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Eid-ul-Adha 2018 : A post-mortem

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 28th August 2018 00:20

Here we are again. Another disunited Eid for the U.K. Muslims shrouded in uncertainty and dismay for many. The recent Eid-ul-Adha caused more debate than other such occasions in the past.
In any other field of life, most authorities (the decision makers) would hold an enquiry in what caused the disunity, the confusion to try to prevent it from ever happening again. So that their community would not have to suffer the same fate again. But, unfortunately, nothing is likely to happen to resolve this problem.
The opposing sides have taken up such polarised position that neither side is willing to compromise. Although, having said that, this year some masājid in the U.K. did change their date of Eid-ul-Adha for the sake of unity with local masājid in their own locality. A sacrifice indeed.
Such sacrifices for the sake of unity have to be lauded, but such decisions will only withstand the test of time if the decisions are based on the truth, i.e. the facts.
This year the declaration of the sighting of the hilāl (new moon crescent) by the Saudi authorities was beset with problems. Some people near Riyadh declared that they had seen the hilāl on Saturday, 11th August. The problem was that it was scientifically impossible to see the new moon crescent on that day. Firstly, if indeed these people did sight the new moon crescent which was about 5.5 hours old then they would have broken the world record. Secondly, there was a partial eclipse on the Saturday, 11th August (bit.ly/2PvL2R8) so it would have been impossible to sight the hilāl. Thirdly, none of the official hilāl sighting committees of Saudi Arabia, armoured with high tech equipment, managed to sight the hilāl. So whatever those people in Riyadh who claimed to have seen the hilāl on Saturday, 11th August, saw, it definitely was not the hilāl. What they saw was something which looked like the hilāl to them.
Over the years each group in the U.K. has put forward various fiqhi principles, various ahadith etc. to try to justify whether to follow Saudi moonsighting or not.
The debate can simply be put as, “What value do we place on the word of a Muslim.” When we are absolutely certain that it is impossible to see the hilāl, as was the case on Saturday, 11th August 2018, should we accept the testimony of a Muslim who testifies that he has seen the hilāl. The Saudi authorities stand appears to be that we should accept such a testimony. But should U.K. Muslims follow such a ruling? The vast majority would say, “No,” because we all know that the human eye can be deceived and other pieces of evidence must be considered.
My personal view is that the original decision taken to follow Saudi moonsighting announcements should have involved appropriate specialists in this field of knowledge who would have highlighted the limitations of the Saudi system. The problem that we have now which has fractured the U.K. Muslim community as a whole, as well as individual families, can only be resolved if the decision makers are prepared to sit together with the objective of trying to sort out this disarray. The burden lies with them but it is our responsibility to encourage them to do so.
A similar scenario of events is expected to occur for Eid-ul-Fitr 1440 AH as have just occurred for Eid-ul-Adha 1439 AH. Is there anything we can do?

A. Hussain
23rd August 2018
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 28th August 2018 08:34
One would say, "Education, Education, Education"

But the fact is that even a Mufti of a Mosque is ignored. The Imam of a Masjid who leads the prayers 5 times a day, who is a leading scholar of the city/country has to shamelessly remain silent and offer Eid Salah elsewhere!

When we see situations like this and people still point fingers against the Imam and make comments such as, "How ridiculous! The imam should teach his community about unity"

Even "Education" will not suffice.

In my opinion, unfortunately, we will just have to wait for the next generation to take lead after the demise of the old! I say demise, because even after retirement or old age, nothing can happen.

Some mosques have many members who are committee members yet they are forced to travel somewhere for Eid Salah and sometimes, so do the Ulama. It's just a handful of "We've always done it this way" or "Saudi is the centre" and is their word against the rest.

Khair, we hope education will show it's results eventually!
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 28th August 2018 09:11
It's not the first time and won't be the last time. It has been happening for 3 decades.
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