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Hilal Determines Beginning of Islamic MonthOmar Afzal 9/17/07
Allah and His Messenger (S) provide clear guidance that:
CFCO’s calculations and efforts are aimed to ensure that a Hilal has been observed within the United States whereas the calculated dates advanced by the ISNA Fiqh Council are intended to dispense with it. Let us look to what CFCO did and how ISNA and some other Muslim groups decided the date?
Dr. Zulfiqar Shah (Islamic Horizon, Sep/Oct. 2006 p. 51, para 3) wrote:
“There is no need for the Muslims to resort to actual sighting, if they now have knowledge and access to authentically accurate calculations.”
ISNA Fiqh Council claims: “Reliable astronomical methods are now available …for the determination of Islamic dates of Ramadan and the two Eids.”
Since 2006 ISNA’s calculated dates have given the Muslims the false impression that they can abandon Hilal (the sighted moon) for Ramadan and Eid. For Eid al-Adha it had abandoned the “Sighted in the USA” long ago, and reversed itself again in 2000.
Reliable Method for Determining the Month
ISNA FC should accept the fact that:
The Moon at Conjunction
Besides abandoning the Sunnah of the Messenger (S), the conjunction cannot determine the beginning of the month of Ramadan, as there is no Hilal to see at the instant of the New Moon. Also it cannot end the month by the Messenger’s (S) words: “La tuftiru ...”
ISNA experts appear to be oblivious of the background when the Qur’anic Aayah 2:189 was revealed.
The Jews in Medina followed the Jewish calendar (calculated by the Conjunction at Jerusalem, still in use today), and the Messenger (S) followed the Jewish date of Yom Kippur for Ashura when he reached Medina, and found the Jews fasting. In the coming year, the Muslims recognized that the Jewish months started a day or two before the actual visibility of the moon in Medina. Allah (SWT) revealed to the Muslims that they should follow the easy, and natural phenomenon of “Sighting” – a visible moon, instead of depending on the invisible New Moon. The Messenger (S) put it into practice and asked the Muslims to follow it for determining the length of their month. In case, the horizon is clouded at sunset, then the Messenger (S) instructed the Muslims to complete 30 days of the previous month, because the moon is ALWAYS seen in the 30th evening.
(Please read other articles on this web site (Islamicmoon.com) to understand the complexities of a local or global Islamic lunar calendar.)
When to Begin a Month?
The last paragraph of Dr. Shah’s paper: “The Unity of Horizons…” states:
“The new month will start for Mecca and all the localities on the West of Mecca…”
If this is the correct way the Muslims should start the month then simply put, Taif, which is located east of Mecca should start the month next day and not on the same day as Mecca
We have explained elsewhere why ISNA’s new position accepting the Saudi Taqweem rule of: the Conjunction date + moonset AFTER the sunset” (or ISNA’s earlier position: the conjunction BEFORE 12:00Noon GMT (a variation of Saudi rule) totally ignores the “lunar visibility in Saudi Arabia or the USA.”
Saudi Dates Are Neither Shari’ah nor Astronomy
The Qur'an (2:189) and the Sunnah give very clear instructions of "La Tasumu... wa la tuftiru..." about 1) When to begin Ramadan DATE (and all Islamic dates); and 2) when to end Ramadan (and all Islamic months)?
Official Saudi announcements of Ramadan and both Eids and Saudi Ummal Qura (UQ) calendar ignore both # 1 and #2 above. Despite knowing these facts, the latest decision by ISNA, European Council and other organizations is to follow Saudi fixed dates.
It is well known that Saudi witnesses often claim sighting a moon before the conjunction.
We will use only one Saudi date to prove that Saudi fixed dates are "astronomically" incorrect also for Saudi Arabia or any country in the world.
Saudi Taqweem criteria for fixing the first date of a month is:
Let us test Eid al-Fitr 2007 date to see if it is a valid rule. The data shows:
Therefore, Eid al-Fitr date (for S. Arabia, ISNA, ECFR, etc.) is Oct. 13. 2007
Had the moonset in Makka on October 11 been only one minute later at 6:00 pm (with the sunset in Makka at 6:00 pm, instead of 5:59 pm) then Oct. 12 would be the Eid date by Umm al-Qura rule. A difference of one minute makes the difference of a date
Islamic dates are messed up because Saudis/ISNA/ECFR etc. have abandoned the Hilal of the Qur'an and the Sunnah in their zeal for "FIXED" dates without carefully evaluating the options that satisfy both the requirements of Shari'ah and geophysical facts.
By claiming that the moon’s visibility is not required by Shari’ah, ISNA negates both “What is an Islamic date/day?” and “The point of time when an Islamic month begins and ends.” Obviously, the calendar issues of fixing the day/date and month are more complex than how ISNA Fiqh Council ever imagined. It has no idea why and how the conjunction cannot replace the Hilal that the Ummah has been practicing for 1428 years?
Friday, September 14 Ramadan Date
Dr. Shah has raised the following 4 points to prove that the critics of the Fiqh Council “neither follow the Sunnah of moon sighting nor the acclaimed Ijma’.
We will very briefly mention that:
Please keep in mind that 1 or 2 witnesses rule was for ONE location only. Imam Abu Yusuf (required 2-3 from each mosque in Baghdad), Imam Jafar Sadiq (required at least 50) and Imam Khalf b. Ayyub (required 150 in Balkh) knew well the recurring mistakes and the Qadis kept on increasing the required number of witnesses to ascertain the fact of sighting a moon at the location. 1/2 rule was not for a whole country or a continent, and there is a sure method of “sighted at other locations west of the initial claim”
We are confident that our explanation contradicts all of ISNA’s basic assumptions.
What is needed is a better understanding of the geophysical facts before ISNA suggests another solution. The proposed criterion should fulfill both the Shri’ah and calendar-making rules, thoroughly checked by strict analytical logic and tested independently.
Through dozens of articles and e-mails to members of ISNA FC these points have been clarified and yet Fiqh Council comes back to the fallacy of "reliability of calculation" for Islamic months. The "Calculation of the conjunction" for the beginning and ending of an Islamic month has no basis either in Shar'iah or Islamic calendar.
We cannot change the intent of the Qur’an and the Sunnah by Fiqhi reasoning as Dr. Shah and the ISNA Fiqh Council have been doing for decades.