Eid Celebrations: Thirteen Muslim Countries Accept Astronomical Calculations
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Los Angeles, CA: Majority of Muslims in North America celebrated the Eidul Fitr on Monday (October 23rd) while some celebrated the festival on Tuesday (Oct 24th) amid traditional controversy over the sighting of the moon of Shawwal.
The issue of moon sighting has been controversial in America. This year the Fiqh Council of North America and ISNA have adopted the method of astronomical calculations. The community is still divided on this subject. While some have wholeheartedly accepted this method, there are others who are strongly opposing it on the basis that any pre-calculated calendar is allegedly against the Sunnah.
A Pakistan Link survey indicated that there were a large number of Islamic centers and mosques which began Ramadan on 23rd September and celebrated Eid on Monday, 23rd October. These centers include about 50 mosques that are affiliated with the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California including the Islamic Center of Irvine, CA; Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles; Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center, Urbana; Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, West Chester, Ohio; Islamic Center of Cleveland Parma, Ohio; Islamic Society of Greater Toronto; the Islamic Center of Tucson, Arizona; Huntsville Islamic Center, Huntsville, Alabama and the Islamic Society of Boston and almost all Islamic centers and mosques in DC, Virginia and Baltimore area.
In Virginia the following Mosques celebrated Eid on 23rd Oct: Islamic Center of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia; Islamic Association of West Virginia; Islamic Society of Central Virginia; The Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center - Falls Church, VA; Islamic Association of West Virginia, South Charleston, VA and Islamic Association of Shenandoah Valley (IASV) and Islamic Center of Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg, VA.
Other Islamic centers and groups endorsing ISNA calendar include: Bangladesh Association of America; Islamic Association of Carrollton, Texas; Islamic Association of North Texas, Dallas Central Mosque; Islamic Center Of New London, CT; Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, Jacksonville; Islamic Center of Long Island, Westbury, New York; Islamic society of Central Jersey, NJ; The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, Ohio and the Islamic Center of Bloomington, Indiana.
Many Islamic centers and mosques in North America began Ramadan on 24th September according to their moon sighting-committees decision. However, they celebrated Eid on Oct. 23 after the claimed sighting of the crescent. The Islamic centers which did not endorse the ISNA calendar include: The New Brunswick Islamic Community, New Brunswick, New Jersey; and The Islamic Society of Central New York, Syracuse, NY; The Islamic Society of Greater Lansing, Michigan; The Birmingham Islamic Society, Alabama and Islamic Center of America, Dearborn, MI.
The Houston Moon Sighting Committee held a teleconference meeting on Saturday, October 21, 2006, and in the absence of a moon-sighting report from any part of the United Sates, unanimously declared that first of Shawwal will be on Monday, October 23, 2006. In New York, Imam Waris Deen Mohammad, leader of the African-American Muslims, announced that the crescent of Shawwal has been sighted on Oct. 22 eve, and the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr will be October 23.
In California, which has the largest Muslim population, the following mosques and Islamic centers rejected the ISNA calendar though many celebrated Eid on Oct 23. Masjid Umar Farooq, Stockton; Masjid Darussalaam, Milipitas; Islamic Center of Fremont; Islamic Center of Stockton; Islamic Society of East Bay (ISEB), Fremont; South Bay Islamic Association (SBIA) San Jose; South Valley Islamic Center (SVIC) Morgan Hill; Islamic Center of Fairfield; Islamic Center of San Mateo; Islamic Center of Mill Valley, Mill Valley; Islamic Center of Pleasanton-Dublin (ICPD), Pleasanton; Islamic Center of Folsom, Folsom; South Sacramento Islamic Center, Sacramento; Masjid Umar Faruq, Stockton; Islamic Center of Tracy and Masjid Annur, Sacramento.
In Greater Chicago, only three members of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) adhered to the ISNA calendar and announced Eidul Fitr for 23rd October. The 34-member CIOGC claims to represent 400,000 Muslims in Chicago. The rest other members followed the traditional moon sighting method and celebrated Eid on Oct. 23. Islamic Foundation and Mosque Foundation announced in advance that Eid will be celebrated on Oct. 24th.
The ISNA calendar was rejected by a number of North American Muslim groups including: The Hilal Sighting Committee of North America, the Islamic Shariah Council, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a member of the Islamic Shura Council of North America and Imam Waris Deen Mohammad, leader of the African American Muslims.
In Canada, Islamic Society of Greater Toronto followed the ISNA calendar but the Hilal Committee of Metropolitan Toronto and Vicinity, which represents 75 Masjids and Islamic organizations, announced the sighting of new moon after receiving witnesses. ISNA Mosque, Madina Mosque, Masjid Noorul Haram and Nugget Mosque and other mosques of Greater Toronto celebrated Eid on Oct. 23rd.
Many who celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr on Oct. 23 had a 29-day fasting because they began fasting on 24 September while the ISNA calendar had projected a 30-day Ramadan beginning on Sept. 23. As usual the sighting of the moon of Shawwal was announced late at night.
It is interesting to note that there are now more than 13 Muslim and Western countries that are accepting astronomical calculation as a method for determining Islamic lunar dates. These countries include Turkey, Sweden, Austria, Ukrania, Denmark, Norway, Czech, Holland, Italy, France, Belgium, some in UK and some in US. (Source ICOP Website)


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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