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Controversy over Ramadan and Eid following the Saudis blindly

Controversy over fasting and Eid following the Saudis blindly
The crescent moon is seen behind a mosque. Shutterstock)
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Why is fasting and Eid not happening on the same day in the whole world? Because of the time difference across the world, we do our daily activities at different times. Does anyone in Bangladesh want to pray Fajr at the same time as Saudi Arabia? Or the western countries of the United Kingdom or the Far East with Australia? It is not possible, because the rukans of Islam are made in accordance with the weather (sun and moon).

There are some other complications. Some countries including India and Bangladesh start Ramadan a day later than the UK so start looking for the moon a day later. But another difficulty comes from the fact there isn’t an official system for deciding what counts as a moon sighting for Muslims in the UK. Some mosques and communities will look for the moon in British skies on Thursday, April 20, but others will follow reports from other countries including Saudi Arabia.

Ramadan is set to begin in March and the annual ‘moonsighting’ debate sees mosques, religious leaders and families split over when the holy month should begin.

Last year, in an unprecedented move, leading imams and scholars from UK launched a campaign urging people to follow local moonsighting criteria when deciding when to celebrate Eid.

It comes after growing concerns by some scholars that Muslims in Britain were ‘blindly following’ the announcements made by Saudi Arabia.

The Annual Moonsighting Conference at the Ivy Hall on Newton Street is open to members of the public with segregated seating for ladies. It will take place from 6.45pm on Sunday January 21 and food will be served.

A spokesperson for the Blackburn Moonsighting Committee (BMSC) said: “Everyone is welcome to attend the conference where we will hear from leading scholars.

“The aim is to explain why Muslims should be following the sighting of the moon locally then if that is not possible to then to follow the nearest Islamic country. In this case Morrocco.

“It is time for Muslims to unite.”

Last year, up to 500 families are said to have ‘switched’ their preferences when to celebrate Eid. The numbers are expected to go up.

The differences are dependant on the sighting of the new moon as per the Islamic lunar calendar. The almost yearly disagreements and controversies have led to neighbours and families celebrating Eid and beginning Ramadan on different days.

Much of this has been due to differences of opinions amongst imams and scholars and therefore the mosques.

A large number of mosques and Muslims across the UK already follow sighting of the moon in this way when deciding on Ramadan and Eid.

In a statement in 2023 the group said: “Saudi Arabia is very blessed, as it houses the holy cities of Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah. There is no denying that fact.

“However, when it comes to the issue of moonsighting, our Shariah advises us to look for the moon locally and if not sighted, then to follow the nearest Islamic country, which has a robust reliable system as regards to moonsighting.”

On the other hand,A moon-sighting expert has warned that there may be a “divided Eid” in the UK because of people following incorrect declarations when no visibility of the crescent is possible. Eid ul Fitr falls at the start of the month of Shawwal and, as with all Islamic dates, depends on a sighting of the first faint crescent of the new moon.

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Daily Dazzling Dawn is the first and only international and non-profitable newspaper, which is 100% ownership of professional journalists from Bangladeshi origin with 20 years of experience in global journalism. The main aim of the newspaper is promoting ethical journalism with truth, accuracy and proficiency.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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