Eid Al-Adha Celebrated throughout North America on the Same Day
By AbdusSattarGhazali

Sacramento, CA: Muslims in North America celebrated Eid Al-Adha on Monday, September 12. It was a rare concurrence that Eid Al-Adha was celebrated throughout North America on the same day.

All mosques in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara, San Jose, Hayward, Modesto, Sacramento and other cities and towns of California celebrated Eid Al-Adha on September 12. A Google search about mosques in US and Canada indicated that Muslims in other states and Canada also celebrated Eid on Monday.

The seven-million strong American Muslim community was delighted to see the Eid Al-Adha celebration on the same day but how was this marvel achieved?

Many mosques in the United States follow Saudi Arabia, being the center of the Islamic world, for the beginning of the Hijra calendar months, particularly, the beginning of the month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Others follow local moon sighting for the beginning of the Islamic months. Many follow the Islamic calendar announced in 2006 by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and endorsed by the Islamic Society of North America.

There were few mosques which explicitly said they were following the FCNA calendar. For example, West End Islamic Center Glen Allen, Virginia announcement about Eid Al-Adha read: As announced by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) the 1st of DhulHijjah will be Saturday, September 3, 2016 and Eid-ul-Adha will be on Monday, September 12, 2016.

The Islamic Society of Western Connecticut announced on September 2 the Hilal for the month of Dhul al-Hijjah had been sighted on Friday evening, September 2nd, at numerous locations around the globe including Australia, South Africa, and throughout USA (Virginia, Florida, and more). Therefore, 1st of DhulHijjah 1437 will be on Saturday, September 3, 2016. The Eid-ul-Adha will be celebrated on Monday, September 12, 2016.

Dar-ul-Islah of Teaneck, New Jersey announced: Eid committee of New Jersey in consultation with DarulIslah, Nida ul Islam, Minhajul Qur’an and other Islamic organizations in USA has confirmed moon sighting for the month of DhulHijjah on September 2, 2016. Therefore, the blessed month of DhulHijjah 1437h will start from Saturday September 3, 2016. Eid-ul-Adha will be on Monday September 12, 2016.

Most of the US mosques which follow the FCNA calendar simply announced that EidulAdha will be celebrated on Monday, September 12th, 2016.

A major factor for celebrating Eid Al-Adha in Northern America on the same day was that the Hajj pilgrimage on Sunday, September 11, coincided with the FCNA calendar that was followed by many US mosques. At the same time, like Saudi Arabia, local moon sighting committees also announced the beginning of the month of DhulHijjah on September 2, 2016 and Eid Al-Adha on September 12.

Interestingly, the relationship between Eid al-Adha and Hajj has been hotly debated in recent years by Muslims in North America. Majority of Muslims believe that Eid al-Adha should be celebrated a day after the Hajj in an attempt to achieve unity in the Islamic world and calculate the Islamic calendar from Mecca. A minority argues that Eid al-Adha is not linked to the Day of Arafah or rituals of Hajj but is a separate Islamic celebration.

They argue that the Prophet (PBUH) celebrated Eid Al-Adha according to moon sighting in Madina.

During the time of the Prophet (PBUH) it was possible to travel between Mecca and Madina with ease within ten days. The Prophet (PBUH) never dispatched anybody to find out exactly when was the day of Arafah so as to link the Eid celebration with Arafah. It was quite possible for him to find out when the moon of Dhul-Hijjah was sighted in Mecca as the Hajj was performed on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah. Ten days were sufficient to establish the exact sighting date in Mecca.

However, the Fiqh Council of North America has reached the conclusion that Eid al-Adha will be following the Day of Hajj as announced in Mecca. This is also the conclusion of the European Council of Fatwa and Research.

The two Eids were not prescribed by the Prophet (PBUH) out of the blue, they were intertwined with completion of the month of Ramadan and Hajj, argues Dr Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the Executive Director of the Fiqh Council of North America. “ It is pertinent to note here that though there is no clear cut Qur’anic or Hadith text which requires all Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Adha after the day of Hajj, there are plenty of indirect references in the Qur’an and the Sunnah that connect this day of festivity with the acts of Hajj and Wuquf of Arafah.”

Muslim communities in Europe joined North America in celebrating Eid al-Adha on September 12 as announced by the European Council of Fatwa and Research and the London Central Mosque.

Eid al-Adha was celebrated on Monday in almost all the Islamic World with the exception of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan where it was celebrated on Tuesday. According to Al Jazeera following countries celebrated Eid al-Adha on Monday: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, Brunei, Canada (ISNA), Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Uganda, United Kingdom, and United States.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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