Advertisement

City of Brass

City of Brass

Mumbai muslims’ Eid confusion

My position on moonsighting vs calculation has always been simple: to you be your way, to me mine. Muslims should not squabble over the differences that arise every year about the start of Ramadan and the date of Eid, but rather should accept that there are differences in fiqh and entrust that the individual Muslim will make an informed decision as to how to observe these dates.

Advertisement

But I am compelled to point out that the unusual situation this year in Mumbai is unique to moonsighting. Put simply, Mumbai muslims are being asked to fast for one day after Eid:

Eid is meant to mark the end of the month-long fast of Ramzan, but if the Ruyat-e-Hilal Committee (Chand Committee) has its way, several Muslims will have to observe a day of fasting after celebrating Eid.

The cause of this confusion is the fact that the moon was sighted in Mumbai only July 21, because of which the Ramzan fast started on July 22 for many city Muslims. In other parts of the country, it started a day earlier.

Advertisement

Mufti Mehmood Akhtar, a member of the Chand Committee, said, “The moon is expected to be spotted this Sunday, so Eid will be celebrated on Monday. While in other parts of the country people will have completed 30 days of fasting by Sunday, many Muslims in Mumbai we will have fasted for just 29 days. Therefore, we have decided that after Eid, we will observe a day of fast.”

This is extremely unusual, to say the least. The crux of the problem is that the moon sighting on July 21st in Mumbai was probably a mistake; given that elsewhere in India, the moon had been sighted the day before, and this information was surely known to the Chand Committee, it seems that they deliberately ignored that information when making their ruling.

Advertisement

The decision to require a day of fasting after Eid is extremely unusual, if not outright bizarre. What is the logic? If the intent is to ensure 30 days of fasting, then there are already existing rules for making up a missed fast.

My community, the Dawoodi Bohras, began our Ramadan on July 19th and completed exactly 30 days of fasting to observe Eid on August 18th, so this does not pertain to our community. The Chand Committee’s decision is only authoritative for muslims who abide by moonsighting. I suspect however that there may be some reassessment of their authority for next year. Not everyone plans to follow their lead:

Advertisement

Mehboob Khan, a resident of Mohammed Ali Road, was equally vocal about his opposition. “While we are supposed to obey whatever our religious leaders tell us, it is really sad to see such confusion over fasting. It must end. Ramzan is a very spiritual time and I don’t think I will fast after Eid, even if my leaders ask me to,” he said.

Still, Mumbai muslims could have it much worse. At least they aren’t living in Finland!

Related: motalib, who is harshly critical of the decision. And here is Moonsighting.com’s compilation of reports worldwide for Ramadan 1433; the testimony from the various Indian observers is quite revealing (scroll down).

  • http://phelps.donotremove.net Phelps

    Reminds me of my favorite scene from Inherit the Wind:

    BRADY A fine Biblical scholar, Bishop Usher, has determined for us the exact date and hour of the Creation. It occurred inthe year 4004 B.C.
    DRUMMOND That’s Bishop Usher’s opinion.
    BRADY It is not an opinion. It is a literal fact, which the good Bishop arrived at through careful computation of the ages of the prophets as set down in the Old Testament. In fact, he determined that the Lord began the Creation on the 23rd of October in the Year 4004 B.C. at- uh, at 9 A.M.!
    DRUMMOND That Eastern Standard Time? Or Rocky Mountain Time? It wasn’t daylight saving time, was it? Because the Lord didn’t make the sun until the fourth day!
    BRADY That is correct.
    DRUMMOND The first day. Was it a twenty-four-hour day?
    BRADY The Bible says it was a day.
    DRUMMOND There wasn’t any sun. How do you know how long it was?
    BRADY The Bible says it was a day.
    DRUMMOND A normal day, a literal day, a twenty-four-hour day?
    BRADY I do not know.
    DRUMMOND What do you think?
    BRADY I do not think about things that . . . I do not think about!

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 »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.