Moon Bits for Sha’ban and Some Thoughts

Assalamu alaikum, just a brief note regarding the start of Sha’ban. There did not seem to be any positive sighting reports for 07/01/2011, thus Rajab will Inshallah complete 30 days with the start of Sha’ban being 07/03/2011.

However, per the Ummul Qura / Saudi calendar, the start of Sha’ban was today 07/02/2011, and per that calendar, Sha’ban will go 30 days with Ramadan being 08/01/2011. Per http://www.islamicmoon.com, ISNA has already declared the start of Ramadan to be 08/01/2011 and the Eid-ul-Fitr to be on 08/30/2011, which also correspond to the pre-calculated Ummul Qura/Saudi dates.

However, for actual moon sighting, the start of Sha’ban is 07/03/2011, making the 29th day of Sha’ban 07/31/2011. Per MoonSighting.com’s Ramadan sighting page:

The Astronomical New Moon is on July 30, 2011 (Saturday) at 18:40 UT. On July 30, it can not be seen anywhere in the world. On Sunday, July 31, 2011, it can be easily seen in Southern Africa and South America, but with difficulty in Central Africa. On August 1, it can be easily seen everywhere except Northern Europe (See visibility curves).

Thus per this, depending on what kind of sighting you go with, Ramadan may start on either 08/01/2011 or 08/02/2011.

I really don’t want to get on my soapbox (again) on this issue, especially as this year I won’t be able to fast, however, I just want to reiterate that I’m very troubled (for many reasons not the least of which being that per http://www.icoproject.org Saudi Arabia doesn’t even use moon sighting to determine the start/end of Islamic months), to follow Saudi Arabia in any kind of moon sighting announcements. However, as that is usually who my local masjid seems to follow, and it’s the only masjid I’m able to attend that is within easy distance to me, I really don’t feel I have much choice in the matter. And I’m sure if I wanted to be cantankerous and all of that, I could go it alone and do the “divided household” kinda thing, but in light of my impending parenthood, I’ve really started to rethink this course of action.

And mostly because kids don’t miss anything, and I can just hear my son asking why I’m fasting when Daddy isn’t, or why I’m not fasting when the rest of the household is. And also because I want the Eid to be special for him, because he’s going to get enough outside stuff regarding other holidays like Christmas, etc., and because I’m really starting to think that once people start declaring months to have begun, and once millions of people start following said decision, can I as just an average, ordinary, layperson, be held responsible for supposedly “doing the wrong thing” when supposed “leaders” have declared the month to have begun? I just think that’s an enormous, stressful and frankly undue hardship/burden to be putting on average Muslims,

I just can’t imagine that if average everyday Muslim follows their local masjid, no matter what said Muslim does, that on Yaum-al-Qiyama, Allah’s gonna say “oops fasting not accepted ’cause you didn’t follow the “right” moon sighting”. I mean, Allah indeed knows best, but I’d like to think that Allah is a lot more merciful and understanding than that *smile*. Especially given the plethera of fatwas and opinions, etc., on this issue.

I mean, if people are going and declaring a month to have begun when the moon wasn’t sighted, and the people follow them on this, shouldn’t they be the ones held responsible for that? And especially if they are saying the moon has been sighted, or if not saying it outright, implying as much? Especially in situations like the Hajj when you can’t just go and do your own Hajj. I mean, I’m just starting to think what is gonna be the best outcome/intention. Is it doing things on the “right” day, whatever that means, per my own understanding, or is it/should it be about creating/contributing to an environment where a child can be brought up looking forward to and loving Ramadan, Eid, etc. All I know is that no matter what the various moon sighting sites say, when my local community declares Ramadan to have begun, or the day of the Eid, etc., than no matter what I do, or no matter what I may think is right, it really feels like the Eid or the Ramadan or whatever. It just has that feeling in the air. And I have to say that as someone who’s “gone it alone”, no matter if it’s supposedly wrong or right or neutral, I’ve tended to have more misgivings going it alone, even if I did feel like I was following the “correct sighting”. I still felt off, still felt I was doing something wrong, I felt arrogant, I felt self-righteous, I just didn’t feel right about that decision. And I think that’s why I just hope that I can take a reliable global sighting and be done with it, although if that doesn’t happen, it’s not like I can do much about it *smile*.

I’m just saying that no matter how much I may want, and no matter how much I may try, there is no way I’m gonna solve this controversy all by myself, so it just seems the best thing I can do at this point, is go with my local community, make dua that Allah excepts all of our deeds, and Inshallah put the responsibility for making decisions regarding the start/end of Ramadan, etc., on the people who make these decisions. And I think that the argument I’ve heard that you can’t perform an action until the time/conditions for that action are fulfilled is a valid one, however, when you’re talking about communal things like Ramadan, Eid, etc., where special programs are going on in the masjid etc., and you don’t have any alternative masjid you can go to, again, for me it goes back to the hadith that says something to the affect of “the fast is when the people fast, and the end/breaking of the fast is when the people break their fast”, and I really think there’s something to be said for that.

I mean, the problem could easily be solved if certain countries actually sighted the moon, and didn’t rely on calculations to start with, in any month, however, I don’t see this happening any time soon. Thus, this controversy isn’t going away any time soon, thus, I just think no matter how much one may know or not know about the moon sighting controversy, for the average layperson, I just don’t think there’s any “wrong” decision in this matter.

OK, so off my soapbox for now lol. And yes, my position has kinda changed on this lol. But then again, I think I’ve softened/become less rigid on a lot of things in the past couple years or so.

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About Ginny

A blind Muslim woman currently living in Florida, just trying to make sense of the world around me! !
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2 Responses to Moon Bits for Sha’ban and Some Thoughts

  1. You’re totaly fine (shari’ah-wise) for going with your community and mosque, so no need to worry, in sha’ Allah. Of course, I also disagree with the Saudi-moonsighting — may Allah give them tawfiq to rectify the situation.

    was-salam

    • Ginny says:

      Assalamu alaikum, well, I’ve heard so many different things, sometimes I’m just not sure what to do. I’ve heard anything from “follow the community no matter what” do “you gotta make sure the moon was sighted even if you have to do Eid alone”. And I think as I’m a layperson, both positions have their proofs, which is why I kinda said there is not, for the layperson, a “wrong” opinion, because there is so much, I don’t wanna say “fitna” regarding this issue in the times that we live in, but that there’s just so much out there, that I just can’t believe that we, or I, as a layperson could be held responsible for declaring the dates, etc.

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