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                              Bismillah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Rahiim

Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Hajj?

Some groups have been enforcing a “BID’AH” on the Muslims in N. America, and elsewhere. The fact is that there is no “Daleel” in the Qur’an or the Sunnah, but they argue that:

    1. Element of place is dominant for Eid al-Adha;
    2.
 Muslim must show unity with Hujjaj;
    3. Fasting is on the Day of Arafah (determined by the official Saudi Hajj date); and
    4. Eid al-Adha is a celebration for completing the rites of Hajj.

They quote Ayah 22:29 as the legal basis. No Fiqh ever claimed that Eid al-Adha is really Eid al-Hajj. Muslims always celebrated it to walk in the footsteps of Hadrat Ibrahim (AS).

Qur’an(The Crescent moons) are the Mawaqeet…  for (determining the date of) Hajj. (2:189). (Aayat2:185, 2:200 and 22:29 have no relevance for determining the Hajj date.

The only correct date of Eid al-Adha all over the world is 10th  Day of D. Hijja, counted from the evening D. Hijja Hilaal is seen. It is well-known that NONE of the 6 committees in S. Arabia ever see the Hilal on the officially announced dates. It is always SEEN in S. Arabia a day later.)

Hadith: Eid al-Adha is on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijja.

(All Ahadith mention only the 10th of D. Hijja as the day of Eid al-Adha. No Hadith mentions: the day after Hajj or that Eid al-Adha is a celebration of Hajj.) If Eid al-Adha was a celebration of the completion of Hajj then why did the Messenger (S) pray it regularly for 9 years when there was no Hajj for the Muslims?

Fiqh: Eid al-Adha date, like Eid al-Fitr, must be fixed by the crescent moon.
                           
(Fath al-Bari: Hilal D. Hijja kal-Fitr)

(No Fiqh ever fixed Eid al-Adha date by the Hajj date in Makkah Mukarramah)     

(The Messenger (SAW), Sahaaba and Tabi’in always prayed on the 10th  D. Hijja by their sighting, irrespective of when was Hajj in Makka. The Ummah has been doing it on the 10th D. Hijja. NEVER BEFORE anyone fixed it on the ‘Day after Arafah in Makka.) Similarly, the Messenger (S) always fasted on the 9th day of D. Hijja by the date in Medina (or wherever he was, as Ahadith mention it clearly, and not when the Day of Arafah was in Makka.

Fixing Eid al-Adha date by Saudi-fixed Hajj date is a BID’AH as several prominent Fuqaha have declared. It is a ‘Bid’ah’ of the worst kind when it is certain that the Saudi date of Hajj is 8 of D. Hijja.

(Many Ulema accept that Saudi dates of Hajj cannot be based on the ‘Ahilla’ of the Qur’an and Hadith, and yet they persist in their folly by arguing that Eid al-Adha is ‘Eid al-Hajj’.)

* Eid prayer on the 9th day of D. Hijja has NO meaning.
* A Sacrifice on 9th does not fulfill (Wajib) ‘sacrifice’of Eid al-Adha

Unity of the Muslims will come only by following the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and not by deviating from them.   May Allah save us from following a “Bid’ah”. Amin.

If your Masjid  or Center follows ISNA please ask these questions from any Alim who asks you to follow Saudi dates:

1. What are the 'Mawaqeet' for fixing the Islamic dates and for Hajj?       (See Ayah 2:189)
       
          a) The crescents (Ahilla)

       b) The New Moon

          c) Saudi Taqweem

2. What should the Muslims do when it is beyond any doubt that the Saudi dates are fixed against the Qu'anic directive?              

a) Follow their actual sighting

b) Follow Saudi date even if wrong

(If the Muslims follow Saudi dates {Fast on Saudi 9th D. Hijja (local 8th ), and pray on Saudi 10th D. Hijja (local 9th )} then several complications arise).

1) What should the Muslims do on their actual 9th and 10th D. Hijja?

             b) What about their "Udhiya"? What day should they count as the day of "Nahr" locally?

If they do it according to the Saudi date they are doing it on actual 9th D. Hijja. A 'sacrifice' made before the prayer on the 10th D. Hijja is not counted as fulfilling the obligatory "Udhiya". Another one has to be done. Obviously, any of the "Udhiya" done on the wrong Saudi date is on 9th D.Hijja according to the 'Miqaat' specified in the Qur'an.

        2) Should we pray again on the actual 10th day of D. Hijja?
      
        3) Is Eid al-Adha prayer made on local actual 9th  (though Saudi 10th) valid?

Hadith 

1. How did the Messenger (S) fix the day of "Nahr" in Medina?

    a) By the sighted crescent wherever he was.    or     b) By the day of Arafah in Makkah.

2. When did he (S) start Eid al-Adha prayer?

    a) After Hajj was made obligatory in the 10th year  or  b) From the second year in Medina

(There was no Hajj for the first 8 years the Messenger (S) lived in Medina. But he and all Sahaba prayed Eid al-Adha from the second year on.)

3. Did the Messenger (S) ever try to check Arafah/Nahr date in Makka or adjusted his dates accordingly?

4. Did any of the Khulafa al-Rashidun ever try to announce the dates of Arafah/Nahr in Makka to the Muslims living outside Makka so that they do not miss Hajj, Eid prayer and Sacrifice?

(In several instances the Companions living outside Makka missed the Hajj when they reached Makka on the 9th day according to their sighting. The Hajj in Makka was over because of an earlier sighting in Makka)

5. Did any of the Sahaba ever try to send the news of Hajj date to other towns or acted on the news?

(Umar b. Abdel Aziz used to alert the governors of various provinces about the dates of Ramadan ahead of time as mentioned in Ahadith).

6. Did the Sahaba ever decide their Nahr/Prayer dates on the "news" from Makka or witnesses from another place if a crescent was not seen in their town?   (Kuraib’s famous Hadith clarifies this point well)

Fiqh

1. Did any of the Fiqh Schools ever issue a ruling that the Muslims living outside Makka must/may fix their Eid al-Adha date by the Arafah day in Makka?

(To avoid chaos and dissension among the Hujjaj the Fuqaha agreed that the valid date of Arafah would be when D.Hijja crescent moon was seen in Makka, and not when the Hujjaj saw a "Hilal" in their hometowns away from Makka. It was only to avoid Hajj on two or three days, as it happens now at Eid al-Fitr all over the world. )

2. Is there any new "Dalil" now to tie Arafah/Nahr all over the world to 9-10th D.Hijja in Makka?

(If the day of Nahr in Makka is the determining factor then the countries east of Makka from Australia to Pakistan may have Eid prayer and sacrifice before the day of Nahr begins in Makka. Should they wait till next day?)

(The Muslims living west of Makka may often see a crescent moon a day ahead of when it is actually visible in Makka. Should they wait a day, in case Saudis ever start following the sighted crescent moon?)

3. Why is it not a 'Bid'ah', and imposing an undue hardship on the Muslims scattered all over the globe?

Facts

1. The earth is a globe, not a flat field.

(The Moon cannot be visible all over the world at the same time.)

2. Once a crescent moon is first visible at any place, every place west of it (in a parabola) will see it. Most of the world will see it within 24 hours. (A 'lunar' Islamic day/date).

3. The moon is first seen at a different place every month.

4. The Muslims living west of Makka will often see a crescent a day ahead of Makka.

5. A lunar day/date is always two solar days/dates as they are fixed differently. The solar date is fixed by the International Dateline in the Pacific Ocean and the day/date begins at mid-night locally. The Lunar dateline is fixed by the earliest visible crescent and the day/date locally begins after the sunset.

6. The Lunar dateline moves westwards every month.  

Some More Questions

1. Why the Saudi Hajj, Ramadan and Eidain dates are always ahead of the rest of the world? In other words, how can they see a crescent moon before others who are living west of them?

2. Can a crescent moon be ‘seen’ before the conjunction (as the Saudi authorities announced for  Ramadan and Eidain 1419, Dec. 18,1998, Jan.17 and March 17 1999)?

3. What if Saudi fixed date of Hajj makes our D. Q’ada only 28 days, and D.Hijja 31 days?

4. If the Saudi authorities ever start following the 'sighted’ crescent for D. Hijja, should the Muslims in N. America who will often see D. Hijja crescent a day ahead of the Saudis wait till D. Hijja 11 for their Prayer/Nahr? The Muslims living in the east of Makka will face a reverse situation. Their 10th of D. Hijja may often be a day later than Makka. Should they adjust their dates according to Makka?

5. Not only prayer/Nahr will be affected by any such adjustment but the days of “Tashriq” as well.

The answer is very clear. The Muslims must follow the Quran, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the Ummah for the last 1400 years. The Qur’an specifies the crescent moons as determining the Islamic dates, and the Hajj. Saudi authorities fix the Islamic and Hajj dates by other than 'Ahilla', and therefore the Muslims must not follow them. We checked the books of Fiqh, and did not find any support for the assertion that Eidul Adha  should be made on the basis of Hajj decision. The Hadith of the Prophet - peace be upon him - that al-Hajj yauma yahujju al-nas is for those who make Hajj. Of course those who go to Hajj must go to 'Arafah according to the decision of the authorities there, even if that is contrary to the astronomical data or someone's own moon sighting. But people in far away lands do not make Hajj in their locations. They have to make Eid prayer and make Qurbani. They cannot have Eid on 9th of Dhul Hijjah, if the moon was not sighted in their location and sighted in Arabia one day before. They cannot have Udhhiyaha a day earlier.

Fasting on the Day Of Arafah        Omar Afzal  CFCO          

The answer to the question of Fasting on the Day of Arafah, as the respected Mufti from S. Arabia explains is very simple if we keep in mind a few basic facts:

1. The earth is a globe and not a flat field.

2. There is no reason that D.Hijja crescent moon (or any other month's moon) will ALWAYS BE FIRST SEEN in S. Arabia. A Crescent moon is first seen from a different place on earth every month.

3. S. Arabia decides about Islamic dates NOT BY THE HILAAL (the crescent moon that you first see after sunset) but by calculating:  Moon is setting after sunset (even by a second, although the claim is always made that a "moon was seen at....(many places), by a large number of "Adil" witnesses in the kingdom", or 30 days of the month are completed. Most Arab states just follow S. Arabia.)

4. If a moon is really seen in S. Arabia/Egypt or anywhere in Asia, Europe, or N. Africa it will CERTAINLY BE SEEN in N. America 8-10 hours later. If it is not seen on a clear sky (and remember the whole of N. America is never cloudy just at sunset) then Saudi claims are FALSE.

5. It is also a fact that if 30 days of the Islamic month are really completed then a moon will ALWAYS BE SEEN. If it is not seen on a clear sky then 30 days are NOT COMPLETE.

ISNA's Eid al-Adha (Earlier criterion) Evaluated by A Renowned Scholar

By: Maulana Mufti Muhammed. Taqi Usmani - Deputy Chairman, Islamic Fiqh Academy – OIC (Jeddah) ; Vice President & Professor (for over 25 years) of Religious and Arabic Sciences, Fiqh and Hadith at Darul Uloom (Karachi); Chairman, Shariah Council, Accounting & Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (Bahrain); Judge, Shariat Appellate Bench, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Shariah Advisor, HSBC Amanah Finance, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al Baraka Group, Citi Islamic Investment Bank, Dow Jones Islamic Index, First Islamic Investment Bank, Saudi American Bank, and others.; Author of several Islamic books and Editor of several Islamic magazines, including Albalagh International.

Responding to ISNA Fiqh Council's (earlier) claim, "Element of place is dominant in Eid al-Adha," Maulana Mufti M. Taqi Usmani, a renowned scholar of Darul Uloom wrote the following: (May 2000)

I have gone through the article of ISNA and with the utmost respect for their sentiment for Muslim unity, I am forced to say that the view expressed in the article (Eid al-Adha on next day of Arafat) is in total disagreement with the teachings of Quran and Sunnah, and with the Shari'ah position recognized throughout the centuries. This is an unprecedented view which has never been adopted by any of the Muslim jurists during the past 1400 years, and it has a number of intrinsic defects and anomalies, some of which are summarized here.

1.             The article admits that the celebration of Eid al-Fitr should be tied to the sighting of the moon in each country and should not be linked with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, however, the article calls for celebration of Eid al-Adha according to the Saudi Calendar regardless of the local dates, which means Eid al-Adha will be celebrated in North America on 8th or 9th of Zul-Hajjah. It is thus clear that the theory proposed in ISNA's article is impractical.

2.             The article has laid much emphasis on the concept of unity of the Muslim Ummah, which no one can deny. At the same time, however, one must appreciate that unity does not mean that the entire Muslim Ummah throughout the world should perform their acts of worship at one and the same time, because it is physically not possible. It is evident that when people in Saudi Arabia are performing their Fajr prayers, those in North America may still have not completed their Isha prayers of the previous day. Similarly, when Muslims in Los Angeles offer their Fajr prayers, those in India and Pakistan are offering their Maghrib or Isha prayer of the same day.

If it is made obligatory on all the Muslims in the world to offer their acts of worship at one and the same time for the sake of unity, such unity can never materialize (because of the time differences). It is, therefore, obvious that offering one's acts of worship at different times do not affect the concept of Muslim Unity.

What does the Muslim unity mean? It means that all Muslims should treat each other with brotherly sympathy and affection and should not spread disorder and dissention among them. Nor should they invent new ideas foreign to the teachings of Quran and the Sunnah which may lead to division and conflict among Muslims.

It is also astonishing that the article views the celebration of Eid al-Adha on different days as being against the concept of Ummah while in the matter of celebration of Eid ai-Fitr, this concept is dispensed with. If the celebration of Eid al-Fitr on different days does not affect the concept of unity, how can it be said to harm unity in the case of Eid al-Adha?

3.             It is true that Eid al-Adha falls immediately after the day of Arafat in Saudi Arabia, but it is not necessary that the Muslims in every country should follow the same dates in their respective areas. Hajj, no doubt, is tied with a particular place but the celebration of Eid al-Adha is not confined to that place alone. It is celebrated everywhere in the world and cannot be tied to the Saudi calendar.

4.             The article admits that the celebration of Eid al-Adha in other countries was never linked with its celebration in Saudi Arabia throughout the past 14 centuries. This, the author's claim was because of a lack of communication facilities. With vastly improved communication today, they argued that everyone almost anywhere can find out the day of Hajj, and should celebrate Eid al-Adha based on Saudi calendar.

There is a clear admission in this argument that it is not obligatory according to Quran or the Sunnah to celebrate Eid al-Adha according to Saudi calendar. Had this been so, Muslims would have tried their best to find the exact date of Hajj in Saudi Arabia. It is not correct to say that it was not possible in those days for people living outside Saudi Arabia to know the exact date of Hajj, because this date is normally determined on the first night of Zul-Hijjah. There is a nine day period until which is more than sufficient to acquire this information. However, no jurists has ever stressed that such information be collected in order to celebrate Eid al-Adha according to Saudi dates.

Further, if the argument of the article is accepted and it is held that the real intention of Quran and Sunnah was to link the celebration of Eid al-Adha with the Saudi dates, as a mandatory provision for all Muslims in the world, it means that the Shari'ah has stressed a principle which was not acceptable for 1300 years. Is it not against the Quranic declaration that Allah does not make a thing mandatory unless it is practical for the human beings.

If the authors argue that the celebration of Eid al-Adha was not linked with the dates in Makkah in the past but it has become a mandatory requirement of the Shari'ah now, then the question arises, who has abrogated the previous principle and on what basis? There is no provision in Quran or the Sunnah which orders the Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Adha according to their local dates up to a particular time and to link it with the dates in Makkah thereafter. Whoever considers this and similar questions arising out of this unprecedented theory advanced in the article can appreciate its fallacy.

5.             Finally, I would like to inform you that the question of sighting the moon for each lunar month including Zul-Hijjah was thoroughly discussed at the annual sessions of the Islamic Fiqh Academy (held in Jordan, October 11-16, 1986) attended by more than a hundred outstanding scholars of Shari'ah. The academy adopted the resolution recommended that all Muslim countries should determine all the lunar months including Zul-Hijjah on the same basis for both Eid al-Fitr as well as Eid al-Adha.

This resolution represents the consensus of Muslim jurists throughout the world. The proposal contained in the ISNA article, however, goes totally against this consensus - (see note below).

Before parting with the subject, I would like to emphasize that such unprecedented proposals can never advance the cause of Muslim unity. Rather, they may create a new point of disunity and dissention among Muslims. Before venturing such opinions as definite "Fatwa", these should be discussed at some responsible international forum of contemporary Muslim jurists like the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah.May 2000.

PLEASE NOTE: Since the publication of the above ruling, ISNA held a conference in November 2000 and subsequently have changed their position - to follow local moon sighting news, instead (Alhamdulillah!).                      http://www.ummah.net/moonsighting/fatawah/isnaqa.htm.uk>

Statement of the National Islamic Shura Council of N America
         Concerning the Determination of Eidul Adha 
Plainfield, IN, 12/30/2002 (ISNA) ::

The National Islamic Shura Council decided unanimously to adopt the following statement and recommendation of the Fiqh Council of North America

Last year, the Fiqh Council of North America recommended to the Shura Council of North America that the determination of Eidul Adha be based on sighting the Crescent in North America.  This recommendation was based on numerous Fatwas of several prominent scholars from various parts of the world.  They indicated that there is no sound basis for distinction between the determination of Ramadan and Eidul Adha, either by unity of Matla’ or difference of Matla’.  A long-standing position of the Fiqh Council has been to determine the beginning and end of Ramadan on the basis of sighting the crescent in North America.  Determination of Eidul Adha on the same basis was seen as being more consistent.  Furthermore, a considerable segment of the Muslim community in North America appeared more inclined to the above Fatwas.  It was the best estimate of the Fiqh Council that by adopting these Fatwas, there may be greater unity among Muslims.

The Fiqh Council’s recommendation was contingent on educating the Muslim community prior to Eid about the impending change and the reasons behind in.  This did not materialize.  Due to the unfamiliarity with this information prior to Eidul Adha, heated discussions and lesser unity occurred in several communities, contrary to what was hoped.

There is room in Islamic Fiqh to adopt a weaker, but still acceptable opinion if that achieves greater benefit (maslaha); in that case greater unity.  Therefore, the Fiqh Council recommends the restoration of the previous method of determination of Eidul Adha to follow the announcement in Makkah about the beginning of the month of Dhul Hijjah.

It is hoped that this recommendation will bring greater unity, though not unanimity. We strongly urge the Muslim community in North America to show greater unity by following the announcements of the Shura Council of North America.

The Fiqh Council recommends, however, that the determining of Ramadan and Eidul Fitr should continue to be based on the sighting of the crescent in North America. A minimum standard of unity is to celebrate Eid on the same day on the metro area level. Meanwhile, the Fiqh Council shall continue to consult other scholars and to work with the authorities who decide the timing of Hajj, until this issue is resolved.

The Fiqh Council is in the process of issuing a more detailed statement on scholars’ opinions on this issue.  An effort will be made to contact Saudi authorities concerning their methodology of moon sighting.

                    ICNA on Fixing Eid al-Adha Date

ICNA’s support for the recent Shura Council decision to fix Eid al-Adha date in N. America by the Hajj date in Makka (even if it is the 9th day of D. Hijja here) was to say the least, regrettable and highly questionable.

Eid al-Adha is on the 10th day of D. Hijja by the sighted moon.

•   The Qur’an affirms “Ahilla” (the crescent moons) as the “Mawaqeet” for all Islamic dates and for the Hajj. (2:189)

•   The Messeneger (S) obligated the Muslims to pray Eid al-Adha on the 10th of D. Hijja (wherever they are on that day), and make their sacrifice. He said: the sacrifice done before Eid al-Adha prayer does not fulfill the obligation.

•    All Ahadith mention 10th of D. Hijja as the date of prayer and sacrifice. None mentions Eid al-Adha as Eid al-Hajj or complementary to Hajj rituals.

•    Muslim Ummah followed this Qur’anic instruction and the practice of the Messenger (S) for the last 1400+ years.

•    No Fiqh school ever obligated the Muslims all over the world to fix their Eid al-Adha by the Hajj date in Makka. None ever claimed that it is Eid al-Hajj.

The “Bid’ah” of fixing Eid al-Adha date by the Hajj date in Makka started in some Arab countries and Turkey not long ago on the assumption the Hajj/Arafah in Makka in on 9th. Therefore, the next day would be the 10th all over the world.

Sh. Baaz warned in an article that there is no valid “Daleel” to support that all the Muslims have to follow the Makka horizon for moon-sighting. Sh. Uthaimeen urged the Muslims in N. America to follow the sighting in North America for fixing the Eid al-Adha date. Just two years ago, the Shura Council, following ISNA Fiqh Council, confirmed that all the Ulema who were consulted in this matter said that they did not find any supporting argument in the Qur’an and the Sunnah for fixing Eid date by Hajj date.

ICNA should publicly repudiate this blatantly wrong decision of the Shura Council decision. (It violates all the norms of Shariah, and the physical reality. Anybody can see by his own eyes that Saudi’s announce:” The moon sighted” but 8-11 hours later it is not seen in N. America.)

Many of the Imams who depended on ICNA’s decision to follow the “Hilal” in N, America are disturbed as they don’t want to ask the Muslims in their center/mosque to celebrate Eid al-Adha on the 9th. Day of D. Hijja, only because the Shura Council has reverted to a wrong position. ICNA’s decision to support Shura Council’s fixed date will only add fuel to fire and create more “disunity” among the Muslims.

MESSAGE FOR DHUL HIJJAH & 'EID AL-'ADHA      from Zaytuna Institute

With sightings of the crescent for Dhul Hijja here in the Bay area Thursday evening, and indeed throughout North America, Zaytuna Institute is pleased to announce to all of our friends and supporters that Eid al-Adha here in North America will be on Sunday, February 1, 2004. As we have done for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, we wish to offer the believers advise for the coming days and the Eid.

1. Our decision to base our timing of Eid al-Adha on confirmed North American crescent sightings stems from the following considerations:

a)        The timing of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha should be based on a single methodology. 

To base Ramadan on a North American crescent sighting, and Eid al-Adha on the calendar of Saudi Arabia is to negate the relevance of the Hijri calendar as a determinant of the Islamic dates. Were we to adopt the dual criteria for determining our dates, we would in effect be working with two calendars, one based on actual North American crescent-sightings, predicated on variant geographical and astronomical conditions; the other based on the astronomical new moon. This would in turn lead to a negation of many Prophetic traditions relating to crescent-sighting, such as His saying, Peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him:

The two months of Eid will not both be incomplete[1], [those month's being] Ramadan and Dhul Hijja.[2][2]

    b)     The advocates of coordinating Eid al-Adha with the Pilgrimage must produce a legal proof to support their claim. The two Eids were legislated during the second year after the Hijra. After arriving in Medina, the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah upon Him, inquired, when informed that there were two days that the people of Medina were celebrating (Nayruz and Mahrajan), What are these two days?They said, We used to celebrate them during the pre-Islamic period.The Messenger of Allah, Peace and Blessings of Allah upon Him, said, Allah has substituted for you two days better than them, The Day of the Sacrifice, and the day of Fast-breaking (al-Adha and al-Fitr).[3][3]

The Hajj was legislated eight years later, in some opinions seven years later.[4][4] Hence, for seven or eight years it was impossible to coordinate Eid al-Adha with the standing on Arafat. The question then becomes, when was this coordinating instituted? 

c)     The effort to base all of the Islamic dates, every year, on one country, with a total disregard for the actual crescent sighting, is problematic, and also negates the relevance of the Hijri calendar. The proof for the unified crescent sighting is the saying of the Noble Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon Him, Fast based on its [the crescent moons] sighting, and break the fast based on its sighting.[5][5] It is well-known that the Hilal first appears at a different point in the moons orbit each month. This may be over the Middle East one month, over Africa the next, over the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, or over North America. This divergent pattern is a manifestation of the justice of Allah. Eventually, every land will have the honor of first sighting the crescent moon. To fix the timing of all of the Islamic occasions, Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, Hajj and Eid al-Adha on any one country, year after year, with total disregard of the actual sighting, is an extremely problematic practice.

d)     As for the saying attributed to Imam al-Tirmidhi that mistakes in the matter of determining the Islamic occasions are of no consequence, based on the Prophetic tradition, The Fast is when you all fast, breaking the fast is when you all break the fast, and the day of sacrifice is when you all sacrifice,[6][6] Imam al-Tirmidhi mentions that this is the opinion of some of the scholars. Others, such as al-Khattabi, are of the opinion that such mistakes are only permissible on issues involving personal reasoning, such as seeing the moon on the 30th day, completing the full month, and then being informed that the moon was in fact seen on the 29th day.[7][7] Such mistakes, as mentioned by Prof. Ahmad Hasan in his English language commentary on the Sunan of Abu Dawud, are overlooked if they are occasional, not constant.[8][8] Similarly, such mistakes do not disregard the actual crescent sighting. In these days and times, when computer programs and models can create very accurate visibility curves as to when the crescent might first be sighted, it is inexcusable to overlook repeated mistakes in this matter.

e)     As for the contention that local crescent sightings should not be considered for distances greater than 700 miles, the distance between Damascus and Madina, locations of significance in the Hadith of Kurayb, which serves as one of the strongest basis for the legitimacy of local sightings, this distance has never been universally accepted as a demarcating distance. Imam al-Qurtubi reports that the position of Malik was that a sighting in Basra is valid for the people of Yemen, a distance of over 1200 miles.[9][9] Ibn Rushd and Ibn Juzayy considered the distance to be considered for a regional sighting to be as great as the distance between Islamic Spain (al-Andalus) and Madina, a distance of over 3,000 miles. Ibn Abd al-Barr, the great Maliki Hadith master, considered the distance acceptable to be united by a single sighting to be from al-Andalus to Khurasan in Iran, a distance of over 4,000 miles.[10][10] Hence, one can see that the establishment of a North American crescent sighting is a logical move that has a strong basis in traditional Islamic scholarship.

2. The first ten days of Dhul-Hijja are blessed days, which we frequently neglect. The Noble Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon him, said, There are no days in which righteous deeds done during them are more beloved to God than these days, referring to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijja. They said, O Messenger of God! Not even struggling in the Way of God? He said, Not even struggling in the way of God. Except [the struggle] of a man who goes forth in the Way of God with his life and his wealth, then he returns with neither.[11][11]

During these blessed days we should try to exert ourselves in worship, for the Ulama mention that the virtue of these days surpass even the virtue of the days Ramadan. Among the indications of the distinction of these days is the special mention made of them as a group or individually in both the Quran and the Sunnah. The above-mentioned Hadith suffices as an indication from the Sunnah, although we will mention other indications from that source shortly. As for the Quran, God says, I swear by the Dawn, the Ten Nights, the Even and the Odd.[12][12] The Dawn, refers to the first or the tenth day of Dhul Hijja.[13][13] The ten nights refer to the first ten nights of Dhul Hijja, as related by Ibn Abbas and others.[14][14] The even and the odd refer to the Day of Sacrifice and Jumuah.[15][15] These ten days are also the well-known days mentioned in the verse, &and they remember the Name of God during the well-known days over the beasts We have provided them.[16][16]

The religion was also completed during these days. Umar ibn al-Khattab, May God be pleased with him, relates that the verse, This day have I perfected your religion for you, and completed My Favor unto you, and chosen Islam as your religion, was revealed as the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon him, stood at Arafa [on the ninth of Dhul Hijja] during the Farewell Pilgrimage.[17][17]

Bearing these and many other virtues of these days in mind, we should be especially diligent in increasing our righteous acts during them. The following acts are especially recommended:

a)     We should try to fast as many of the first nine days as possible. We should make an extra effort to fast the Day of Arafa. It is related in Sahih Muslim from Abu Qatada, May God be pleased with him, that the Noble Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon him, said, "I anticipate that Fasting the Day of Arafa will atone for the sins of the previous and coming year.[18][18]

b)     We should carefully monitor our speech, what we listen to, and what we allow our gaze to fall on during these days, again, especially on the Day of Arafa. The Noble Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon him, said, "[Concerning] the Day of Arafa, whoever controls his hearing, gaze, and speech on that day, he will be forgiven.[19][19]

c)     We should be excessive in repeating the declaration of Tawhid, with special emphasis on the phrase, "La ilaha illallah, Wahdahu La Sharika lah, Lahul Mulk, wa lahul Hamd, biyadihi Khayr, wa Huwa ala kulli Shayin Qadir." [20][20] Imam Tirmidhi relates that this was the supplication the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon him, repeated more than any other on the Day of Arafa.[21][21]

d)     We should pray for forgiveness and liberation from the Hellfire during these days, especially the Day of Arafa. Imam Ali, May God be pleased with him, relates, God liberates people from the Hellfire everyday. And there is no day when more people are liberated from the Hellfire than the Day of Arafa.[22][22]

Eid al-Fitr commemorates the end of the struggle undertaken by the fasting believers. Eid al-Adha commemorates the end of the struggle undertaken by the pilgrims to Mecca and the Sacred Precincts. The latter also commemorates the struggle of our father Abraham, Peace be upon him, and his family. Abrahams struggle revolves around his pure devotion to God, and his willingness to sacrifice everything he possessed for his Lord, even his very son.

During this blessed season, let us all strive to renew our commitment to our faith. Let us commit ourselves to the great struggle of carving out for our community a dignified place in these Western lands. Let us renew the spirit of sacrifice and selflessness in this world of selfishness and egoism gone mad. However, let us also take time to enjoy ourselves during the coming holiday. But even as we enjoy ourselves, let us keep the remembrance of God ever present on our tongues and in our hearts. Our beloved Prophet described our great holiday best when he mentioned, concerning the three days which follow the Eid day, They are days of eating, drinking, and remembering God.[23][23]

May each year when these blessed days return find you all in the very best of states. May your life be dominated by the remembrance of God. In all that we do, May He be glorified.

 On behalf of your servants at the Zaytuna Institute,                 Imam Zaid Shakir

[1][1] The scholars differ as to the meaning of this expression (&will not both be incomplete). Ibn Hajar mentions in Fath al-Bari that one of the well-known meanings among the righteous forebears was that both months will not be 29 days in one year. This opinion is related from Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Imam Ahmads opinion is supported by a Prophetic tradition, The two months [RamadanandDhulHijja] will not be 58 days.See  Ibn Hajar al-Asqilani, Fath al-Bari: Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, (Damscus, Syria: Dar al-Fayha, 1997) vol. 4, pp. 160-162.
[2][2] Related by al-Bukhari #1912; Muslim #2526, 2527; Abu Dawud #2323; al-Tirmidhi #692; and Ibn Majah #1659.
[3][3] Abu Dawud al-Sajistani, Sunan Abu Dawud, Al-Riyad, Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Salaam, 1999/1420) p. 170.
[4][4] Dr. Mustafa al-Bugha, et. al, al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, (Damascus, Syria: Dar al-Qalam, 1998/1419) p. 370.
[5][5] This Hadith is related by Imam al-Bukhari #1959; and Muslim #2496.
[6][6] Related by al-Tirmidhi #697. See Imam Abu Isa Muhammad al-Tirmidhi, Jamial-Tirmidhi, (al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Salaam, 1999/1420) pp. 177-178.
[7][7] This is a paraphrase of al-Khattabis opinion mentioned in Muhammad Shams al-Haqq al-Adhim Abadi, Awn al-Mabud: Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud, (Cairo, Egypt: Dar al-Hadith, 2001/1422) p. 411.
[8][8] See Prof. Ahmad Hasan, Trans., Sunan Abu Dawud, (Lahore, Pakistan: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf 1984) vol. 2, p. 635.
[9][9] Muhammad Ahmad al-Qurtubi, al-Jamili Ahkam al-Quran (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1407/1987), vol. 2, p. 296.
[10][10] For a fuller discussion of this issue see Dr. Khalid Yahya Blankinship, On The Moon Sighting of Ramadan.Grassroots: The Journal of MANA, Fall 2004, p. 16.
[11][11] Ibn Hajar al-Asqilani, vol. 2, p. 589, #969.
[12][12] Al-Quran 89:1-2.
[13][13] See Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lataif al-Maarif (Damascus: Dar Ibn Kathir, 1416/1997), p. 470.
[14][14] Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Quran al-Adhim (Beirut, Sida: Al-Maktaba al-Asriyya, 1416/1996), vol. 4, p. 459.
[15][15] Ibn Kathir, vol. 4, p. 459.
[16][16] Al-Quran 22:28.
[17][17] Ibn Hajar, vol. 1, pp. 141-142, #45.  Muslim, #3017.
[18][18] Muslim, #1162.
[19][19] Musnad Imam Ahmad, vol. 1, no. 329.
[20][20] The translation of this phrase is, There is no God but Allah. He is alone without  partners. His is the dominion, and unto Him is all praise. With Him is all good, and He over all things has power.
[21][21] Al-Tirmidhi, #3585.
[22][22] Quoted in Ibn Rajab, p. 494.
[23][23] Muslim #1141