City of Brass by Aziz Poonawalla

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Ramadan to all

posted by Aziz P. at 9/13/2007 01:48:00 PM permalink View blog reactions
Today is generally considered the first of Ramadan by most muslims, based on either moonsighting from the Middle East. I've been fasting since yesterday, however, because my community adheres to the Fatimid lunar calendar. There are actually ten different methods that muslims use to calculate the start of Ramadan - via, they are:

  1. Actual Sighting judged by Qadi, or Review Panel. (e.g., Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Oman, Morocco, Trinidad)

  2. Moon born & moonset after sunset in Makkah. (e.g., S. Arabia, sometimes deviates for Ramadan, Shawwal, and Dhul-Hijjah)

  3. Follow Saudi Arabia. (e.g., Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Turkey)

  4. Moon Born & moon sets at least 5 minutes after sunset. (e.g., Egypt)

  5. News from neighbor countries. (e.g., New Zealand gets from Australia, and Suriname gets from Guyana)

  6. Follow first Muslim country that announces it. (e.g., Some Caribbean Islands)

  7. Criteria of age, or altitude, or sunset-moonset lag. (e.g., Algeria, and Tunisia)

  8. Age > 8 hours, altitude > 2°, elongation > 3°. (e.g., Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia)

  9. Pre-calculated calendar. (Bohra, Ismaiili, and Ahmadiyyah [Qadiani] community in the world)

  10. No specific criterion! Decision varies year by year. (e.g., Nigeria)

This complexity in method worldwide carries over to the Western muslim community, of course, as muslim immigrants initially tend to adheres to the tradition of their homelands. But there is intense cross-fertilization between muslims in the West - something that occurs nowhere else. Ultimately it boils down to a personal judgement as to which method to use - who said the gates of ijtihad were closed?

Incidentally, it is also Rosh Hashana, so L'Shana Tovah! Another example of an Abrahamic convergence.



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About City of Brass

City of Brass was originally launched in March 2002 under the name UNMEDIA. The blog focuses on issues related to muslims in the West. The primary author is Aziz Poonawalla, a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Bohras adhere to the Shi'a Fatimi tradition of Islam, headed by the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS). Also see the technical blog, entitled Khidmat is not a zero-sum game, detailing the open-source infrastructure behind our community web portal,