Muslims, especially those residing in non-Muslim majority countries, suffer endless confusion about important dates in the Islamic calendar such as the start and end of Ramadan and celebration of Eid al Adha because they do not pay adequate attention to the Qur'an and the Prophetic Sunnah. Instead, they get swayed by propaganda from 'Saudi' Arabia and its paid agents around the world. Muslims cannot allow this situation to continue forever.
Monday August 29, 2016, 11:03 DST
When will Eid al Adha be this year: will it be on Sunday September 11 or Monday September 12?
This is not a rhetorical question, nor meant to create confusion. Unfortunately, this is a sad reality that confronts ordinary Muslims almost every year because some countries and their agents manipulate these dates to project themselves as ‘leaders’ of the Muslims.
To be more specific, the real culprit is the regime in the Arabian Peninsula that has adopted the name, ‘Saudi’ Arabia in violation of the Prophetic Sunnah.
It also amounts to shirk since the name ‘Saudi’ Arabia suggests that this medieval clan from the backwaters of Najd ‘owns’ this land (nastaghfirullah), when Allah alone is the Owner, Master and Sustainer of everything is in the universe and beyond.
The Bani Saud (aka the House of Saud) have for decades manipulated the dates of important Islamic events whether the start or end of Ramadan or the celebration of Eid al Adha. Such manipulation naturally leads to immense confusion among Muslims.
Eid al Adha falls on the tenth day of the month of Dhul Hijjah so there are at least nine days following the sighting of the new moon to determine when it should be. Yet, even Eid al Adha is mired in confusion.
This is especially worrisome for Muslims residing in non-Muslim majority states such as North America and Europe. Muslims have to take time off work ahead of time; children have to figure out the dates so as not to clash with important activities at school such as exams.
The recurring confusion about these dates has made Muslims the laughing stock of the world.
While Muslims face many challenges and threats from predatory powers like the imperialists and Zionists, some wounds are clearly self-inflicted. The annual confusion surrounding three dates—start of Ramadan, celebration of Eid al Fitr that comes at the end of the month-long fast, and Eid al Adha—reflect this starkly.
Even if we allow for the fact that there could be some uncertainty relating to the start of Ramadan since the decision has to be made the evening before based on the sighting of the new moon, there is absolutely no justification for such confusion regarding Eid al Adha.
After all, Eid al Adha falls on the tenth day of the month of Dhul Hijjah so there are at least nine days following the sighting of the new moon to determine when it should be. Yet, even Eid al Adha is mired in confusion.
The fundamental reason for this is the totally arbitrary decision by the Saudi regime for determining the date of Hajj. Perhaps, it is not so arbitrary; in reality if the Bani Saud were to stop violating the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), there would be no confusion.
Instead of following the sighting criterion as instructed by the noble Messenger (pbuh), the Saudis are following the birth of the moon. Their paid agents in North America and Europe also follow the same criterion. Is there any justification for this in Islam?
Once some companions came to the Prophet (pbuh) in Madinah and said the Jews follow the birth of the moon; should Muslims also not do the same? The Prophet (pbuh) forbid them from this and said for Muslims, it is the sighting criterion.
The Prophet (pbuh) instructed us to look for the new moon (crescent) and while this particular hadith is about the start and end of Ramadan, it applies equally to all other Islamic dates including the determination of the day of Hajj that falls on the ninth of the month of Dhul Hijjah (Eid al Adha being the tenth day).
The Islamic calendar is lunar-based. This is stipulated in the Qur’an (2:189) and (10:05), as well as numerous Prophetic hadiths narrated in Bukhari, Muslim as well as declared in the Khutbah the noble Messenger (pbuh) delivered at the time of his one and only Hajj.
Let us understand what the Qur’an says. In Surah al-Baqarah (the second surah of the noble Qur’an), ayah 189, Allah addresses His beloved Prophet (pbuh): “They [the Companions] will ask thee about the new moons [crescent]; these are to determine the seasons for people as well as the date of Hajj.”
Similarly, in numerous hadiths, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Start your fast when you sight the new moon and end it [fasting] when you sight the new moon.” And in another hadith, he further clarified that if the sky is overcast [this would allow for the possibility that the new moon may have been visible if there was no cloud cover], complete your 30 days and then celebrate Eid al Fitr.
Nothing could be clearer than this.
The Islamic lunar month is either 29 days or 30 days. It can neither be 28 days or 31 days. So we have the parameters.
Let us return to the determination of the date of Eid al Adha.
Fortunately, this year, there was little confusion about the start and end of Ramadan. Eid al Fitr was celebrated in North America on Wednesday July 6.
The Saudi agents also went along with this because their paymasters had also announced celebration of Eid al Fitr for July 6. These paid agents show greater keenness to follow their Najdi masters than the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah.
Let us follow the thread further. The month of Shawwal (whose first day is Eid al Fitr) was 30 days. Since Eid al Adha falls on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, the month of Dhul Qadah (the month between Shawwal and Dhul Hijjah) can be either 29 days or 30 days. It cannot be 28 days.
It is most likely that the month of Dhul Qadah will be 29 days based on the date of the birth of the moon for this month.
What does scientific data say?
The Dhul Qadah moon will be born on Thursday September 1 at 09:03 UT (universal time). By that evening, it will be impossible to sight it anywhere in the world.
Sighting of the new moon is based on its age, angle of separation from the sun, illumination of the moon surface as well as the time lag between sunset and moonset (we are assuming that the sky would be clear).
A general rule of thumb is that the new moon must be at least 20-22 hours old, and must set at least 30 minutes AFTER sunset for it to be sighted. Even that is not guaranteed.
For instance, in summer, the moon’s age has to be even more because of the late sunset time before it becomes visible.
What is the birth of the moon?
The moon goes around the earth once every 28 days and some hours. The moon’s visibility is basically the reflection of sunlight from the earth’s surface. Once a month, the moon lines up perfectly between the sun and the earth and its surface is completely overshadowed by the earth. It is like a black disc.
This is referred to as earth-sun conjunction.
Once the moon moves away from this perfect alignment, it is said to be born. But it takes many hours AFTER its birth before sufficient part of the moon surface is lighted by reflection from the earth for it to become visible.
This is called the NEW MOON (or crescent) and this is what determines the start of the new Islamic lunar month.
Astronomers and observatories around the world like the US Naval Observatory in Washington, or the Greenwich Observatory in the UK have been tracking moonsighting data for decades. They have also developed computer programs to determine the birth of the moon. This can be done for thousands of years ahead of time.
What is less developed is a program for sighting the moon. This is not a precise science.
Astronomers have now developed visibility charts. These are graphs that provide fairly accurate guidelines for when the new moon might be visible. While no claims have been made as to their precision, what is certain is that these charts can determine fairly accurately when the moon will NOT be visible.
Further, the charts have been shown to be fairly accurate in their determination of where in the world the new moon might be visible.
Thus, while we have precise information about the BIRTH of the moon, the science of visibility is still uncertain. What is certain is that we can fairly accurately determine when the NEW MOON will NOT be visible.
If so, why the confusion?
This is the crux of the matter. The Saudis are notorious for making claims of moonsighting when it is impossible to sight the NEW MOON. And their paid agents propagate these totally false and un-Islamic claims that go against the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
Take, for instance, this year’s Eid al-Adha.
Already, Saudi propagandists are out with their claims. Some organizations like the Fiqh Council of North America—a body of self-appointed ‘experts’ some of them on the payroll of the Saudi regime—have announced that they would follow the decision of the medieval kingdom about the determination of Hajj and, therefore, Eid al Adha.
They have made their position quite clear: they will follow the Saudis, not the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
Is there one ayah in the Majestic Qur’an or one hadith of the noble Messenger (pbuh) that supports this position? If not, why should Muslims follow these agents of one of the most obnoxious regimes in the world that is out to destroy Islam.
Every Muslim has a clear choice: do we want to follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) or some camel-jockeys from the backwaters of the Najdi desert?
The Najdi Bedouins have also exposed themselves as allies of the Zionists and imperialists and will oppose any expression of Islamic self-determination.
If Muslims do not wish to be gripped by endless confusion year after year, they must reject the claims made by the Saudis, the avowed enemies of Allah and His noble Messenger (pbuh) and follow the Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah.
To recap: Eid al Fitr was on July 6, 2016. The month of Shawwal was 30 days (this has already been established). The month of Dhul Qadah (the month preceding the month of Dhul Hijjah) can be only 29 or 30 days; it cannot be 28 days.
Thus, Eid al Adha cannot be earlier than MONDAY SEPTEMBER 12; it could even be Tuesday September 13 but certainly, NOT Sunday September 11.
Those that want to follow the Saudis are violating the Qur’an, the Prophetic Sunnah as well as violating common sense.
Is that the correct course for any Muslim to adopt?