Eid al-Fitr (1426/2005) in the US: a Cause for Division

or “Why Can’t We all Just Get Along?”

The last two posts (1, 2) have focused upon the difference of opinion with regards to the moon sighting (or as some say, moon fighting). ISNA had earlier maintained that it would be impossible to sight the moon by the naked eye. Their earlier statement can be found in full here. This statement, however, directly contradicts ISNA’s final position in which they, via the Islamic Fiqh Council, declared Eid al-Fitr to be Thursday, November 3, 2005. The only dissenter to this opinion, thus far, appears to be the Zaytuna Institute and their response can be read here.

Given these two documents it appears that ISNA altered its earlier position, but for whatever reason has kept their earlier statement on thier website an oddity since it contradicts thier ultimate ruling, the question remains as to why ISNA did so. Giving room for greater pause is ISNA’s own moon sighting consultant Khalid Shaukat who maintains MoonSighting.com who concluded, “On November 2, the moon would be about 24 hours old on West Coast of USA and still not visible even by telescopes, because the moon will be in Southern Hemisphere.”

Was this simply an alteration in ISNA’s position for unity for the sake of unity? Was thier something greater behind the works? Thus far, it appears that ISNA declared Eid al-Fitr on the basis of dubious sightings, which they earlier acknowledged would not have been possible to sight with the eye, but the question remains as to why they did so.

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