Why are Muslim Dates in a Mess?
Muslims around the world
started Ramadan 2005 on four solar days/dates (instead of one lunar day/date).
1. Monday: Nigeria (some Sunday also)
2. Tuesday: Saudi Arabia, Egypt (Most
of Middle East, and followers of Saudi dates)
3. Wednesday: Australia, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Brunei, Turkey, Africa, Europe and Americas
4. Thursday: Bangladesh, India,
Pakistan, Central Asia
This is not the first time
it has happened. We at the CFCO have been witnessing this mess for more than
thirty years, especially after the communication revolution.
Why are the Islamic dates
in such a mess?
Islamic dates are confusing
partly because of the crescent moon’s physical observability, but more so
because of human errors and deceptive practices.
is known for starting Ramadan and fixing Eidain dates a day or two ahead of
Saudi Arabia and Egypt
agreed in 1999 Jeddah Conference to fix the Islamic dates by “Moonset with or
after the sunset.” Earlier, Saudi dates were fixed from the conjunction (the New
Moon). The experts there ignored the fact that in some months their fixed date
will be BEFORE the conjunction?
Most Middle Eastern states
follow Saudi/Egyptian dates, though Oman sometimes waits for the Hilal to be
Bangladesh, India, and
Pakistan still follow the Hilal generally, though false witnesses some times
Muslim communities in
Europe and North America face the worst consequences. Every year they are
divided, and their younger generation curses the elders for the mess. Those who
follow the Saudi / Egyptian dates are unwilling to accept that the Saudi dates
cannot be based on a ‘sighted’ moon there though they cannot see the same moon
in N. America 8-11 hours later.
The Islamic dates can
easily be calculated if Muslims adopt a few conventions:
The date should be based on a crescent moon’s visibility somewhere in the
The date should begin at sunset from a fixed international dateline every
If the International Solar
Dateline (180E) is adopted also as the lunar dateline then Muslim experts can
easily calculate the first dates of each Islamic month when a crescent will be
generally visible at 180E.
Of course, every nook and
corner of the world will not see the crescent because its visibility is in a
parabola. But from New Zealand to Hawaii most will see the Hilal on the same
date at their sunset.
CFCO Intl. had calculated
and circulated these dates for decades since 1986, but has yet to get public
endorsement. It is also a co-signer on an appeal to King Abdullah of Saudi
Arabia to seriously consider the proposal, and remove the bottleneck.