Eid Al-Fitr 2014 is here and Muslims in USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia and many other places are going to celebrate this occasion in a big way. But many people will celebrate it on Tuesday if crescent moon is not sighted later today.
But not everyone in United States will be celebrating the occasion as Fiqh Council of North America, an ISNA sub group has decided to celebrate the occasion much in advance based on astronomical location of the moon. The Fiqh Council of North America had announced the date of Eid and Ramadan much in advance.
But this has created fissures among Muslims of the United States many of whom believe that they need to see the new crescent moon by their naked eyes as has been the norm since the days of Prophet Muhammad. But ISNA and many other organizations and groups say that the unwanted confusion caused by the sighting of the moon in traditional ways is avoidable by using the technology that was not available during the time of the Prophet.
Fiqh Council of North America directive on ISNA website says, “The Astronomical New Moon is on July 26, 2014 (Saturday) at 22:41 Universal Time. (1:41 a.m. on July 27, Makkah time). On July 26, Saturday, sunset at Makkah is 7:03 p.m. and moonset is 6:33 p.m. Moon is born after sunset in Makkah and moon sets before sunset. On July 27, Sunday, sunset at Makkah is 7:02 p.m. and moonset is at 7:14 p.m. Moon is born before sunset, while moonset is after sunset. Therefore, first day of Shawwal, i.e., Eid al-Fitr is July 28, Monday, insha’Allah”.
Eid Ul-Fitr is one of the two main festivals celebrated by Muslims across the world. From Mecca to Washington, New Delhi, Jakarta, Istanbul and Tokyo, the festival is celebrated by Muslim communities in a big way. It marks the end of the fasting period of the Islamic month of Ramadan and ushers in the month of Shawwaal. For Muslims, Eid Ul-Fitr not only signals the breaking of the fast, but also signifies the attainment of communication with the divine spirit and religious virtue, characterized by sacrifice, self-discipline and acts of charity. This is marked by high level of charity (sadqah) and prayers by Muslims throughout the month.
Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning‘festivity’,while Fitr means “to break fast”; and the day symbolizes breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal. The believers across the world are commanded by the Qur’an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid. The fasting begins with a special Eid prayers or Salatul Eid that is offered in huge congregations across the world.