The month of Ramadan is almost over. As in the previous months of Ramadan, the division of the Muslim Ummah, its weakness, and the ill types of Fatwa and Islamic positions have become more evident than ever.

Just before the beginning of this honorable month, a message from Zaytuna was sent out indicating it “decided to change its position on moon-sighting from the minority opinion of a regional sighting to the majority opinion of a global sighting.” There is never a problem for anyone changing their position when new or stronger Daleel is found, but it is a problem when the original position was reached on the wrong basis and changed for the wrong reasons. The original position was reached to create an American-Muslim identity, and the new one has been endorsed because the regional sighting “has contributed to a lot of heartache and pain at a time when Muslims should be joyful. It has also led to an abandonment of the Sunnah of moon-sighting by growing numbers of Muslims and Islamic organizations.” With this type of approach to reaching rules, the doors are opened to make, change, remove whatever rules there are as there are no texts involved and no method of understanding is used.

On another related note to Ramadan, some Muslims have been arguing to use astronomical calculations to determine the beginning and end of the months, especially the month of Ramadan. They stretched the meaning of “Ru’ya” and ignored the texts of the honorable Hadiths. They have consistently stated that calculations are certain whilst visual moon-sighting is not and therefore to unite the Muslim Ummah, we should all follow calculations. What they fail to understand is that ‘Ibaadaat are Tawqeefeyyah, meaning acts of worship are taken as they are. Thus, they are not rationalized nor can they be changed. And if Islam put sighting the moon as the “sabab” or trigger to start and end the fast, then we should follow that regardless of the advancement of science. The point is not to be certain but to follow the Islamic text to perform the act of worship properly.

Moreover, and yet again, reality this year shows that astronomical calculations in fact do not yield certainty. Today, 09/08/10, AlJazeera.net published that Egypt declared few days ago that Eid, based on calculations, is to be Friday 09/10/10. On the other hand, Libya as well as the Shi’a of Lebanon, joined by the European Council for Fatwa And Research,are following scientific calculations and announced that Thursday 09/09/10 is the first day of Eid al-Fitr. So this poses the question… which scientific opinion is correct? And how will such a method unify the Muslim Ummah?

The unity of the Muslim Ummah is political, not Fiqhi. When the Muslim Ummah follows the opinion of one man, the Khaleefah, then it is unified, even if his adopted opinion is regional-sighting, not global. Muslims would be following an illusion thinking that they can achieve unity without such leadership. Our problem is not scientific or Fiqhi based, but rather a political one. And until this leadership is present, misery and confusion will continue to reign.

May Allah accept our Siyaam and Salah and May Allah spare us the foolishness of shallow opinions, and may He (subhanahu wa Ta’ala ) make our next Eid take place under the shade of the righteous khilafah . Ameen!

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