Crescent Chronicles: The Travails of North American Ramadan

Jul 28

Muslim Matters has published a very interesting history of moon sighting in North America, and the context behind the 2006 decision of ISNA and the fiqh committee to adopt astronomical calculation as the basis for determining the beginning and end  of Ramadan.  It also has a special shout out to Toronto, although I’m not sure it is one we should be proud of:

“Toronto is one of the few cities, if not the only, which hosts mosques that simultaneously follow all permutations of moonsighting opinions that have ever existed in Islam’s legal history; local sighting, global, Saudi-sighting, astronomical calculations – perhaps there are more. This represents a trend which has become common occurrence across much of the North America; Muslim communities split along lines of lunar dogmatism.”

Meanwhile, if you need evidence that Muslims are great at making lemonade when life gives them lemons, check out what the article attributes to Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on this situation:

“While its easy to have a dismal outlook on this debate, there are positive take a ways from this situation as well. As Shaykh Hamza Yusuf recently pointed out, Muslims arguing over something like moonsighting, which may appear as a trivial matter, is a sign of a serious community of believers. People disagree because they hold their convictions to be true, they care about their religion, and they strive to practice it in the most correct way. In a society where religion is increasingly viewed with an eye of irrelevance, it is refreshing to see a people who care enough about it to disagree over it.”

Well, one might think there are more useful things for us to engage deeply in to evidence the strength of our convictions, but that perhaps that discussion is best left for another day.

‘Id Mubarak to all, but especially for the Gazans.

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