Has anyone seen the moon?

The Holy Kaaba in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
Image via Wikipedia

Well, it seems it doesn’t matter which country you’re in, there is the same confusion over when the muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr falls. Eid celebrates the end of the month of Ramadan, when muslims everywhere eat and drink only between sunset and sunrise. During daylight hours nothing passes the lips, not chewing gum, nor cigarettes, nor water.

Because the muslim calendar is a lunar calendar, it shifts forward about eleven days each year. So Eid is never on the same Gregorian calendar day, like Christmas, for example. There is always controversy over the sighting of the crescent moon that marks the transition from the month of Ramadan to the month of Shawwal. You would think it would be pretty straightforward, even diaries print the moon cycles a year in advance. However, there are those who eschew astronomical calculations, use of telescopes, etc. in favor of a sighting of the moon with the naked eye. This is frustrating for muslims if it happens to be cloudy and your diary is telling you tonight’s the night! I have to say though, the suspense is kind of fun, up to a point.

Yesterday, Eid was declared by various muslim bodies in Canada, the Fiqh Council of North America, the Muslim Association of Canada, the Islamic Institute of Toronto, to name but a few. It was even declared by the self-appointed “Guardians” of the Islamic faith, Saudi Arabia. (For most muslims, if it’s been okayed by Saudi, it MUST be alright as they have a very strict (Whahhabi) interpretation that covers EVERYTHING, and I mean everything – even women driving, which everyone knows can only lead to evil and iniquity. 😉

Despite this there are still some diehards who have held out til today. Eid mubarak everyone, enjoy your day, whenever it falls…

When did Eid fall where you are? Was there any confusion? How did you celebrate?

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.

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