Thursday, September 21, 2006

ramadan on saturday?

In a surprise move, ISNA and the Fiqh Council of North America are anouncing that they are using astronomical calculations in order to determine the beginning of Ramadan. The Fiqh Council's explanation of their position is given here. I'm not sure what to think. On the one hand, I've always been told that sighting with the naked eye is what is important. And something in me finds this "old school" approach appealing. At the same time, I'm also tired of all the disagreement (even at a local level) over when Ramadan begins. At least the Fiqh Council's approach seems to have some potential for promoting greater unity among Muslims in North America. Also, it wouldn't be the first time that greater scientific knowledge has had some impact on the religious behavior of Muslims in North America. When Muslim immigrants first came to the US, many of them tended to pray southeast (We are mostly north and west of Mecca) but once they had a better understanding of geodesics they started to pray northeast. Perhaps this is similar?

2 comments:

Hood said...

jazakallahu khairan

I was looking for this link for a while, i really appreciate it.

wa Salam
Hood

altaf said...

this is just one more way that we will make ourselves distant from our cosmos... being "scientific" is all fine and well... however, because of the way Islam is comprehensive, there is more to looking at the sky and searching for the new moon... it is a way to connect with what is around us...

same with the issue of prayer times - the idea was not so that we become rigidified, and locked into a schedule given to use by the masjid - but rather to get into tune with the rhythm of the day.

the direction - well that is about knowing what the direction is - the equivelent would be knowing where to look for the moon - not to stop looking --- and so i don't buy the fiqh council logic.

in any case, most Shi'a masjids will continue to base moonsighting on actual sighting of the moon --- the methodology of ijtihad is different in the Shia fiqh... and so most of the scholars (there are a few who do agree with the ISNA position) will not go along with the reasoning given by the fiqh council.