Many of us have thought that the Muslim community of North America has gone far beyond old controversies of Hilal and Halal but this year’s multiple Ramadan announcements have proven the otherwise. We had at least three starting dates for Ramadan. There is a possibility that we may have three different days for Eid al-Fitr also. It is embarrassing. The Sun and moon are celestial bodies with their own orbits and phases. Allah SWT has fixed the moon’s manazil (phases) as He did for the Sun. The Muslim jurists have no problem fixing daily prayers, Imsaak and Suhoor timings in accordance with Sun phases but seem to have extreme reluctance in using moon phases to establish an Islamic calendar. The Qur’an, on the other hand, authenticates calendar based upon precise moon phases and not Sun phases. “It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light, and measured out stages for it (moon); that you might know the number of years and the calculations. (Surah Yunus 10:5) The Islamic calendar is lunar and not solar. Allah SWT would have not prescribed the lunar based calendar for all devotional acts had it been so erratic as we have made it to be. There is one Ramadan, one Night of Power (Lailat al-Qadr) and one Eid al-Fitr at least for each hemisphere.
Many of us watched the full moon of Ramadan on Monday, July 22. It was really a full moon. At Maghrib the moonrise synchronized with Sunset in North America. That was the proof that 14th Manzil of moon (moon phase) was completed on the 14th day of Ramadan according to the Fiqh Council’s calendar.