Every year it is the same. In the UK there is a split in the community and the joyous occasion that is Eid descends into argument with the announcement of Eid on two different days. This year, everyone started Ramadan together and we were confident that perhaps this year we would complete the holy month as one community and celebrate Eid in unison. Unfortunately, the customary Saudi spanner (monkey wrench) was cast into the machinery of Ramadan and they announced Eid a day early for the 29th of Ramadan. Once the dust of confusion had settled it became clear, more so this year than in previous, that the Saudis got is wrong yet again. The first issue is that the Saudis use a preset calendar called the Umm al-Qurra calendar and it seems that the authorities are reluctant to deviate from it and often conjure up bogus or mistaken moonsightings to bolster the calendar. The calendar is based on a calculated birth of the new moon and not the actual moon sighting which is contrary to the Sunnah of the Prophet of “sight the moon and start Ramadan, sight the moon and do eid, if sighting is not possible then complete the 30 days of Ramadan”. The irony here is that the sect represented by the Saudis and their religious scholars make a song and dance about “Quran and Sunnah” it is a mantra that has been used by them as a stick to beat other Muslims with, and yet here we see them dispense with the Sunnah in favour of something else. The position they have taken is clearly a bid’ah (a religious innovation) and for the Wahhabi sect ALL bid’ahs are a misguidance since they do not have a “hasan” (good) category of bid’ah.
This year, two things utterly exposed the Saudi position beyond any doubt. Firstly, the Jeddah based Astronomical Society of Saudi Arabia, clearly informed their government that it is most likely to be a 30 day Ramadan and that moonsighting was NOT possible on Monday 28th Ramadan (28th August 2011) anywhere in the Kingdom therefore Eid al-Fitr is likely to be on Wednesday – see http://www.arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article494126.ece. This fact is borne out by the various websites publishing moonsigthing data, in fact the only place that the new moon could be sighted clearly was somewhere in the Pacific Ocean and pretty much nowhere else. Despite this evidence, magically, reports of moonsightings came from Saudi Arabia and thus the day of Eid was confirmed for the what in reality was the 30th of Ramadan. Continue reading Saturn – the new new moon?