The Astronomical Calculations And Ramadan: A Fiqhi Discourse :
This book shatters the myth that naked-eye sighting of the new moon and completing thirty days in the case of weather-related or other obscurities are the only two valid methods of determining the month of Ramadan. The author of Handy orten explains that certainty, not actual sighting, is the real objective of the Shari‘ah and that the Qur’an does not mandate physical sighting. A careful analysis shows that those hadiths that seemingly require sighting actually require certainty. The assertion that Muslim scholars view the use of astronomical calculation to determine the month of Ramadan as unlawful, and hence prohibited, are without foundation. As calculation is now more accurate than naked-eye sighting, due to certain astronomical and scientific advancements, the use of calculation is the closest to the real objective of the Shari‘ah and to the spirit of the hadiths.
Forward by Dr. Abdul Majeed al-Najjar (Arabic)
View the Fiqh Council’s Islamic Calendar :
Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr
First day of Ramadan will be Wednesday, August 11, 2010 and Eid ul-Fitr on Friday, September 10, 2010, insha’Allah.
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint.” Qur’an 2:183
The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) recognize astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’ia method for determining the beginning of lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. The FCNA & ECFR use Makkah al-Mukarramah as a conventional point, and take the position that the conjunction must take place before sunset in Makkah and the moon must set after sunset in Makkah.
On the basis of this method the dates of Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr for the year 1431 AH are established as follows:
The Astronomical New Moon is on August 10, 2010 (Tuesday) at 11:08 am Makkah Time. Sunset in Makkah on August 10 is at 6:55 pm. On that day, the Topocentric Altitude of the moon in Makkah at sunset is 1.6 degrees. Therefore, the first day of Ramadan is on August 11, 2010 (Wednesday), making the first Tarawih prayer to be on the night of Tuesday August 10, 2010.
The Astronomical New Moon is on September 8, 2010 (Wednesday) at 6:30 pm Makkah Time. Sunset in Makkah on September 8 is at 6:31 pm. On that day, the moon in Makkah at sunset is below the horizon. Therefore, the first day of Shawwal, which marks the start of Eid ul-Fitr is on Friday, September 10, 2010, insha’Allah.
May Allah (swt) keep us on the right path, and accept our fasting and prayers. Ameen. For more detailed information, please visit: www.hilal-discourse.net or www.moonsighting.com
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America