The month of fasting is upon us, but can we all agree when Eid ul Fitr is, at the end of the month of Ramadan?
Now, l hope this is not too much to ask, but I’ve always been very confused about the end of the month of fasting. If nothing else, it would certainly help many of us book leave from work and plan for our family time and celebration commitments. It seems to me, that various groups and mosques insist on taking a different view on which day it should fall, resulting in a difference of up to 48 hours; so, as often is the case, you have one half of London celebrating on one day, and another part on the following day! Given the Muslim calendar is a straight lunar one, you’d have thought, it would, and should be a straight forward process to agree a unified “end” date. But alas, this is not the case.
In the UK we have the ICOUK ( Islamic Crescent Moon Observation for the UK ) dealing with this very issue. They suggest the crux of the problem is that we can only sight the crescent moon (hilal) from the UK for only a few months of the year. For the remaining months, we are dependent on sightings from other parts of the world. That’s precisely what happened this year for the start of Ramadan. The hilal of Ramadan could not be sighted in the UK or East of our shores, so, not surprisingly, some started on the 10th and others on the 11th of August (depending from which part of the world the sighting is chosen). This is getting more complicated then l first thought! The only consolation is that it’s a lot less confusing then the reasoning behind why Easter always appears to move around in the calendar, and this is neither solar nor lunar!
In this respect, l like the way in which the Turkish community agree when Eid should fall, before the month of fasting begins. This then avoids the reliance on various sightings of the hilal crescent in different parts of the world and the consequent confusion and debate. This year, (I’m led to believe from reliable sources), for some reason, it’s been more straightforward then in past years, as it’s certain that we’ll be united in having Eid ul Fitr on the 10th of Sept. I say, unity is always a good thing, so more consensus please in the coming years!