Ramadan Series: Some details to keep in mind

Posted on August 25, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Assalam alaikum & peace to all.

Every year I hear the debates about what to do and not do during Ramadan.  First it all starts with the actual start of Ramadan, then it is about the start and finish times everyday of the fast, etc.  So I thought I would research some of these and present my findings, Inshallah we will all benefit from it.

Moonsighting Info and Advice

Muslims in America and Canada start their Islamic dates and events based on a criteria adopted by the Islamic Shura Council of North America.

The Islamic Shura Council of North America is a four-member body comprised of the representatives of the four largest Muslim organizations on the continent: the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) the Islamic Circle of North America, the Ministry of W.D. Mohammad, and the Jamaat Community of Imam Jamil al-Amin.

How the Shura Council makes its decision

The Shura Council’s Fiqh position on the issue of moonsighting is that that they will accept any moonsighting from within North America as long as it is not contradicted by undisputed astronomical calculations. In other words, no astronomers differ that the moon can be sighted by a person who has claimed to see it.

What usually happens is if someone claims to have seen the moon, they should call ISNA headquarters in Plainfield, Indiana and a couple of Muslim astronomers talk back to them to authenticate whether they have seen the moon or have mistaken something else for the moon.

Why there are differences about the beginning and end of Islamic dates

Yet, it is not uncommon to find different Muslim countries beginning and ending of Islamic months on varying days. Shaukat explains that this is because of the method they use to determine the month’s beginning and end. There are five main ways Muslims worldwide determine the Islamic dates:

1. Some countries go by actual physical sighting of the moon. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UK, the United States, Canada and the West Indies uses this method.

2. Some countries calculate different things about the position of the moon. Saudi Arabia, for example, calculates when is the new moon is born and then follow these calculations when deciding when an Islamic month begins and ends.

3. Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei determine Islamic events and dates by the calculation of the position of the moon at sunset in their country. If the moon is two degrees above the horizon and three degrees away from the sun then they consider that the new month has begun.

4. In Egypt, if the moon sets five minutes after sunset in their country, then they consider that the moon has been sighted. They do not require physical sighting.

5. Some countries follow the decisions of other Muslim countries. Syria, Turkey and Iraq often follow Egypt’s decision or Saudi Arabia’s. The Gulf countries and some European countries also follow Saudi Arabia’s decision.

“The problem is multiplied when people from these countries in North America want to follow their home country and they try to insist authorities like the Shura council to follow the very first country which has announced the beginning of the month.

Keep your eyes peeled, your telescopes focused and your binoculars ready.

For more information on moonsighting for Ramadan, you can also consult the website http://www.moonsighting.com

Visit Toronto Muslims.com for more on this article

Respected scholars, As-salamu `alaykum. I am from Turkey and currently living in Detroit, USA. I am very confused about imsak (the time to stop eating sahur) and fajr. In Turkey, Muslims finish sahur 15 minutes before fajr. Prayer times I downloaded from the Internet do not have imsak. Muslims here finish sahur at fajr. Which one is right? Jazakum Allahu khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thanks a lot for your question, which reflects your care to have a clear view of the teachings of Islam. Allah commands Muslims to refer to people of knowledge to become well acquainted with the teachings of Islam in all aspects of life.

First of all, bear in mind that Allah has permitted the fasting person to eat and drink until dawn comes. He, Most High, says: (and eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn) (Al-Baqarah 2:187).

The exact cut-off time for imsak (abstaining from food, drink, etc.) is the time of fajr (dawn); so if you ate until that time you did not incur any sin. Most of the time people confuse between the preferred time and the permissible one; the preferred time for imsak, according to scholars, is to finish sahur ten minutes before fajr.

In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following:

You need not be overly confused about this issue, for it is merely a difference of opinion based on the distinction between what is preferred and what is merely permissible. There is no doubt that the cut-off point for consuming sahur is the arrival of dawn (i.e., fajr time). However, the preferred time for abstention is 10 or 15 minutes earlier than that.

The basis for establishing the preferred time of abstention (imsak ) is an authentic tradition from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One of his Companions narrated the story of taking sahur with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Upon hearing it, someone asked him, “What was the time gap between your sahur and fajr salah?” He replied, “The time required to read fifty verses of the Qur’an.” It is estimated that this time can be 10 or 15 minutes and not more.

This, therefore, is the basis for the imsak time you are used to in Turkey. However, it must be pointed out that the above mentioned hadith does not state that it is not permissible to consume sahur later than that, for it only states that it was the sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). As for the permissibility of consuming sahur until the arrival of dawn, it has been established by the clear text of the Qur’an: (Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black thread of night) (Al-Baqarah 2:187).

Advertisements

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

One Response to “Ramadan Series: Some details to keep in mind”

RSS Feed for 4reverts's Weblog Comments RSS Feed

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


Where's The Comment Form?

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: