June 28, 2014
The Muslim Holy month of Ramadan which involves a month of fasting and abstention, started in some countries Saturday amidst growing controversy on the timing of the event.
The Muslim Holy month is determined according to the 30-day Lunar calendar and based according on the sighting of the new moon. However though once a Muslim has claimed to have sighted the moon, and he is trusted, the announcement is made by the town Imam and people follow, traditionally there have been controversies when reports of sightings have been made.
In addition to this slight issue based on sighting that has caused disparity in the global Muslim fasting dates in the past, the introduction of scientific astronomical calculations has furthered the controversy on dates beyond what it used to be.
The United States of America Muslim Fiqh association (Fiqh Council of North America), which now totally relies on these astronomical dates has abandoned the traditional ‘Sunnah’ method of looking for the moon. This 2014, the announcement was made days before that based on calculations, fasting will commence on Saturday. There was no more any plan of following the actual sighting of the moon.
In the Middle East and most of the Arab word, Ramadhan 2014 will be starting on Sunday. The determination in the Arab world is still a combination of sighting and astronomical calculations, however it can be expected that soon the Muslim Arab world will go the way of America and base it solely on the calculation as against the Sunnah sighting method.
In Nigeria, there was an announcement of a sighting Friday on behalf of the Sultan of Sokoto, the Muslim highest leadership which led to the starting of fasting month of Ramadhan in most of the country. In nearby Ghana, there was a similar statement of a sighting of the moon near a border which led to the announcement, though some people did not fast, not relying on this announcement.
A Plot for phone Applications to take over traditional Islamic methods?
An AP in the iPhone, the Siri Application appears to have been set to take over the role of the Mosque and traditional moon sighting in the future. These applications and Google search engine too have been racing to deliver the dates based on calculations, with their predictions made months ahead of the time. It is believed that there is a ploy by enemies of Islam to take over the determination of the Muslim Holy dates with these calculated methods that are not the Sunnah-the Muslim Holy tradition, in addition to the ploy entailing the corruption of the Quran and stealing of the Kaaba/black stone.