Ramadan Triangle

October 18, 2007 by  


By Mike Ghouse

May God bless you and your family with peace and prosperity.

Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan – Eid Mubarak) to those who celebrate on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, heck even on Monday. Let’s not ruin any one’s joy. Let’s leave the judgment to Malik-i-yomiddin (Master of the Day of Judgment).

It’s been an age old tradition to disagree on sighting of the moon and or deciding the day of the Eid. Why is it such heartburn? My opinion is one of the 1.3 billion ones, but I hope, it will give you an insight into this age old conflict.

We go through this pain every year, let’s accept that, it is going to be there till eternity, as it has been there since the very beginning. We can choose to be frustrated, bring about a change or just let it go.

Arrogance is the root cause of all conflicts; the belief that my understanding is superior to yours is the sole reason for this dispute. It is an embarrassment that we have not brought a resolution to this conflict. We have not even defined and agreed upon the intent and purpose of Eid.

Eid is an occasion to bring the whole community together, as Hajj brings the Muslim world together. It is an occasion to forgive each other’s mistakes, apologize for the wrongs and start it all over with a clean slate of good relations. God loves those who forgive and those who are humble.

Sighting of the moon is a uniting factor, assuming that the moon is visible on the same day to all and all communities connected and prayed on the same day barring time zones.

The difference is between the literalists, essentialists, and now the scientists are a part of the triangle. Prophet Muhammad (s) said; celebrate the Eid when you see the moon.

The literalists interpret that one has to see the moon him/herself to declare the Eid. Seeing is critical to them, every thing else is secondary.

The ones, who understand the essence, believe that Eid was for the community to come together and celebrate. Thus if one sees the Moon in Chennai, it was good for every one. If some one in Karachi, Fez, Kuala Lumpur or Mecca sees it… it is good to go. To this group, celebrating the Eid as a community is of greater importance.

The Scientists say, they can track down the moon and predict it precisely, and they prefer to go by that. As the day to day prayers are based on precision, let everything be planned, it makes life easy.

There is another group who has come to enjoy the ritual of looking out for the moon, the anxiety, the waiting and the surprise is part of the fun to them. They fly from that point.

Essentialists have no problem celebrating the Eid if every one goes along on any day, where as the literalist will not budge, rightly so from their own point of view, there is a rule and it has to be followed, i.e. ., physically see the moon to celebrate. Scientists say we could not be clearer than the factual representation.

Scientist will not gain the attention for at least one more generation, as it kills all the sentiment and fun of celebrating and sighting the moon, going shopping… jumping on the feet and getting ready for the Eid. It is a festive occasion and the surprise of the day is part of the celebration.

Two analogies for consideration:

First, you don’t want to know the gender of the baby before it is born and second, making love is an emotional experience and not a scientific one; science kills the whole joy of it.

THE IRONY: Praying Salat is mandatory – Fard, a duty. The timing for five prayers a day is set up to the minute with no disputes. Whereas Eid is not Fard, it is Wajib – Recommended, thus there is A room for human input and choice element in this decision, and when there is a choice, politics creeps in and it has to be “my way”. That is the problem.

Let’s wish happy Eid to those who celebrate on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, heck even on Monday. Let’s not ruin any one’s joy. Let’s leave the judgment to the Malik-i-yomiddin.

Eid Mubarak! May Allah bless all of his creation with peace.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the www.FoundationforPluralism.com and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the www.WorldMuslimCongress.com with a simple theme: “Good for Muslims and good for the world.” His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com For a full bio: http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp

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