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FCNA Announcement Re. ‘Eid al-Fitr

October 1, 2008 by  


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Press Release

The Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council for Fatwa and Research, after careful examination of the Shari’i sources and opinions of classical and modern scholars have concluded that it is permissible according to Shari’ah to use scientific calculations for determining the Islamic lunar months. The criteria adopted by the two Councils are as follows:

* The new moon (i.e. time of conjunction) is when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun closest to the Sun-Earth line. This time of conjunction is precisely predictable by astronomical calculation. The conjunction can happen at any time during the day or night. This precision is one manifestation of the laws that Allah created in the universe. In the Qur`an we read “The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed”  [Al-Rahman; 55:4]. The Qur`anic Arabic term for computation in this verse is “Husbaan” which is an intensified form of computation or calculation meaning very precise calculation.

* The new Islamic lunar month begins after the moment of conjunction [or at the beginning of separation] on condition that the moon sets on that evening anytime after sunset.

* While the astronomical moon occurs in the whole world at the same moment, the Islamic day begins after sunset, and this varies from one location to the other. Therefore, a “conventional point of reference” must be chosen for sunset and moonset. Of various possible options, especially for Muslims residing in Europe and the Americas, Makkah al-Mukarramah was chosen by the two Fiqh councils.

This means that the moonset in Makkah al-Mukarramah must occur after sunset in that city. Data on sunrise, sunset and moonset are available in advance, and do not require any announcement. (For more information see:  http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/)

Following is the definitive astronomical scientific information for the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal this year:

* The Astronomical New Moon (or conjunction) is on Monday, September 29, 2008 at 11:12 according to Makkah time. (It will be 8:12 GMT, 4:12 am EDT, 1:12 am PDT).

* On September 29, 2008, the Astronomical New Moon occurs and sets before sunset in Makkah. This does not meet the criteria stated above (especially in “B” above).

On the basis of the above information the Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council for Fatwa and Research have announced that September 30th is the 30th day of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr1429 will be on October 1st, 2008.

We urge our communities to be united in their celebrations and wish them Eid Mubarak.

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