The Neverending Moonsighting Debate

The Neverending Moonsighting Debate

Instead of making mountains out of molehills, let’s try to resolve such issues with a little bit of common sense. If Ramadan ended a day earlier for the parents than their children, surely the parents can wait just one day to wear their new clothes or cook up all sorts of ethnic delicacies!

This year [2009], the crescent for Shawwal was sighted in South America and South Africa on Saturday night. Based on this, Eid in North America was on Sunday for the followers of Ayatollah Khoei and a few other Maraja Taqleed (Religious Authorities), and on Monday for the followers of Ayatollah Sistani and some other jurists.

Naturally, all hell broke loose. “Why can’t we have a united Eid?” “Why are these Maraja dividing us?” “They are causing our families to split!” Forums were flooded, angry text messages were sent, and chain emails are still being forwarded. Once again, Marjaiyyat stands accused for causing yet another crushing blow to the oh-so-fragile Western Shia community. Even the rare well-wishers who do not harbor any particular animosity towards the Maraja cannot help but scratch our heads…

“Sharing the Night” vs. “Sharing the Horizon”

In regards to moonsighting, there is a slight difference of opinion among our Maraja. A few scholars, the most notable among them being the late Ayatollah Abul Qasim al-Khoei, are of the opinion that as long as the moon is sighted in one place, all other locations “sharing the night” (Wahdat al-Ufoq) will also rely on that sighting. For example, if the moon is sighted in the United Kingdom, then it will also apply to places like New York and Detroit, because sunset time in New York and Detroit is before the break of dawn in the UK. Hence, they “share a night”. (Ayatollah Khoei: Islamic Laws, ruling #1744)

However, the majority of our Religious Authorities (including Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani and Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei) follow the principle of Ta’adad al-Ufoq (“sharing the horizon”). According to this principle, each location has its own curve of sighting that is distinct and separate from others, unless the two locations “share a horizon”, meaning if the moon is sighted in one location, there must be a significant probability it would have also been sighted in the other location had it not been for adverse weather conditions, etc. (Ayatollah Sistani: Islamic Laws, ruling #1744; Ayatollah Khamenei: Practical Laws of Islam, Q. 835)

On the Farsi section of his website www.sistani.org, Ayatollah Sistani is asked if Hasa and Qatib (in Saudi Arabia) share a horizon with Tehran. In the Arabic section, the same question is asked about Najaf and Bahrain. In both cases, the answer is affirmative.

Furthermore, as explained by Ayatollah Sistani: “If the new moon is sighted in the East, it also applies to the West, as long as the latitude of the two locations are not greatly further away from one another. If the new moon is sighted in the West, it does not apply to the East, unless it is proven – even by the moon staying on the first [Western] horizon for the length of time that is longer than the difference between the sunset of the two locations. [For example, if the sunset in the Eastern city was half an hour before the Western city where the moon was sighted, and the moon stays on the horizon longer than half an hour – the Eastern city can follow the moon sighted in the Western city.]” (A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West, ruling #115)

Lastly, if a person does not know whether it is the last day of Ramadan or the first of Shawwal, (s)he should observe fast on that day, and if (s)he comes to know during the day that it is the first of Shawwal, (s)he should break the fast. (Ayatollah Sistani: Islamic Laws, ruling #1746; Ayatollah Khoei: Islamic Laws, ruling #1746; Ayatollah Khamenei, Newly Asked Questions, section on “Fasting” at www.leader.ir)

Also See: Ask the Experts by Shaikh Saleem Bhimji

Scientific Predictions

So why can’t we use scientific methods to determine the new moon and forget about moonsighting all together? Surely with current scientific developments, this would solve the whole problem.

According to most of our scholars, the first day of a month cannot be proven through scientific predictions. However, if an individual derives full satisfaction and certitude from such findings (or through any other source), (s)he is welcome to act upon them. (Ayatollah Sistani: Islamic Laws, ruling #1741)

In the past few years, there has been increasing emphasis on the use of scientific calculations for the purposes of determining the new moon by a growing portion of our community. However, what we must keep in mind is that science is not the end-all-be-all answer to all questions. Scientific predictions about moonsighting are based on calculations, and those could easily be incorrect or based on incorrect models or theories. In the past, there have been several instances of differences among scientists and observatories over the possibility of moonsighting, usually because they subscribed to differing models or theories. While we can use scientific data for the purposes of determining probability and such, it cannot therefore be a substitute for actual moonsighting by the human eye.

Interestingly, the US Naval Observatory itself notes on its website, “The date and time of each New Moon can be computed exactly, but the time that the Moon first becomes visible after the New Moon depends on many factors and cannot be predicted with certainty.

“But how can we have two Eids?”

The answer: why not?!

Instead of making mountains out of molehills, let’s try to resolve such issues with a little bit of common sense. If Ramadan ended on Saturday for the parents and on Sunday for the children, surely the parents can wait just one day to wear their new clothes or cook up all sorts of ethnic delicacies! If the other members of your family are fasting today, and you are not, just drink a glass of water in the morning – you don’t have to eat a four-course meal in front of them! In regards to Eid prayers, most places have services to accommodate both situations, and even if your community doesn’t, keep in mind that Eid prayers are not obligatory during the occultation of the Twelfth Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance) and can also be offered individually (Ayatollah Sistani: Islamic Laws, ruling #1525).

Furthermore, even if we see the Lebanese community celebrating Eid on one day, the Pakistanis the next day, and the Khojas after them, what exactly is the big deal? In many parts of the Muslim world, people celebrate Eid for a whole week. The more, the merrier! I for one fail to see the problem with being able to dress up, visit friends, and gorge out on delicious food for three days instead of just one!

Instead of panicking and rushing to hurl the vilest accusations at our religious scholars, let us try to be a bit more reasonable. Unity does not mean uniformity. Instead of becoming upset at such minor differences, let us learn to appreciate and enjoy the blessings of variety and diversity.

Also, we must realize that even if we ignore all jurisprudential differences, we still would not be able to avoid the issue of multiple Eids. Indeed, we see that during the caliphate of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), a man once came and told him that he had sighted the crescent for the month of Shawwal, while no one else had. The Imam told him that since he has sighted the moon himself, it was Eid for him the next day, but for the rest of the community, since there were not two reliable testimonies (as required by Shariah), it would be the 30th of Ramadan. So while it was haram for the man to fast the next day, it was in fact wajib upon everyone else! (Wasail ash-Shia, volume 10, chapter on Fasting)

Hence, for those who have proper knowledge and understanding of Islamic jurisprudence, this is really a non-issue. In all honesty, the moonsighting drama has nothing to do with unity or keeping our families intact. The Shia world has had multiple Eids for centuries now, so it has hard to fathom why this has become such a divisive issue. The fact of the matter is that this is a simple jurisprudential technicality which certain nefarious elements have hijacked and used to attack our Maraja Taqleed, and many simple-minded Shias are sadly following suit. If we are really so concerned about maintaining unity, let us keep in mind that the one institution that has safeguarded and protected Shi’ism for the past 1200 years and the only platform that is capable of uniting us is the same Marjaiyyat which we so quickly rush to accuse of causing disunity amongst us!

On a final note, in the 13th century, as Mongol armies were about to overrun Baghdad, the Muslim world was too busy fighting among itself over apparently a far more pertinent matter: whether it is permissible to consume owl meat or not! Today, as we face enemies and calamities from all sides, let us learn from our own history, let us cease from wasting so much time and energy complaining about such trivial matters, let us unite under the banner of the Marjaiyyat, and let us focus on the greater problems that threaten to overrun our communities and the Muslim Ummah today.

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Arsalan Rizvi

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  1. panjatani
    September 22, 05:57
    Sallams<br />First off, what a great article this is, and mashallah so timely too. You wrote of the person who visited Imam Ali, and said he had seen the new moon, what's the reference to that. In all the extensive debating I've experienced on this topic, I've never heard this story. So, please brother, do share your source if available.<br />Very job mashallah
    • abuzar
      September 11, 07:59
      [quote name="panjatani"]Sallams<br />First off, what a great article this is, and mashallah so timely too. You wrote of the person who visited Imam Ali, and said he had seen the new moon, what's the reference to that. In all the extensive debating I've experienced on this topic, I've never heard this story. So, please brother, do share your source if available.<br />Very job mashallah[/quote]<br />He has infact quoted a reference for that ...Wasail ash-Shia, volume 10, chapter on Fasting.<br />great article...
  2. Sayyida
    September 22, 08:11
    Salaam,<br />The article is well written. I would just like to have the reference for the story of Imam Ali a.s. and the man who sighted the moon. If more people were aware of that story (and it is authenticated and from mutawatir hadith) then the animosity from the differences in moonsighting could be calmed down, at least a bit, and at least in places that I know of. Please post the source of the narration when you find it. MashaAllah if more people thought like this, it would be great. Jazakallah.
  3. azadeh
    September 22, 10:13
    This is a well written article ,but I think it trivializes the importance of unity on such an important issue as eid. I hope and pray our Ulema will understand the urgency for unity and decide on one method for sighting the moon.
  4. masooma
    September 22, 11:21
    I don't see the importance of unity on Eid - we could be "unified" if we just simply agreed that it was not a big deal to have Eid on different days, as long as we each followed are respective maraji!<br /><br />As for the curves mentioned in the ruling of Ayat. Sistani - moonsighting.com has some graphs that give a rough idea of what is being talked about. Due to a variety of factors, the moon generally is possible to seen in southern regions before northern regions. So, if a moon is "old" enough to be seen in South Africa, it might still be too young to be seen in a place directly north of South Africa.
  5. amir
    September 22, 11:49
    You forget to mention that it is HARAM to fast on the day of Eid al-Fitr.
    • Hussain
      March 01, 21:51
      In the Imam Ali (AS) story, he did mention that it was Haram for the man to fast.
  6. azadeh
    September 22, 12:40
    Sister Masooma, I do believe unity is extremely important for such an important day as Eid al-Fitr. (not to mention communities may now be required to have Ashura and other Islamic events on different days ) I am sure you are aware that when we go to Hajj we follow the Saudi calendar for the sake of unity as Imam khomeini declared. I do not think it is unreasonable or to much ask our ulema to decide on one method for moon sighting.
  7. masooma
    September 22, 15:23
    But it isn't a matter of just making a decision. It is a matter of investigating all the available resources and making the best judgment or determination one possibly can to try to approach the true command, guidance, will of Allah swt. If two maraji have different conclusions from one another at the end of this involved process, it is not just a simple matter to compromise for the sake of "unity", for that requires that one or the other of them would have to contradict his conclusions, turning away from the path of Truth as best as his reason and guidance could determine. As analogy, if one is convinced truly that praying with hands at one's side is the right path, then praying with one's hands folded knowing it is wrong or believing fully it is so, is hypocrisy, except in greatest need. When we strive hard with all our best for Truth, we should not turn from it lightly, even to look unified. If we were to do that, none of us would be Shia of 'Ali (as). What harm is it to have two 'Eids? By comparison, the harm of hypocrisy is far greater. I feel we should tolerate differences amongst our maraji and respect the process they follow for Truth.
  8. fuzz
    September 22, 15:29
    [quote]So while it was [i]haram[/i] for the man to fast the next day, it was in fact [i]wajib[/i] upon everyone else![/quote]<br /><br />If you read between the lines, he did mention it :-)<br /><br />Great article, jazak'Allah!
  9. Kazim
    September 22, 16:05
    Awsome reply to mind Bursting Questions of western Shia community who are after Marja e Alam in one or other way.
  10. Azra
    September 22, 16:37
    I suppose if unity is not important then it is not a problem if we have hajj at two or three different times, depending on which marja you follow. If the hadith of Imam Ali is correct, which without references, I am not convinced about, then one man can do on hajj on one day and the rest of ummah on another day. <br /><br />Unity is extremely important. It is one thing to argue about whether owl meat is haram or not, because at the end of the day, that is a personal matter and does not affect society at large. If you think its halal eat it, if you think its haram then don't. However it is another to decide a matter that affects the entire ummah as a whole. It is hard to commemorate Eid when members of a single household are commemorating on different days.<br /><br />My husband is celebrating Eid and I am still fasting. I don't know about you but to me that is highly problematic. This is isnt about a difference between communities but rather spills over and divides members of a household. <br /><br />It is sad when we think that its not a big deal that our most learned scholars cannot come together on an issue that is so important to our ummah. And yes its important! If there are two Eids, then there may be two ashuras. How are our masjids supposed to accomodate that? Its hard enough bringing people together as it is, now we have more issues to divide us. <br /><br />If Imam Khomeini can tell us to follow the Saudi calendar for hajj for the sake of unity then I'm sure we can come to an agreement on Eid for the sake of unity as well.
  11. Zara
    September 22, 16:55
    [quote]It is sad when we think that its not a big deal that our most learned scholars cannot come together on an issue that is so important to our ummah.[/quote]<br /><br />If you truly believe that our marjas are "our most learned scholars" then surely we can not force them to issue a ruling which we [i]desire[/i] or prefer? It's quite contradictory to call them our most learned scholars and then not happily accept what it is that they have to say. <br /><br />[quote]If Imam Khomeini can tell us to follow the Saudi calendar for hajj for the sake of unity then I'm sure we can come to an agreement on Eid for the sake of unity as well.[/quote]<br /><br />If Ayt. Khomeini passes this, or any other ruling than surely it is because it was found to be in accordance to the traditions of the ahlul-bayt. Does this warrant for every fatwa to be held against our scholars and wrongly categorised as "one size fits all"?
  12. azadeh
    September 22, 17:20
    Keep in mind the marjas are not infallible. Sister massoma, I don't think if a marja changes his mind about the method of sighting the moon he has compromised his ideas, rather their previous rulings can evolve to the circumstances . There are times when marjas have changed rulings about previous issued rulings. For example, At one time sturgeon fish was haram and now it is halal. Another example ,is when prophet (s) changed the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. It doesn't mean that he was wrong praying to Jerusalem, it was a different time and need ,so things change. Please pray for unity.
  13. SM
    September 22, 18:19
    how nice would it be if scholars just abandoned the word of allah and the infallibles to give fatwas according to our convenience...oh wait, that's the kinda "scholars" who signed the death fatwa for imam hussain! ;-)
  14. Magic Hijabi
    September 22, 20:04
    Why are we only worried about unity on Eid? Really..it seems like a bunch of hot air. Here's the logic we keep seeing repeated: "I believe in unity and we all have to break out fast on the same day otherwise the world ends. However, I am not able nor willing to respect the rulings of scholars 10 times more learned than I am." <br /><br />I think, it is the DUTY of the followers to jealously defend their Marja..so if people are being disrespectful towards Scholar X because they had to fast another day. They have bigger problems than fasting that one extra day..
  15. syousuf313
    September 23, 00:51
    Salaam,<br />I think that it would be nice if we could all celebrate Eid on one day, I myself celebrated Eid on a different day than the rest of my extended family. However, the maraja are bound by a system themselves. Their responsibility is to do research and issue verdicts on matters such as these. If they come to different conclusions, they do so not because they desire to create disunity, but because they're simply doing their job. <br /><br />We cannot ask our scholars to compromise on this issue, just as it would not be fair to ask them to compromise on other issues of fiqh. Honestly, if I followed a marja that DID change their verdict on Eid, just so everyone could not eat on the same day, then my confidence in that mujtahid would die, and faith in this system would crumble. We need to have scholars who provide verdicts based off of their hardcore research and genuine search for truth--and trust that they will stick to that. Again, I believe this aspect of the marja system must be preserved and takes precedence over sharing Eid with our families. <br /><br />Also, I too feel that "unity does not mean uniformity." I think unity does not necessarily mean that we all have to agree on everything because honestly, and realistically, that'll never happen until the 12th Imam (AJ) comes. Until then, let us be united under the marja system, and say that if we follow eid on different days we are still united because we are all united under this system.<br /><br />Thanks for the excellent article and addressing the issue that comes up every year :-)
  16. Mohannad
    September 23, 03:29
    Salam.O.Alaykum.<br /><br />Respectfully I would disagree. Just like Ramadan, Eid is also very important. It isnot about consuming food but celebrating the fulfilment of fasting. So if the parents are not fasting and the children are, it puts an emotional damper on Eid. It is about sharing and completing a task as a family, as a community. UNITY !!!! If Unity is not important than why is there preference on Jamaat prayers. At Ghadeer Hazrat Ali A.S was introduced as the leader of the Mulim Ummah. Was it not for the sake of Unity that Imam Ali A.S did not protest?<br /><br />May Allah unite us all.
  17. otowi
    September 23, 04:30
    Asalaam Alaaykum<br /><br />The marjas are not infallible, as you said, which is a point as to why they have slight differences in their rulings. Saying a marja is infallible is no excuse for disregarding his rulings or whining about them or expecting him to change a ruling because you don't like it and wish it were like some other marja's. If we did that, there likely would never be a month of Ramadhan of 30 days observed by the people - how unfortunate we would be then! <br /><br /> If we were in the presence of our Imam (as), there would be no differences, but also our standard of accounting would be higher. But that does not negate our obligation to follow the appropriate scholars and to respect their differences in rulings. The maraji certainly know more than the lay people about such matters and did not make their rulings lightly, so we cannot expect them to change them just for convenience. That's what this really seems to be about, is convenience, for that is how people are talking about "unity". It is inconvenient to have Eid a different day than someone else, perhaps, but Allah swt knows what blessings are in store for those who fulfill their obligation of taqlid and fast that "extra" day that perchance their marja rules even in the face of inconvenience -- how much better is that than just eating on the same day as someone else? It doesn't have to be a big deal that two people in one family end their fast on different days - so what? It isn't a big deal unless people make it be. Many people have families that don't even fast at all, so every day they fast the rest of their family is not, so what is one day for others? <br /><br />As for hajj, there are in fact different rulings amongst our maraji and between Sunnis and Shias, and we do in fact do some things at different times and in different ways - and it is not a big deal. But even so, hajj is not the same as Eid, there are many considerations, and unity may not be the chief among them, but other factors such as safety in the face of an anti-Shia government may be at play - one could ask his marja or the representative for clarification.<br /><br />Unity for unity's sake is missing the mark. If that is what we wanted, we would pray like Sunnis, and we'd be doing taraweeh in the masjids. The point of unity is to be united on the right path, to be united in following the Ahlulbayt (as). Our maraji make their rulings to guide us on the path of Ahlulbayt (as) to the best of their ability. In the occultation of the Imam (as), our instructions of following those qualified are pretty clear. The only path of true unity in this case is to be united in agreeing to follow our respective maraji and tolerating the "inconvenience" of the differences in their rulings, unless there were one marja clearly superior to others for following, then all could be united behind the one. There is no real harm or danger in different Eids- The harm or danger is in abandoning the clear ways laid out for us to obey Allah swt, his Prophet (saw), and Ahlulbayt (as) during the time of occultation for the sake of "convenience".
  18. ~55
    September 23, 09:10
    I think we are living some fantasy, happy go lucky place if we say that having two eids is just fine and dandy. Yes, I agree that it is nice to have multiple maraja which gives us more diversity and a stronger sense of personal responsibility. May god bless them all and their life long commitment to Islam.<br /><br />I can only pray that one day the shia's are unified in a way that there is no disagreement on when the eid is. Or better yet, who the most knowledgable scholar is......
  19. Azra
    September 23, 12:00
    Imam Ali knew that the khilafat belonged to him. It was a decree of the Prophet and in turn was the will of God. He could've stuck to his principles, knowing that he was right and since he was an Imam who else has the right to stick to what they believe in at all cost. Yet, FOR THE SAKE OF UNITY, he relented to the will of the people. Allowed the khilafat to be had by another. Stayed quiet and watched knowing he was the inheritor of the ummah. <br /><br />All this for unity's sake. And yet people have the gall to say that unity is not important.
    • Hussain
      March 01, 22:07
      Nobody said that unity is not important.<br />What is being said is that unity does not mean uniformity.<br /><br />Also, since your Imam told you to follow your marja', and told you how to find that marja', you're pretty much set for life.
  20. SM
    September 23, 14:22
    Azra, your Imam Ali [as] analogy about him keeping silent is completely incorrect. Firstly, Imam Ali did not make a personal decision to keep quiet. Rather, he was acting on direct commands from Allah and the Prophet [saww]. He was explicitly told by the Prophet that after him, people would rebel and go against his teachings, yet he wished for Imam Ali to exercise patience. Imam Ali was bound by the orders of Allah and the Prophet and he acted accordingly, not out of personal judgment. Similarly, the Marja is bound by the orders of Allah and the Infallibles, and he acts accordingly, not out of personal judgment. <br /><br />Secondly, what you are basically saying is that just like Imam Ali was forced to give in to the demands of the ignorant and hypocritical people of his time, similarly we are ignorant and hypocritical people who won't change in our ways and expect a religious guide to alter his views to our liking!<br /><br />Lastly, please rest assured that regardless of your academic and/or religious qualifications and socio-political awareness, the Maraja are much more knowledgeable, as well as much more socio-politically aware. I am sure they are far more concerned about the unity of the Shia community than you or me. So the fact that they are still sticking with their fatwas goes to show that there is some greater reasoning and wisdom behind it that ignorant people like you or me cannot comprehend. Indeed, that is the definition of taqleed -- trusting the judgment of a qualified person in a matter in which we lack expertise. :-)
  21. Amir
    September 23, 17:39
    First of all any thing Imam Ali does or says or thinks is in accordance with Allah's decree. Therefore his personal judgment and Allah's will are one and the same. And anything Imam Ali does is for the purpose of teaching his followers on how to act and live. Any scholar can tell you that reason for Imam Ali to exercise patience was to preserve the unity of the ummah. This is not about giving into the ignorant or hypocritical but doing what it took to keep the muslim community together. <br /><br />Second, the marja are not acting in accordance to Allah's will. Please be careful about what you write. The marja are acting according to their personal judgment on what they think is correct. Which may in fact be correct or incorrect, Allah knows best. Obviously one person is wrong and one person in write, both can't be correct.<br /><br />Lastly, Eid in Iran is never an issue despite there being different marjas. The government announces Eid and everyone celebrates it on that day. I have lived in Iran most of my life and there have never been 2 Eids celebrated in Iran. How can that be if different marjas predict different way to calculate Eids. It means that we are following one marja and not the other and everyone celebrates on one day, never two. Therefore if Unity is important in Iran then why not in the US?<br /><br />The marjas are not infallible, or all-knowing, or all-understanding. They are human beings and are very capable of mistakes and over-sights and sometimes miscalculations on the importance of certain things.
  22. SM
    September 23, 19:45
    How competent we think we are to be able to pass judgment on our great Maraja! Reminds of the words of Ayatollah Sistani that he said to a certain so-called "research scholar" from North America: <br />[quote]You, sir, are not even qualified enough to sit on the mimbar, let alone issue your personal opinions about Islamic matters![/quote]<br /><br />;-)
  23. dnc
    September 24, 04:38
    The core issue seems to be the prohibition of fasting on the Eid day and, conversely, the prohibition of celebrating Eid on a day of a required fasting. Otherwise, since all dates on the Islamic calendar are effectively governed by moonsighting, they would all be subject to the same controversy. Generally speaking, there appears to be more unity and less controversy within localities/countries on determining the dates of these other occasions (e.g. Ashura) than for Eid-ul-Fitr.<br /><br />Most believe that the truth is one. Others have pointed out that the scholars are not infallible. Some scholars were previously students of the other scholars. The circumstance this year occurred with an apparent implication that fasting on the same specific day is wajib for some followers and haraam for other followers in the same locality or household. <br /><br />Respectfully, many find this reality difficult to accept and symptomatic of a problem with the system that needs to be addressed. Perhaps the concept of a "doubt day" needs to more formalized at the end of Ramadan (like at the beginning of Ramadan).
  24. Zainab
    September 25, 12:08
    Although the article is well written, it misses an important point which concerns Shia Muslims in the Western world. It is not such a big deal in an Islamic country if one considers Eid to be one day or the next, since as the author mentions, the celebrations last for a week anyway, and on top of it, within the same Islamic country, usually the question of Eid is usually unanimous. The problem is in the West for the following reasons: Because of the diverse ethnic backgrounds, and because of the great number of converts, Shia follow different marajah. Often parents make taqlid to a different marja than their children, simply because their marja has passed away, before the children were required to make taqlid. There is another point most people neglect to mention: In the Middle <br />Eastern countries it is much easier to see the moon than in the West for at least two reasons: There are too many areas with "light pollution" in the heavily populated areas, the places where Muslims live, of Western Europe and the US, while in Islamic countries Muslims live also in sparsely populated areas where the moon can be easily sighted. Secondly, clouds often cover the skies in the western world and make the sighting of the moon impossible.<br />It is easy to say that it's not a big deal if different members of the family celebrate Eid on different days. In reality it is often extremely hard to get a vacation day on a short notice, especially at difficult economic times as they are now. And except in areas with a high percentage of Musllims, school children will have a hard time getting a day off, especially if a test is scheduled for that day. Eid is supposed to be a celebration of the umma, and therefore of the smaller part of the umma, the family. If the family is split in the middle, the celebration of Eid loses a lot of its joy.<br />I do not have a solution for this problem, I just want to show that that this "well - you don't like it - tough luck" attitude doesn't does nothing to alleviate the situation of the growing number of Muslims living in western countries. I believe that the maraja need to become acquainted with our problems and try to find a solution. Over 30 years ago, Muhammad Baqir Sadr's fatwa stated that as soon as the moon was sighted anywhere in the world, this would be valid for the rest of the world. If our maraja could agree at least on this fatwa, we would have gotten a big step towards the Unity we talk so much about but do so little for.
  25. Geevah
    September 26, 04:33
    There is no doubt that the article is well written and is up to the point. However, we are losing the big picture. Was it Allah's intention for the muslims make two Eids? The reason would be no. There is no historical evidence found which would lead us to believe that there were ever two Eids during the days of Prophet Muhammad, or Hazrat Ali (AS). <br /><br />Then means our Marajas should look at the ways to unify their efforts.
  26. Abu Abbas
    September 28, 13:49
    Your article thought fantastic is not very relevant this time. We have already learnt to accept the differences in the different jurists opinions and resolved over the different days of EId ....<br />I am curious what do you have to say regarding the situation this year.<br />A split occuring within a family following one single marja e taqleed - Syed Ali Sistani!<br />How is that possible? How ridiculous is this?<br />How can you possibly sugar coat this with hadith and Quran and deem this insignificant????<br />I am curious and will await your reply.<br />Abu Abbas
  27. Musa
    September 28, 14:11
    Hello, please people wake up! This is no more a question of sighting the moon then quashing our egos. The clergy will always insist that there be differences so that they can hold on to their jobs. Now they insist that it is okay to be different, what a joke. The world has evolved, as long as sunnis and shias, and other sects of other religions continue to divide, evil consume us all.
  28. Dr. Abu JAwad
    September 30, 04:33
    Assalmou Alaikoum,<br />I agree with everything that it is been writen in this article. This is a good article in the matter of educating people about this complicated subject and the diffecrences in Fatwa between our great Mrajaa's. But i have one comment about it, whoever wrote the article forgot to mentioned the Fatwa of Grand Ayotollah mohammed Hussein Fadlallah which really summarizes the problem and give a new insight about it.<br />Please do Duaa for me.
  29. .........
    October 02, 16:11
    May Allah grant you (and us all) hidayat to remain on the right path. ILLAHI AMEEN! =)
  30. Arsalan.Rizvi
    October 02, 16:36
    Salamun Alaikum<br /><br />For those who are interested, the reference for the Imam Ali [as] incident mentioned in the article is [i]Wasail ash-Shia[/i], volume 10, chapter on Fasting. I apologize for the delay in responding, but I had originally heard the incident mentioned in a speech by Maulana Sadiq Hasan, a prominent Pakistani scholar, and I was waiting to hear back from him in regards to the reference. The article has now been updated to include the reference.<br /><br />Secondly, comments that the Maraja should "get together and resolve their differences" reflect a sad misunderstanding of the system of Ijtihad and Marjaiyyat. The whole purpose of Taqleed is to follow the Maraja on issues where this [i][b]is[/b][/i] a difference of opinion; if there were no differences, what would be the point of doing Taqleed in the first place?! Indeed, these differences are a natural product of the reasoning component within the system of Ijtihad as set up by the Infallibles [as], and it is these minor differences that have kept our academic tradition alive and prevented intellectual stagnation. <br /><br />Lastly, I find it foolish -- if not outright impudent -- to suggest that individuals such as you and I possess greater foresight that our great scholars, or that we are far more concerned about the matter of unity than them. In this matter, I refer you to the following tradition of Imam as-Sadiq [as]: <br /><br />[quote]They must seek out one of you who narrates our traditions, who is versed in what is permissible and what is forbidden, who is well-acquainted with our laws and ordinances, and accept him as judge and arbiter, for I appoint him as judge over you. [b]If the ruling which he based on our laws is rejected, this rejection will be tantamount to ignoring the order of Allah, and rejecting us is the same as rejecting Allah, and this is the same as polytheism.[/b][/quote]<br />([i]Firu al-Kafi[/i], vol 3, p. 412)<br /><br />For those who are interested in gaining a better understanding of Ijtihad and Marjaiyyat, the following books and articles are quite beneficial:<br /><br />[url]http://www.al-islam.org/jurisprudence[/url]<br />[url]http://www.al-islam.org/al-serat/default.asp?url=ijtihad.htm[/url]<br />[url]http://www.al-islam.org/beliefs/practices/taqlid.html[/url]<br />[url]http://www.islamicinsights.com/religion/clergy-corner/ask-the-experts.html[/url]<br />[url]http://islamicinsights.com/religion/religion/religious-extremism-and-the-need-for-religious-authority.html[/url]<br /><br />Wassalam Alaikum,<br /><br />Arsalan Rizvi
  31. Sid
    August 30, 08:43
    I just don't understand why our Marajas cannot sit together, engage a rigorous discussion and come up to some consensus approach to resolve all such matters. This would really help the entire Muslim Umma (esp. Shiites) to resolve this and myriad of others matters peacefully.
  32. Mukkarram
    August 30, 10:52
    Look the article sends a positive message and in that regard I like it.... Its nice to have different views....But one thing is to be accepted, when there are two Eids, we all know, of the two, only one is correct. You can't just go on debating he is also right and so is he according to his interpretation of Islamic Laws.... The basic fact of the matter is out of the two, one is surely wrong, period...<br /><br />I personally don't think the Hadees quoted in which Imam Ali(A.S) tells the man to celebrate Eid while the whole community doesn't isn't that commendable. I doubt its authenticity.... Imam would never give a doubting answer, if someone is wrong, Imam will prove it, if someone is lying to his face, then Imam has lots ways of proving it. There have been many incidents where people came to Imam Ali(A.S) making false claims about things, but Imam should their lies openly, like for example when a servant took over his masters camel and claimed it to be his and also had witnesses to justify his claims, the master who was the real owner was asked at the end by Imam to say something in defence, to which the owner said, this male camel which these people claim are not mine is infact a female camel. I know this because I am the real owner. So in moral, even a majority was proven wrong. Imam handled the matter in such a way that truth prevails, this is the reason Imam Ali(A.S) asked the real owner at the end... So therefore, Imam Ali(A.S) would not pass a comment that creates difference of opinion.... <br /><br />So I would just say that, think about it, unity is important for Muslims but not so important that you overlook right from wrong just for the sake of unity...

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