Wednesday, January 11

Eid And Moon Sightings: My Take

A lot has been said regarding how Muslims are apparently split on the whole moon sighting and Eid-day choosing, and how the fact that we always seem to have two days is the bane of the Ummah and how we'd all be much stronger and united if we all agreed on the same date for our festivals. Now apart from the practicalities of such a thing (that is it's so not gonna happen), I'm not sure it's a problem at all. Or to be more accurate, that the difference in dates itself is a problem.

Now I think I've talked about this in the past, but a particularly strongly worded blog regarding this issue prompted me to respond via a comment to the same, a copy of which I've included here and pretty much explains what I think on the subject:

I strongly disagree. The problem is NOT Muslims celebrating it on different days, it's Muslims not accepting that others may have a different understanding of the religion that they share. I hope all my brothers and sisters had a fantastic Eid whether they did it on Tuesday or Wednesday. When they did it is an unimportant detail to me.

Although I accept that there are political and cultural reasons for some to choose the day on which they celebrate Eid, there are technical and perfectly sound Islamic reasons also. We can discuss these if you want but the details are not the point (although, briefly, it was impossible to sight any moon, new or not in the UK on the night of the 1st of January and for those who hold this as a criteria it would have been the 10th of Dhul Hajj on Wednesday).

There is no central Islamic authority - in fact we've been told not to have one. The fact that Muslims can celebrate such an important day on different dates and yet still be united is a blessing and something we should try to achieve, not a curse and something to avoid. In other words, celebrating Eid on a single day would be as ineffective as truly uniting us as would if we all started praying or dressing the same way.

You're right about one thing though. The problem is indeed with Muslims. However it's not that they don't agree too much, it's that they can't agree to disagree and accept difference in opinion when they do.