations like ISNA to abandon the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) in exchange for a more ‘convenient practice’ as they have been for seven years propagating the view that sighting the moon regionally and locally with the naked eye is ‘fard kifyah’, or ‘not required’.
In conclusion we encourage the readers of our blog to seek knowledge and again read the piece written by The Nur uz Zamaan Institute defending the practice of the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) in sighting the moon, it can be read here. You can also partcipate in our online discussion on this serious matter on our forum here.
Finally, the indigenous Muslims of America, and same goes for elsewhere, do not need to rely upon those overseas nor the ‘self proclaimed’ leaders and spokesman for the American Muslim community. We are capable of running our own communities locally, being independent and sufficient in the practice of Islam, and have the ability to uphold the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) and preserve the traditional practices as they have been for 1431 years Insha’Allah ta’alaa Ameen.