So, tell me again exactly when Ramadan begins?cathnewsasia.com: 10:03 20-07-2012
So, tell me again exactly when Ramadan begins?
Across the globe, Muslims prepare for battle — an annual melee that shows little mercy, pitting brother against brother, child against parent, wife against husband. Forget teams Edward and Jacob. The teams here are deeper entrenched than the most enamored teenage heart.
Thursday night, July 19, 2012, according to scientific calculations, the new moon breaks. No, not a new installation of Twilight, but the actual moon.
Ordinarily, no one would care. But at this time of year, every year, the calculated birth of the new moon creates divisions both frustrating and highly entertaining. You see, the birth of the crescent in the next day or so will signal the start of the sacred month of Ramadan.
A time of joy and celebration? Read on.
Welcome to the world of post-modern Muslim angst, where following a lunar calendar has turned us all into a hot, confused mess. The controversy is simple: Islamic tradition requires the actual sighting of the new moon, referred to as the “Hilal,” by reliable sources to announce the advent of Ramadan. In this day and age though, we can also calculate when the new moon will be born, regardless of whether it’s sighted.
So when do Muslims start Ramadan fasting?
Thus we have Team Moonsighters vs. Team Calculators. The orthodox, or Moonsighters, strictly abide by the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), ordering Muslims to begin fasting when the Hilal is actually seen. The Calculators reason that the end game is to make sure the month has actually begun, and 1,400 years ago it took a sighting to determine it. Not true today.
Neither side will give in or give up. So how does this play out? Let me just illustrate, using my own family.