Saudi fitna over Ramadan dates, yet again

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Ramadan 08, 1427 2006-10-01


by Crescent International (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 35, No. 8, Ramadan, 1427)

This year again, as so often in the past, the Ummah has been divided unnecessarily on the dates of Ramadan, primarily by a blatantly nonsensical announcement of moon-sighting by the Saudi government.

Shawwal/Eid al-Fitr moon data

The Shawwal moon will be born at 6.14am GMT (1.14am EDT) on Sunday October 22. Its age and the time of its setting mean it will not be visible anywhere on that day. It should be visible the next day, October 23, all over the world.

Shawwal 1, 1427AH
(Eid al-Fitr):
Tuesday October 24, 2006.

On September 22, when the Saudis declared the sighting of the moon, it had barely been born and was not visible even in the westernmost parts of the US and Canada, let alone in areas farther east, where the sun had set hours earlier. Even on the following day, September 23, the moon was only visible in parts of the southern and western hemispheres; in north America, southern Africa and Australia, Ramadan could have begun on September 24. For Europe, Asia and most of Africa, Ramadan 1 should have been on September 25, fully two days after it was announced by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. It is a sign of how discredited the Saudis are on this subject that Pakistan and several other countries did begin on the correct day despite the Saudi announcement.

A claim of moon-sighting under these circumstances should be contemptuously ignored, just as it would be if it were made three or five or 10 days earlier. The creation of disunity in the Ummah in this way, leading millions of Muslims to perform their fara’id (Islamic obligations) on the wrong days according to the hijri calendar, is a fitna for which those responsible will surely be held accountable.

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