1978 MSA (now ISNA since 1980) created the serious
problem of fixing Ramadan and Eidain dates for the Muslims in N. America. It
replaced “Sighted moon in North America” criterion by its “News from a
Muslim country” i.e. Saudi Arabia.
In 1979, Shawwal moon could not be seen anywhere in N.
America a day after Saudis celebrated Eid, and Muslims in N. America followed
Saudis on ISNA’s advice. In 1980 the same confusion was repeated.
1981:Under public pressure, ISNA organized a meeting
in Chicago but the discussions were derailed as ISNA insisted that the real
issue is Fiqh disagreement of “Ittihad vs. Ikhtilaf al-Matal’i”, and not
erroneous sighting in Saudi Arabia. CFCO speakers at the conference, on the
other hand, insisted that it is really a matter of “Hilal’s visibility” in Saudi
Arabia and not “local vs. global sighting”. We clarified that “the whole world
is “one Malt’a but in 24 hours”. Saudi announcements always contained the
phrase: “Shuhud Udul in several places saw…” or “30-days of …completed”. CFCO
analysis of visibility data at Makkah proved beyond doubt that the moon could
never be visible there in the evening when it is claimed as sighted or the 30th
day of the lunation. It took another five years before ISNA Fiq Council could
accept Saudi mistakes
1986: IIIT (an ISNA institution) organized an
international conference of ‘experts’. The papers presented at the conference
are available as “Proceedings”. ISNA was forced to admit erroneous Saudi claims
and changed its criterion again to “Visible moon in N. America for Ramadan and
Eid al-Fitr”. For Eid al-Adha, it insisted on following Saudi official dates of
Hajj even when proven wrong. However it did not change the chaotic date-fixing.
Faulty and sometimes bogus claims of sightings within N. America plague the
Muslim community year after year. CFCO’s fact-sheets provided enough evidence to
force ISNA a retraction on several occasions.
CFCO’s questionnaire (1986) about ISNA’s decision of making
Eid al-Adha “Eid al-Hajj” and valuable papers by Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui, Maulana
Abdullah Saleem, and Mufti Taqi Usmani created enough awareness that ISNA
revised its decision after 21 years.
1999: ISNA Fiqh Council agreed that the Qur’an,
Ahadith and Fiqh do not support its “celebrating Eid al-Adha next day of Hajj”,
and decided to uniformly apply “Sighted Hilal in N. America” for all
months including Ramadan and Eidain.