People of the Qibla, Not People of the Moon

Bismi Allah

Were it not that the Qur'an explicitly commands us Muslims to turn our faces to the Ka'bah, we would probably differ as to where to face during our five daily prayers.

Each year, Muslims anxiously await the arrival of Ramadhaan and then the announcement of Eid. As a youngster, I remember some days when we would pray salatul Taraweeh and go to bed only to hear the phone ringing at some strange hour of the night with someone from the masjid telling us that indeed the moon was sighted and the next day was Eid. It was so exciting! I would hear my Mom go into the kitchen early in the morning to finish things that she had initially expected to complete with ease one day before Eid.

And then I grew up...

Now each year when the confusion of Ramadhaan's beginning and end manifests itself, my heart cringes, but most often I don't express that to many others. I remember last year when I was talking to a sister at school and we discovered that we were a day off on our Eid celebrations. I made light of the community's dilemma by saying "Well I guess that's why Eid is three days. At least one of those days we'll be celebrating together."

Today I just had to absorb this moon sighting dilemma. I was under the impression that the 15th of Sha'baan is due to be tomorrow and thus tonight would be Layatul Bara'ah. My brother went to the masjid for salatul Maghrib and was told that tonight is not the 15th, but the 14th of Sha'baan. Hmm... I was surprised. I thought I remember receiving an e-mail that said that the Muslims of North America had reached some type of agreement regarding the sighting of the moon, so I checked it up online. Moonsighting.com says that tonight is the 15th. The Hilal Committee says it's the 14th and offers a refutation to ISNA's and the Fiqh Council's decision.

Really, I can't blame our ummah for their differing opinions. If I think about it a little more, I find that the bright side is that at least we are thinking and trying to follow Islam as best as we can. At least we are trying to consult the scholars. We may not agree, but agreement does not necessarily mean unity and disagreement does not necessarily indicate disunity.

The issue of the moon potentially has disuniting effects, but praise be to God, we are people of the qibla and as such we will remain united even if it is only in our core beliefs and the direction that we all prostate towards five times each day.

May the Almighty forgive our sins and accept our deeds for His sake, ameen.

Update: 2006-09-24

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has written a very detailed and enlightening article concerning this issue. It is entitled "Cesarean Moon Births." It is in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2. Please read it.

3 comments:

moonsightingdebate said...

Yes, disagreement does not necassarily mean disunity but when people start crossing the clearly defined boundary defined by the Quran and the Sunnah, thats when voices are raised at the expense of unity. We can only pray Allah to unite our ummah.

Farzeen said...

Assalaamu'alaykum

Jazak'Allah khayr for your comments.

It seems that in my post I was being overly simplistic about the issue and ignorant of the specific happenings surrounding it in that I said the bright side is that we are all consulting scholars, but after reading your blog I realize that I can't say that because some of us may not be consulting scholars.

So there is no real bright side to this issue is there? SubhanAllah...

Yes, may Allah unite this ummah of ours to practice His gift of Islam as He wills, ameen.

moonsightingdebate said...

Walaikum assalam and wa iyyakum,

The aim of the moon sighting debate blog is to offer perspective which has been thoroughly approved by the scholars I trust and follow. Any shortcomings though are my own, of course.

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]

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