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City of Brass

City of Brass

Has Ramadan begun yet?

This year, there’s been more divergence than usual about the beginning of Ramadan, since the visibility of the moon has been very poor (especially in the Western Hemisphere). You can get a sense of the problem from calculated visibility maps which suggest that the moon would not be visible by naked eye for most of the world until Wednesday August 11 at the earliest; the website CrescentWatch reports that no reliable moon sightings have yet been received and advise Ramadan begin on Thursday August 12 (since any later than that would extend the previous month of Shaban to more than 30 days). Those of us who adhere to the lunar calendar approach have been fasting since Tuesday. Meanwhile, the majority of Arab states are beginning Ramadan today on Wednesday. Intriguingly, Egypt is experimenting this year with turning the clock back an hour, akin to Daylight Savings Time. That adds a whole new layer to the wrangling over Ramadan timekeeping!

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As a result, Eid al-Fitr will probably be celebrated by muslims over a span of three days from September 9th to September 11th. I have a feeling that given the rise of Islamophobia in America of late, we are going to be seeing email forwards about “muslims celebrating on 9-11″ as a result.

An interesting note – a new NGO known as Green Ramadan is going to promote the connection of Ramadan and environmentalism. You can find more information about Green Ramadan on Facebook (their website is still in development).

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Related – my primer on the perennial moonsighting vs calendrical debate for determining the start (and end) of Ramadan. Also at Beliefnet there’s a gallery of Ten Prayers for Ramadan and Ten Tips for Fasting Healthfully and Spiritually.

  • Adam

    So, do different parts of the world start Ramadan differently? I know some in the US start today (11th) and a friend currently in Japan is starting tomorrow. Or, is it personal preference?

  • Aziz Poonawalla

    it varies by whether you follow moonsighting or lunar calendar calculations – see my link in the related section at the end of the post, about the perennial debate. Pretty fascinating peek at the diversity of muslim practices.

  • Faizah

    Seems that every year there is this “conflict” so much so that it divides Muslims in the same country (particularly the in the US) and it creates undue tensions. With the climate of Islamophobia that abounds it seems that the whole ummah would step away from this annual conflict and focus more on unity because the more we are conflicted from within the more challenges we will find coming from the outside that we will be ill-prepared to address.

Previous Posts

Ramadan Pearls 05 - objective
As for the men of knowledge of the hereafter, what they mean by the correctness of fasting is its acceptability; and the acceptability of the fast is whether or not it has enabled one to reach one's objective. They understand the objective of ...

posted 7:26:32am Jul. 05, 2015 | read full post »

The Fourth and the First
This evening, just prior to sunrise, members of my mosque in Los Angeles gathered round to raise the flag of the United States of America. Due to fortuitous timing, just as the flag was unfurled, a squadron of planes flew overhead in formation, ...

posted 12:38:00am Jul. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 04 - angels
He who has fasted for Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, and is in the discomfort of heat and struck by thirst, will have his face wiped and be given the good news by a thousand angels whom Allah has entrusted to him until he breaks his fast; at ...

posted 8:16:29am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

ibadat in Ramadan - process as piety
There are a lot of articles written during Ramadan about what Ramadan means, about what we as Muslims should be "getting out" of Ramadan, what the benefits of Ramadan should be. But I think that these sorts of articles miss the point of ibadat. ...

posted 10:20:36am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 03 - mystery
Know that the goal in fasting is for the veil of appetite and anger to be lifted from the heart's eye so that the heart may see the mystery of the dominion of heaven and earth. (The Easy Roads of Sayf al-Din, as translated by William Chittick ...

posted 8:57:01am Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

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