Seven Reasons Why North American Muslims Following the International (Global) Sighting Criteria for the Lunar Islamic Calendar Should Have No Hesitation in Also Accepting the Saudi Declarations for Ramadān and the Two ‘Eīds
By Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
An Islamic judge of an Islamic tribunal declares the moon sighting verdict after testimony taken from observers and due process. In the three months, namely, Ramadān, Shawwāl and Dhū al-Ḥijjah, this is the official practice. Following the testimony and due process, an official announcement is made by the Supreme Islamic Court on state television and radio broadcast.
This judgment is stronger, from an Islamic point of view, than any moon sighting committee where there is no tribunal or islamicaly appointed judge.
The Islamic ruling in jurisprudence related to moon sighting is well known; ‘testimony is given preference over calculations’. Hence, at times even though the Saudi declaration for the lunar month is apparently against the predictions of astronomical calculations and moon visibility maps, the fiqh dictates that testimony (shahādah) accepted by an Islamic judge is given preference over the ḥisāb of astronomy (predictions of astronomical calculations).
It is a means of the larger unity and uniformity. Majority Islamic centers and mosques across North America will end up having Ramadān and the two ‘Eīds on the same day, since most centers either follow the North American Fiqh Council, Saudi Arabia or international sighting with no stipulations.
All surrounding countries and their Islamic authorities accept the declaration without question, such as Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Kuwait and Lebanon to name a few.
‘Arafah Day will coincide with the actual ‘Arafah Day of Ḥajj.
There is nothing ḥarām (prohibited) in adhering to this stance nor is there a single fatwā (religious verdict) barring this practice.
Makkah is termed as Omm al-Qurā’ (mother of all cities) in the Qur’ān and therefore countless Islamic scholars have based this as a reason to follow the declaration from Makkah.
The intent of this article is simply for information and education. All scholarly views regarding commencement of the lunar calendar are to be respected and appreciated. The general layman is advised to follow the verdict of their local Islamic centers, Islamic scholars and local communities to maintain unity in their localities.