Firstly I would like to point out that any errors in what I have written below, are my mistakes and I apologise for them and ask that I am corrected in the best of manners and in accordance with what is better from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
I’m writing this in the blessed and glorious month of Ramadan and what a glorious month it is!
All the Shayateen are chained up and the Gates of Paradise are open. It’s a great time to do as much ibaadat as you can, or at least improve your situation from what it was before. Millions of Muslims around the world are united under Ramadan and insha’Allah, fasting for the sake of Allah alone.
The key word here is UNITED. We are all united in fasting, united in worship of Allah, united in trying to improve ourselves and united in following the Command of Allah.
So why do we have to have Eid on different days? How Dis-united is that? We show ourselves to be an Ummah in the month of Ramadan and then it all falls apart again afterwards. It is not in the interest of any Muslim to be disunited – it is not good for the Muslim Ummah to be splintered the way it is.
I am, of course, talking about the situation in the UK, where the divisions amongst the Muslims are such that there are two separate days for Eid – in the same country!!
This is, of course, a nonsense. You don’t have to be a scholar or even a learned person to know that there should only be ONE Eid. Every Muslim knows that and more importantly, every Muslim wants that – ONE Eid!! So why don’t we have one Eid? Let’s go through the logic of this…
FOLLOWING THE MOON
I don’t think anyone will disagree with me if I say that Ramadan, and every month in the Islamic calendar, begins with the waxing crescent seen from a new moon. Basically this is the thin crescent of the new moon. There is no argument amongst the Muslims – nor scholars – that it is this thin crescent that we are looking for and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Sahabas would look for this crescent in the sky. The sunnah way is to physically sight the crescent. This is an agreed and undisputed point.
Now if you use scientific calculations to predict the visibility of the crescent and when this should appear, then this should actually coincide with a sighting of the moon. After all, we’re not looking for two moons, are we?
If science tells us that, for example, a crescent will form on a Tuesday, then we should be looking for a crescent on that Tuesday. If we can’t see it, the Sunnah is to not fast and wait for the next day. So Wednesday comes and we look for the moon. If we see it, we should now be looking at a crescent that is TWO days old – not a newly born crescent. Both Sighting and Science should coincide – not give out different answers and different moons! If we end up looking at a crescent that is two days old, then we start to fast and then make up for any missed days of fast after Eid – that is the Sunnah that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught us.
Narrated Ibn Umar: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “When you see the crescent (of the month of Ramadan), start fasting, and when you see the crescent (of the month of Shawwal), stop fasting; and if the sky is overcast (and you can’t see it) then regard the crescent (month) of Ramadan (as of 30 days).” [Bukhari]
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar: Allah’s Apostle said, “The month (can be) 29 nights (ie. days) ad do not fast til you see the moon, and if the sky is overcast, then complete Sha’ban as thirty days.” [Bukhari]
From these two hadiths we get guidance from the Prophet Muhammad as to how to do things. Sha’ban is the month before Ramadan, and Shawwal is the month after Ramadan. Obviously what is confusing matters is the use of science to calculate when a moon crescent should appear. Regardless of whether you use science or not, sighting the moon is the Sunnah and what we should be doing – science should only be informing us and coinciding with an actual physical sighting – either way, we should still end up with ONE day for starting Ramadan and ONE day for finishing Ramadan and announcing EID!
The other thing that seems to confuse people is whether the sighting of the moon in one locality should be taken as the sighting for another locality. As far as I am aware, the majority of the scholars (meaning the four predominant schools of thought – Hanafi, Sha’afi,, Maliki and Hanbali) accept that one sighting is good enough for the whole ummah. But I could be wrong on this. Regardless, it should not affect the UK because the whole of the UK should be starting and ending Ramadan at the same time – not two different days!
So whichever way we look at things, we should still end up, in the UK, with One Ramadan – One Eid!
SO HOW DO WE SORT THIS OUT?
Really, this is meant to be for our scholars to sort out. But this does not seem to be happening. So I ask all scholars to be SINCERE and sort out One Eid for your ummah. This is an obligation on you and you must rise to it and come to an agreement. The Prophet (pbuh) has given us all very clear instructions on how to do this – it is not hard, it’s not complex, it’s not even confusing!
Scholars – put aside your political differences on this issue – there is only meant to be One Eid – follow the Command of Allah and the Prophet (pbuh)! Let no one else come in the way of this. Think of what you will achieve if the Ummah has One Eid! You will have helped to unify the Ummah at a time when it is being torn apart and attacked from all sides!
Muslims – you have an obligation to push your scholars to sorting this out! It is no longer any benefit for scholars to just preach to ‘their flock’ – they need to get rid of any fitna and follow the Prophet (pbuh). Oh Muslims, remind your scholars of their obligations to Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It’s not good enough for Muslims to be pointing fingers at each other – especially over an issue like this which can potentially unite the Ummah.
Oh Muslims and Scholars alike, Stand Up 4 Islam! Bring Unity to the Ummah! And what better way to do this than to unite on Eid!
SIDE NOTE: FASTING WHILE TRAVELING:
As a side note and worthy of mention in today’s times are the following hadiths about fasting:
Narrated ‘Aisha: Hamza bin ‘Amr Al-Aslami asked the Prophet (pbuh): “Should I fast while traveling?” The Prophet (pbuh) replied, “You may fast if you wish, and you may not fast if you wish.” [Bukhari]
Narrated Anas bin Malik: We used to travel with the Prophet (pbuh) and neither did the fasting persons criticise those who were not fasting, nor did those who were not fasting criticise the fasting ones. [Bukhari]
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