Muslim Americans Celebrate Eid
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Eid Al Fitr was celebrated by the Muslim community in the United States with great fervor and enthusiasm. Majority of the Muslims celebrated Eid on Thursday November 3rd while some chose to observe the joyous occasion on Friday Nov. 4th.
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) had announced on Nov. 2 that according to the Fiqh Council of North America, the crescent of Shawwal has been sighted and the first day of Eid Al Fitr will be on November 3rd. Many Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates also celebrated Eid on November 3rd.

In the Silicon Valley Eid Al Fitr was celebrated on November 3rd with big Eid congregations in Santa Clara, Fremont and San Jose. Two sessions of prayers were held in Santa Clara to accommodate thousands of people. In San Jose, the Eid congregation at the Fairground was followed by a traditional Eid Mela. However, the Eid Mela was not big this year because many people chose to celebrate Eid in a low profile in sympathy with the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan.
Zaytuna Institute in Hayward decided to celebrate Eid on Friday like the Fiji Mosque in South San Francisco.
In an article on the controversy over the sighting of the moon of Shawwal, Imam Zaid Shakir of Zaytuna Institute explained that his institute was determined to take “our sacred days out of the hands of foreign organizations, or those domestic organizations that are influenced by foreign organizations.”
In Sacramento, Masjid Al Noor and Salam Center celebrated Eid on Thursday while the Historic Downtown Sacramento Mosque and the 24th Street Mosque held Eid congregations on Friday joining mosques in Woodland, Yuba City and Live Oak.
In Modesto, CA, where Thursday was 30th Ramadan, Eid congregation was held at the Civic Center in downtown Modesto. Davis mosque also celebrated Eid on Thursday.
Muslims from all over Wyoming came to the Islamic Center of Laramie to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr on Thursday. Laramie has the largest Muslim community in the state, primarily because students and professors from the University of Wyoming bolster the population.
Reports from Illinois, New York, Jersey, Ohio, Pittsburgh Texas and Virginia indicate that majority of the Muslims celebrated Eid on Thursday. The reports said that many mosques in Illinois, Ohio, Pittsburgh and California left recorded messages on their answering machines in the middle of the day on Wednesday stating that Eid would be celebrated on Friday. Many Islamic websites also carried the same message. But there was confusion when at night the ISNA announced that the crescent of Shawwal had been sighted and Eid will be celebrated on Thursday.
Explaining the confusion over the moon-sighting, ISNA website pointed out that the Fiqh Council is keenly aware of the difficulties and concerns of the Muslim community in North America resulting from uncertainties about sighting, especially in some marginal situations like this year. “The Council has been recently involved in detailed discussions about the possibility of alternative criteria to determine the timing of Ramadan and Eids, both from the Fiqhi and scientific perspectives. The later perspective has not always been a matter of full agreement among the Muslim astronomical consultants, as is the case this year. Until more consensus is attained, the Fiqh Council feels obligated to consistently follow its current guidelines until any possible change is announced ahead of time with the opportunity for fuller explanation, education and consultation.”
It may be pointed that available Astronomical data indicated that the New Moon was to occur on Wednesday, November 2, but the moon was too low (only about 4 to 5 degrees) above the horizon in North America setting in about 20 minutes after sunset.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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