Fiqh 2009

Special Announcement Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr Fiqh Council of North AmericaFirst day of Ramadan will be Saturday, 22 August, 2009 - and Eid ul-Fitr on Sunday, 20 September, 2009, inshaAllah."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: 183The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) recognizes astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’ia method for determining the beginning of lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. FCNA uses Makkah al-Mukarram as a conventional point and takes 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 1430 AH are established as follows: 1st of Ramadan will be on Saturday, 22 August, 2009 and 1st of Shawwal will be on Sunday, 20 September, 2009

Ramadan 1430 AH:
The astronomical New Moon is on Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 10:01 Universal Time (1:01 pm Makkah time). Sunset at Makkah on August 20 is at 6:47 pm local time, while moonset at Makkah is at 6:46 pm local time (1 minute before sunset). Therefore the following day Friday, August 21, 2009 is not the 1st day of Ramadan. First day of Ramadan is Saturday, August 22, insha'Allah. First Tarawih prayer will be on Friday night.

Eid ul-Fitr 1430 AH:
The astronomical New Moon is on Friday, September 18, 2009, at 18:44 Universal Time (9:44 pm Makkah time). On Saturday, September 19, 2009, sunset at Makkah is 6:20 pm local time, while moonset is at 6:36 pm local time. Therefore, first day of Shawwal, i.e., Eid ul-Fitr is Sunday, September 20, 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.fiqhcouncil.org or www.moonsighting.com
Sincerely, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi Chairman, Fiqh Council of North America

Are you Ready for Ramadan?

"The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) calculated" (Al-Qur'an 55:5)
Due to adverse weather conditions in UK, it is not always possible to sight the New Moon (Hilal) from any one location within UK in each month. Therefore, past Ulamah (Muslim Scholars) have preferred to follow the nearby Muslim countries to UK for Moon Sighting news (e.g. Morocco). However, recent advancements in telecommunications technology has lead to the Moon Sighting news being received from many parts of the world, specially the Middle East, and since this news comes as much as two days before any possible sighting in UK (or nearby countries), Muslims in UK have been greatly confused as to which country to follow. This confusion is repeated almost every year - leading to Ramadhan and Eids being celebrated over two or three days (instead of one day!) in UK.

Penumbral Eclipse on August 6, 2009 - A penumbral lunar eclipse set to occur on August 6, 2009, will be the third of four lunar eclipses during the year. The eclipse is predicted to last for about three hours.

Will the Eclipse be Visible? - The August 6 eclipse will not be visible to the naked eye as its magnitude is only 0.402, according to NASA. This lunar eclipse will bring the moon’s northern limb into earth’s penumbra.
When Will the Eclipse Occur? - The first penumbral contact occurs at 23:04:21 Universal Time (UT). The ecliptic conjunction occurs at about 00:54:52 UT and the point of greatest eclipse occurs at about 00:39:11 UT.  The eclipse ends at about 02:14:08 UT. Where Will the Eclipse Be? - The moon will be in the constellation Capricornus during the eclipse, which will be near the meridian at maximum for them.


Fiqh of Moonsighting 1 of 7, by Shakiel Humayun Taken from From The Moon to The Spoon seminar. August 2008. Foundation for Knowledge and Development, Astoria-NY. www.knowledgeofislam.com

Data 2009

Notes Below are from Multifaiths.com - Astronomical Data for Mecca 2009

Location Mecca, Saudi Arabia (GMT + 2.40 hours)Latitude  = 21.43º N (21º25'48" N)- Longitude = 39.79º E (39º47'24" E)

moonphaseOur Observation and contribution for the correct dates will be for Meeca as follows:- Ramadan 1430 AH: August 2009
The astronomical New Moon phase starts on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm Makkah time. The New Moon Phase Ends on 20 August 2009 at 10:00 am Makkah time.

The First Phase of the Moon Starts - Thursday, 20 August, 2009 at 10:00 am Makkah time.

Sunset at Makkah on Thursday 20 August is at 6:47 pm local time, While Moonset at Makkah is at 6:45 pm local time

Therefore first phase of the Moon will be not visible on this evening, the crescent is too thin to be visible to the naked eye. (But the first phase of the moon has started today Thursday, 20 August, 2009 at 10:00 am Makkah time) It is quite possible to sight the moon in some parts of the world today.

Therefore the following day Friday, 21 August, 2009 is the 2nd Phase of the Moon which will be visible (Hilal). The second phase starts at 6:45 am and ends on 22 August, 2009 at 3:50 am. First day of Ramadan will be 20th Thursday and 21st Friday  August 2009.

The Moon Phase will be half on 26 August 2009 starts 11:05 pm and ends on 28 August 12:27:23 AM

The beginning point is the birth point and is the most certain point which can be forecast months and years ahead of time with the help of accurate astronomical calculations. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in accepting the 1st phase of the New Waxing Moon as the starting of the new months.

Sept 2009

The full moon phases correspond to 13th, 14th and 15th month, which are reported in the Hadith as “Siyam Abyad” or “White Fasts”. As the moon moves further, the shape changes, until we see the “reverse crescent” at Fajr. Then it disappears completely, typically for one or two days until it reappears as the Hilaal and the cycle repeats.

The 13th, 14th and 15th of the bright half of the Full Moon will as follows:- From 1st September 2009

The 13th Phase starts on 1st Sept 10:00:28 AM

The 14th Phase starts on  2nd Sept 12:22:46 PM

The Full Moon Phase starts on 3rd Sept  2:24:50 PM

Full Moon Phase Ends on 4 Sept  4:01:49 PM - (Full Moon Completes and the dark half of the moon phase starts)

The Arabs went a step further and divided the 30-day month into 10 portions of three days each and assigned names to them. Thus, for example, the middle portion (13th to 15th) is described as ayyam al bid (days of light) while the last one (27th to 30th ) is ayyam al mihaq (days of darkness), al-istitar (concealment) or as-sua'l (enquiry).

The moment of the Full Moon (al badr in Arabic), on the other hand, is midway between two successive conjugations when the three bodies again lie in a plane, but with the earth in the middle (a lunar eclipse can only occur at this moment). Practically this moment (when the moon appears as a perfect luminous disc) occurs between the 13th and 15th of the lunar month that started with the correct sighting of the moon.

The Arabic name for this period (ayyam al bid) is as a result of two phenomena unique to this period, that is, the moon is brightest and there is no total darkness during this period since there is an overlap between daylight and moonlight at dusk and dawn.

Caldwell and Laney of the South African Astronomical Observatory explain: "Each new astronomical lunar month (lunation) begins at the moment when the center of the moon has the same celestial longitude as the center of the sun, from the perspective of the center of the earth, i.e. the moment when the moon "passes" the sun.

This is the moment of astronomical new moon, and it occurs at the same instant everywhere since it does not depend in any way on the viewer's perspective. At this time the moon is always invisible from the earth. When the moon first becomes visible again, observers see a young crescent moon" in some part of the world.

Dr Abdurazak Ebrahim Snr explains the same event, albeit in different words: For approximately fifteen hours on either side of the instant of conjugation, the moon is completely hidden from view.Full moon on the fourteenth day: First we need to explain what Full Moon is. Remember that as the moon revolves around the earth the latter revolves around the sun and, at a certain time, the three objects align, with the moon in the middle. This moment, termed conjugation or the birth of the New Moon (a solar eclipse can only occur at this moment), marks the astronomical end of a lunar month and the beginning of another. The length of a lunar month, also called synodic period, is the period between two successive conjugations and is twenty-nine days, twelve hours and forty-four minutes (i.e., 29.53 days).

The major events in the lunar circle are summarized by Dr Ebrahim Snr: "Consequent to the first appearance of the lunar crescent on the western horizon after sunset the moon waxes (due to increased illumination) until (about) the fourteenth night when it appears as the Full Moon. After this the moon wanes (due to diminishing illumination) until it disappears over the eastern horizon before sunrise on the twenty-eighth day of the month."

The Shia community fasts are slightly longer than the Sunni fasts, Shia wait for the sundown before opening fast. Also Shia will mourn for 3 days during 8th September 2009 (20th Ramadan) as Ali was martyred in this month.

Lailat al Qadr 15 September 2009 (27 Ramadan). Laylat al-Qadr is the Night of Power when the first revelation had been given to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the Angel Jibril. The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Al-Qadr (Night of Power) - Surah 97: Verse 3

Any action done on this night such as reciting the Qur’an, remembering Allah, etc. is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the Night of Power. It has been recommended that, one of the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan, i.e. from 9th September 2009 (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th of the lunar phase) On these night Muslims can ask for forgiveness, reading Nawfaal, extra praying, etc.  Muslims will go into isolation and perform prayers. They will also remember the Itikaf that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) performed when he received the first revelation, in cave Hira, 610CE.

Moon Phase will be half on 11 September 2009 starts at 3:04:32 PM and ends at 12 September 1:20:16 PM

The 1st lunar day or ends at around 12° of solar separation, and the 2nd lunar day begins.

The only part of this, that might be confusing is that the 30th lunar day (348 to 360°) is considered the Birth of New Moon day and the 15th lunar day (168 to 180°) is considered the Birth of Full Moon day.
Moon Rise Times - New Moon Always Rises at Sunrise.
First Quarter of Moon Rises at Noon. The Full Moon Rises at Sunset.
The Last Quarter Moon Rises at Midnight.
Moon Rise Takes Place about 48 Minutes Later Each day.

Eid ul-Fitr 1430 AH: The astronomical New Moon starts on Thursday, 17th September, 2009, at 9:26 pm

The astronomical New Moon ends on Friday, 18th September, 2009, at 6:43 pm Makkah time

The first phase, the first of Shawwal month starts on Friday, 18th September, 2009, at 6:43 pm Makkah time

The first phase, of Shawwal month ends on Saturday, 19th September, 2009, at 4:20 pm Makkah time. The moon is visible today. The Moon will be 24 Hours 20 mins old by sunset time 6:20pm, while moonset is at 6:36 pm local time.

Therefore, first day of Shawwal, i.e., Eid ul-Fitr is 19th Saturday / 20th Sunday, September 2009.


MCB Annual Convention Saturday 6th June 2009 Crystal Plaza, Armoury Road, Small Heath B11 2RQ Birmingham. The MCB is a "national representative Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools."
1. Hilal? Common Standards for the Community - Chair: Sir Iqbal Sacranie
Shaykh Sulayman Gani, Wifaq and Batley Ulama
Maulana Bostan Qadri, Confederation of Sunni Mosques
Mohamed Ali, Islam Channel
Dr. Majid Katme, Islamic Medical Association
Mufti Muhammad Aslam, Jamiat Ulema Britain
Maulan Yusuf Patel, Lancashire Council of Mosuqes
Nadim Adam, Halal Monitoring Committee
Qamar Uddin, Islamic Crescents’ Observation Project
Themes: - Recent developments towards reaching consensus on Hilal sightings and start/end of Ramadan.

Hilal: The delegates were praised for the progress at grassroots level for local moon sightings. They were also prompted to offer feedback supporting a unified approach of resolving the challenges of multiple days of Ramadan and Eid to follow a single and unified calendar of events. Some of the delegates raised concerns about various Muslim groups or communities following different interpretations and methods to follow Eid and Ramadan causing confusion not only among Muslims, but also various local authorities, schools etc. about dealing with Muslim festivals.

The comments/suggestions by the delegates can be summarised into three main categories:
1. Use local sightings by the naked eye (with observatory data as a guide) and then consider sighting news from other countries in the East.
2. Use observatory (predicted crescent visibility) data to determine when the moon is visible on UK horizon.
3. Only use declaration of sightings from Makkah (without any need for local sightings or observatory data).
A. The first proposal (to follow local sightings) was mainly from Shaykh Sulayman Gani, which has been adopted by Wifaq and Batley Ulama.

B. The second proposal (to follow observatory data) was mainly from Maulana Bostan Qadri (Confederation of Sunni Mosques).

C. The third proposal (to follow Makkah only) was from Mohamed Ali (Islam Channel), although Mufti Muhammad Aslam (Jamiat Ulema Britain) is also known to be of the same opinion. However, Mufti Muhammad Aslam said it was not the right venue to discuss the Fiqh (Jurisprudence) details but he was willing to co-operate with others to resolve the problem.

It is important to point out that there are two Fiqh principles of Hilal sighting, which are Ittihad-e-Matale (unity of horizons) and Ikhtilaf-e-Matale (difference of horizons). The second category above may conform to at least one of the above Fiqh principles in vast majority of the months.

To follow the Hilal sighting news from a fixed foreign country for all lunar months (as suggested in the third category) does not comply with either of above Fiqh principles.

The meeting ended with a suggestion for the MCB to facilitate a future meeting of the UK Ulama from different viewpoints to debate/discuss the issues and reach a unified criterion.

Full Details of the multifaith calendar is available from our Saudi 2010 Calendar - http://www.multifaiths.com

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