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Houstonian Corner, Vol. 8 Iss. 40

September 28, 2006 by  


Chaos swirls on Houston Halal Hilal; world in ruin

We are having heated debates about Halal Hilal (the eyewitnessed new moon), while many people of the world–especially Muslims–are lying in dumps and profusely bleeding.

The decision to declare the start of Ramadan 1427 in the Greater Houston Muslim Community became most chaotic this year. Usually, historically, the issue regarding the Day of Eid-al-Adha has been more contentious.

This year the Scholars of the Independent “Fiqh Council of North America” announced that they would strive in the next three to four years to implement ahead of time a fixed Islamic calendar based on scientific calculations of the birth of the moon.

However, with the advent of this calendar there was continued chaos in many metropolises across North America; perhaps even more than in the past, especially here in the Greater Eight County Houston-Galveston Region.

The end result was that the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), Madrasa-e-Islamiah, Asia Center, and the Dawah Convention announced that Saturday was the 1st day of Ramadan; the Al-Noor Society and its affiliated masajid announced Sunday was the 1st day of Ramadan; meanwhile the Islamic Education Center (IEC) at South Voss and its affiliated Bargaz declared Monday the 1st of Ramadan.

Each organization and institution came with an explanation of its position, each of which to a common person seemed logical.

None of the above-mentioned major organizations in Houston accepted to follow the recommendations of the FCNA astronomical calculations, instead announcing they would get their own witnesses of the sighting of the moon.

A five member committee of ISGH, Madrasa-e-Islamiah, Asia Center and Dawah Convention was formed and they received credible evidence from witnesses in Houston and Denton Texas on Friday evening.

Madrasa-e-Islamiah’s position was that evening was 28th of Shaban and moon sighting was not possible. However, when witnessings from some very credible people including an imam, the five member committee unanimously announced Ramadan for Saturday.

The Al-Noor Society and its affiliated masajid under the Islamic Foundation of North America (IFNA) already has an existing system of getting witnesses for the new moon. They announced since it was 28th of Shaban, moon sighting was not possible on Friday evening and that their affiliates of IFNA were not able to find the credible witnesses on that evening. They got convincing eyewitnesses from Dallas Texas on Saturday and as such started Ramadan on Sunday.

IEC got their witnesses on Sunday and started Ramadan on Monday.

Now there are several smaller Muslim communities across North America, who look up to certain organizations, and no one was certain who was right, since everybody seemed to be correct and certainly everone claimed to be correct. There have been many who thought the fixed calendar was a way to resolve this long-hanging issue of “Halal Hilal.” However, this new approach has been completely disregarded by many and this year there was even greater confusion and inconsistency of opinion–even within the boundaries of a single city like Houston. This was rarely seen in the past, especially for Ramadan.

Here is a question to the Muslims in North America: is it worth debating about Halal Hilal when much of humanity is living in shattered places and are in shackles of poverty and intimidation? Aren’t the Muslims followers of Messenger Mohammad (s) who is Indeed Mercy to the Whole Worlds?

Have Recognized?

At a business seminar I attended recently the speaker referenced a book saying negative speech is equivalent to weeds that grow in our lawns.

Soon after, I was working in our front yard to clean the weeds from flower beds and the strenuous effort made me think about using the brain given by Almighty God, which does trillions of calculations in the blink of an eye.

Why has God given us such a powerful brain: If only to drink, eat and have fun, then it was not necessary to create such a powerful thing. The idea of such a vigorous brain is to think and discover.

Now when I started to think about the weeds, I realized that they have a negative effect on the existence of flowers and fruits. However, to grow these weeds I did not have to put much effort: They just grew by themselves –Yes: I was partly responsible, where I neglected the lawn, they were creeping up.

Now when I need to grow flowers, vegetables and fruits, it takes effort, while the weeds just grow by themselves. Similarly, it is always easy to say negative words, and as we continue to speak negative words heedlessly, negative thoughts just like weeds creep into our brain and our brain can then think nothing but negative thoughts: By not being careful, we entangle ourselves and others around us into mediocrity.

In order to recuperate from this situation, we have to put exhaustive efforts of thinking positively on a consistent basis to have these negative weeds removed from our brains – Yes: To think positively takes effort and strength and that is why we need such a powerful brain.

What else needs to be positive and healthy to make our thought process positive–Yes, you are right–it is the heart from which we have to throw out egotism, jealousy, hate, selfishness and so on. We Muslims are so very lucky that we have this Blessed Month of Ramadan to work on our heart and brain to make things positive around us.

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