New Calendar Means No More Confusion

August 29, 2006 § 17 Comments

I’m still not sure exactly where I stand on this issue,

“The Fiqh Council of North America announced earlier this month that it would no longer rely on moon sightings to determine the start of holidays and would instead use astronomical calculations. The panel released an Islamic calendar that runs through 2011, hoping Muslims in the United States and Canada can be persuaded to trade the old way for the new.” (R. Zoll, Lexington Herald-Leader)

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§ 17 Responses to New Calendar Means No More Confusion

  • Kari Ansari says:

    I don’t think it will end the problem around communities being split by the local mosque leadership’s decision on the Eids. I’ve lived in several communities over the years and I can only say except for our current community, the dates for the Eids has always been in disagreement. I recall one family, wherein the college age daughter refused to end her fast while the rest of the family celebrated Eid, and she prayed the Eid salat the next day at the “other ” mosque.
    I can’t even think of a solution for that. The Fiqh Council is trying to present a unified concept, and if you read their entire statement, it seems to make sense, although I am not a fiqhia! (as I told Rachel Zoll when she called me for my comments on this issue.)
    I only wish that communities would at least come together even on their local level so that families aren’t torn between two mosques.

  • muslim says:

    while i agree that unity is important, i feel that the use of calculation is prohibited. so even though it might seem well-intentioned, the reality is, something not in accordance with the sunnah is at best, doomed to failure.

    i also blogged about this here and here

  • Abu Sahajj says:

    i feel that the use of calculation is prohibited.

    I am glad that you said this because it may start a discussion that I have been meaning to have on Wa Salaam for some time.

    Where do we (Muslims) draw the line between “innovation” and intelligence? How do we determine what is condemned as unIslamic or against Sunnah with the possibility of such advances was not capable at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)?

  • Abu Sahajj says:

    I only wish that communities would at least come together even on their local level so that families aren’t torn between two mosques.

    Perhaps this will be a start, inshaAllah.

    wasalaam

  • muslim says:

    heres the real question:

    why don’t they try to unite on one of the 2 opinions (local sighting vs. global sighting) instead of creating a 3rd opinion thats not in accordance with the sunnah?

    i mean honestly i think the real point is that isna prefers science to the sunnah. as i mentioned on my blog, ive heard sayed sayeed speak about this in person. a couple of years ago he said that their goal was for people to not even go out and sight the moon anymore (which is undeniably a sunnah no matter how you slice it), and just use their predetermined calculations.

    i think an unfortunate consequence of this whole debate is a polarization of people into 2 camps: 1) people who are “pro-unity” and thus using calculation, and 2) people who are opposed to calculations and thus ‘opposing’ unity

    ive often for years wished people could settle on one opinion – whether its following one sighting for the whole ummah, or just one for north america (ie global vs. local) and stick with it. that hasn’t worked, and im not sure introducing a 3rd opinion is going to exactly bridge the gap, especially when its an opinion thats in opposition to hadith on the issue.

  • Kari Ansari says:

    “How do we determine what is condemned as unIslamic or against Sunnah with the possibility of such advances was not capable at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)?”

    Did the Sahaba understand all the meaning of the Qur’an at the time it was revealed? Don’t we marvel at the miracles just now apparent in the words of the Qur’an? The Qur’an and Sunnah were written for all time and so while it is our obligation to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet, pbuh, do we interpret it the same as the people did 1,400 years ago? That’s my question. Would Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, want all this dis-unity? I’m only asking, not trying to be argumentative, because arguing is the real problem in the first place!

  • Kari Ansari says:

    Just an FYI, Kari is a feminine name, hence I am Sr. Kari.
    I pray the leadership in this country begins to communicate better in a more cooperative manner to help Muslim families such as mine who are always caught in the middle, trying to do what’s right.
    All the scholarly debate should be conducted with one objective, to come to a workable consensus that best serves Allah, Islam and Muslims living in America.

  • muslim says:

    sorry i apologize! i echo your last statement wholeheartedly

  • Abu Sahajj says:

    All the scholarly debate should be conducted with one objective, to come to a workable consensus that best serves Allah, Islam and Muslims living in America.

    Well said… thank you Kari… JazakAllah.

    wasalaam

  • Muslim Apple says:

    Asalamu alaykum,

    It’s strange yet amazing how I keep runing into people in the Muslim blogosphere.

    The sighting of the moon is an issue of fiqh not of aqeedah. Our aqeedah does not change but fiqh rulings can shift depending on the situation.

    Ex. Stoning the Jamaarat.

    At the time of the sahaba the crowds were not as large as they are today. There were no massive stampedes and people being trampled to death at hajj whereas in our times hundreds of hajjis may be killed if the crowds get out of control. Hence the ulama have relaxed their previous opinion and allowed people to stone the jamaarat for a longer period of time.

    This is not innovation but the natural flexibility built into the Shariah.

    Wa salaam

  • Abu Sahajj says:

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam,

    It’s strange yet amazing how I keep runing into people in the Muslim blogosphere.

    It makes you realize how many Muslims are really out there rather than a lifeless number in an annual publication from CAIR.

    Thank you for you comment, it was most insightful.

    wasalaam

  • muslim says:

    muslim apple – would you still hold that opinion on the jamaraat, if for example, there was a hadith prohibiting that change regarding the jamaraat? or an ayah of the quran specifying how to do it?

    its like this – Allah(swt) knows best what advances in astronomical calculations we will make, and their accuracy, and what will be needed for past, present, future, and with all of that Knowledge, al-Hakeem still legislated for us to sight the moon (2:185) and revealed to the Prophet(saw) [54:3-4] to say that we do not use calculations in sighting of the moon.

    i would understand the point, if for example, there were conflicting texts, or differences from early generations of scholars on this issue (e.g. niqab vs. hijab), however, one finds no major scholar of the past or any madhhab supporting calculations, or any text opposing its prohibition.

    as an aside, good points about the muslim blogosphere, i too have had my eyes opened ever since i started blogging, and gotten exposed to many more thoughts, ideas, and a better feel of how muslims react to certain issues that one may otherwise not normally get from just mingling at their local masjids.

    jazakumallahu khayran

  • Muslim Apple says:

    Alhamdulillah, some sisters kept trying to get me to read Abu Eesa’s blog for the longest time but I had no interest in blogs until about a week ago and now I have literally bookmarked dozens of Muslim blogs and started my own blog. SubhanAllah. I check the blogs of my brothers and sisters just as I check the news online and often I prefer the blogs to the news sites.

  • Muslim Apple says:

    Muslim,

    I am not a scholar or student of knowledge. Although, I do try to gain knowledge by reading and taking classes, I am only a lay person. As such, I read opinions and their proofs and follow the people of knowledge that I trust.

    I know or have had access to a number of scholars on the Fiqh Council as well as good students of knowledge in my community. And although there is much disagreement on this issue what I have understood from them in general is that the opinion supporting calculations derives from legitimate ijtihad and is thus permissible to follow it.

    I know that others take the view that it is impermissible although that is not my view (or more precisely the view of those I am following). I am almost certain that my local masjid will not follow the opinion of calculations and if so I will accept that from them without any problem.

    My view is that it is not a problem when valid ijtihad is being followed for of a surety, the mujtahid that strove with sincerity to come to a conclusion is rewarded not punished by Allah subhanahu wa ta ala even if he is mistaken. Allah subhanahu wa ta ala is so Merciful and Forgiving and I desire His Mercy and Forgiveness so I try to have mercy for matters of sincere disagreement amongst scholars.

    W’Allahu ta ala Alam.

  • Islamic Calendar

    Fiqh Council of North America has decided to use astronomical calculations for the Islamic lunar calendar. I like the idea, but it is very controversial in the community. Let’s take a look at the blogosphere’s reaction.

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