CAIRO — `Eid Al-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, will fall on Sunday, September 20, the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) announced citing astronomical calculations.
“According to astronomical calculations, there is hardly any chance of sighting the new moon of Shawwal in the evening of Friday, September 18, in any place in the world,” the ECFR said in a statement mailed to IslamOnline.net.
“Therefore, Saturday, September 19, will be the last day of Ramadan and Sunday, September 20, will be the first day of `Eid."
The holy fasting month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, began in most countries on Saturday, August 22.
`Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting, is one of the two main Islamic religious festivals, together with `Eid Al-Adha.
After special prayers to mark the day, festivities and merriment start.
During `Eid days, families and friends exchange visits to express well wishes and children, wearing new clothes bought especially for `Eid, enjoy going out in parks and open fields.
The ECFR insisted that astronomical calculations have become very accurate in determining the start and end of lunar months.
“The science of astronomy has achieved a high degree of accuracy.
"We call upon mosque imams and scholars in all Muslim countries to help establish respect for the results of astronomical calculations.”
The Islamic Crescents' Observation Project (ICOP) has earlier announced that the three-day `Eid Al-Fitr will commence on September 20 throughout the world according to astronomical calculations.
The ECFR urged Muslims worldwide to adopt astronomical calculations in defining the start of `Eid.
“The advent of `Eid Al-Fitr is a chance for Muslims…to unite and overcome differences.”
The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) has already announced Sunday, September 20, as the first day of `Eid.
FCNA and the umbrella Islamic Society of North America recognize astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’ia method for determining the beginning of lunar months, including Ramadan and Shawwal.
Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.
While one group of scholars sees that Muslims in other regions and countries are to follow the same moon sighting as long as these countries share one part of the night, another states that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.
A third, however, disputes both views, arguing that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.
This usually causes confusion among Muslims, particularly in the West, on observing Ramadan and celebrating `Eid Al-Fitr.
The ECFR urged European Muslims to adopt calculations in determining the start of lunar months, especially Ramadan and Shawwal.
“This would help people fulfill their religious duties and observe religious celebrations while organizing their activities in society.”
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