Should Muslims be following Saudi Arabia, as ISNA and Fiqh Council of North America say, or the Qur'an and Hadith? The question has grave implications for Muslims in North America because the start of Ramadan, celebration of Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha cause endless confusion. This year, ISNA and Fiqh Council have been caught in their own contradiction. But don't expect them to change their erroneous ways.
Tuesday September 15, 2015, 17:49 DST
When people serve masters other than Allah, they end up tying themselves in knots. This is what has happened to ISNA and the Fiqh Council of North America over moonsighting.
We are talking about the determination of the start and end of Ramadan and celebration of Eid al Adha.
Several years ago, both organizations announced that they will go with scientific data and not rely on the visibility of the moon.
During Eid al Fitr, the two organizations had announced months in advance that they would celebrate the end of Ramadan on Friday July 17 in North America. It could not be, because no crescent was visible anywhere in the world on July 16, notwithstanding the nonsensical claims from Saudi Arabia!
This was based on what one of the leading lights of Fiqh Council, Dr Muzammil Siddiqi wrote on the organization’s website. They follow the rule that if moonset is after sunset in Makkah, they would accept that as the start of the new lunar month.
How the Fiqh Council arrived at this conclusion was not explained. It clearly runs contrary to the Prophet’s hadith about sighting of the new moon.
There are also hadiths (in Sahih Bukhari) that specifically state that if on the 29th night, the crescent is not visible because the sky is overcast, complete 30 days.
Nothing could be clearer than this but Fiqh Council and ISNA have decided to go against the Prophetic hadith.
For Eid al Adha, they had calculated that the new moon would be visible on Sunday September 13 and the first of Dhul Hijjah would be Monday September 14. This would make Eid al Adha fall on Wednesday September 23.
This is what both ISNA and Fiqh Council had announced on their websites.
Their announcement was actually based on the assumption that Saudi Arabia would also make this announcement.
The two organizations’ assumption was not wrong; Saudi Arabia has historically announced these dates a day ahead of crescent visibility.
For some unexplained reason, this year the Saudis did not do so and instead announced that there was no moonsighting on Sunday September 13. This meant Eid al Adha falling on Thursday September 24.
The Saudi announcement took the two organizations by surprise and exposed their subservience to one of the most oppressive regimes in the Muslim world.
The Fiqh Council website, therefore, has two separate announcements. On its front page that falls under moonsighting.com, they say Eid al Adha would be on Wednesday September 23.
On the inside page, they say, it will be on Thursday September 24 because they follow Saudi Arabia.
Some Muslims that follow ISNA and Fiqh Council claim that the two organizations take an independent position based on Fiqh and Science even though the Fiqh Council itself admits it follows Saudi Arabia.
There is not one ayah or one hadith of the noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that says Muslims should follow Saudi Arabia or Makkah or Madinah moonsighting.
May Allah give hidaya (guidance) to these misguided people that are only adding to the confusion of Muslims in their attempt to appease their masters in Saudi Arabia.
They have shown by their own example that they do not follow the commands of Allah or His Prophet (pbuh) otherwise they would not indulge in such convoluted logic (or illogic).
But do not expect these organizations to change their un-Islamic practices. Bakhsheesh is what governs their conduct, not the teachings of the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).