Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moon sighting Issue - To sight or to calculate?

So we are close to that season when the bickering happens when it comes to deciding when to start the 1st day of Fasting in Ramadan and when to end Ramadan. It is always interesting to see that the same arguments happen EACH AND EVERY YEAR during Ramadan (and Eid ul Adha). We need to get past this issue but at the same time, scholars should not avoid answering questions about this issue. The Ummah is really divided because of these small issues because the scholars fail to address these issues. But I'm not going to lay all the blame on the scholars, everyday Muslims also need to pick a side, let others pick the side they want, and move on with their Ibadah, supplication and fasting.

So we all know that this issue for sighing the moon or calculating comes mainly during the Ramadan/Eid ul Fitr time and then again during the Eid ul Adha time. For some, it starts during the month of Shabaan (right before Ramadan). But my question to those who are hardcore moon sighters, do you sight the moon for every month of the Islamic calender or just for selected months? If you sight the moon only for certain months, then its best to keep you mouths shut and go with the opinion you have chosen to follow and not hinder those who choose to follow the calculation method...which they follow throughout the year. And for those who follow the calculation method, its best to keep you mouths shut and let the moon sighters do their sighting because it's actually the recorded sunnah. Don't go about making excuses why its the better one to follow because people can set dates ahead of time and let their employers know ahead of time and on and on. It does make life a bit easier in the west, to deal with your employers and non Muslim colleagues, friends, and acquaintances.

I have been on the side of both Alhumdulillah. My Islamic Center that I follow tends to do everything the calculation method. They even came out with a small book the explains why the calculating method works over the moon sighting view (but its mainly directed towards the west i think...sorry, its been a while since I read it). It seems to work for our community since its so big and people use it for their benefit. I think there is a benefit to using technology and that Muslims need to be on top of technological advancements that are going to benefit Islam, Muslims, and the general Insan/human being.

As for the moon sighting, I was was in a place where they followed moon sighting strictly. It was a small community so that worked for them. I went with a few friends to go and sight the moon with them and I'll tell you, that was an AMAZING experience. The sky wasn't clustered with all the lights and the nightly brightness of the sky like it is in the United States so it was an amazing view to look for the moon. There were a few of us and one brother spotted the moon just as it was about to be covered with a cloud. His sharp eyes (alhumdulillah) had us all excited and he pointed out the moon to the rest of us. (when I refer to the moon, I mean the small crescent that indicates the start of the new Muslim month). I'll tell you, we were all so excited that he was able to sight the moon and point it out to the rest of us that it's an experience to remember. There were about 7 to 10 of us who sighted the moon and I'm pretty sure it was an experience for all of them and they can probably remember it like it was yesterday. It was purely amazing Alhumdulillah.

The last thing I will talk about is addressed to the scholars. PLEASE address this issue. It IS an Issue weather you like it or not and will continue to be an issue for more years to come. Address this issue and explain to them the two views and which one you recommend them to follow or which one fits you and let them decide their view. You are responsible to address issues that are in people's minds, but at the end of the day, the individual person will follow the view they feel deemed fit for them after being informed. All you have to do is address the 2 views inshaAllah.

My Opinion/Last Words:
The main thing one can do is to follow the Masjid/Islamic Center they always follow for everything else during the year. There are conflicting issues and we as individuals have to make an informed decision on what we have to follow. Islam in not blind belief so you have to be informed on the issue and pick a side. Yes, you can change your view/side later on but please DO NOT call the other side wrong. If you want to say anything, just state your side and your belief and move on. Don't try to impose your view on others. The Prophet (S) did things many different ways and scholars who follow each method also have supporting evidence for their views. All we can do is make an informed decision and accept our decision. Just stop calling the other side wrong.

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