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No Fear No Favour

Eid is today, Eid is tomorrow! A never ending issue!

Eid-ul-Fitar marks the end of Ramzan month, traditionally it is the day beginning at sunset of the first sighting of the crescent moon shortly after sunset. If the moon is not observed immediately after the 29th day of the previous lunar month either because clouds block its view or because the western sky is still too bright when the moon sets then it is the following day.

Start of Ramadan, which is a lunar month, and the Eid al-Fitr holiday that follows the fast have long been an issue of conflict in the Islamic world. For Muslims in Turkey, Central Asia, and the Balkans, Ramadan fasting starts after the crescent of the new moon is sighted with a naked eye. Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, on the other hand, take as a basis the moon’s state of alignment with the Earth. Because of sectarian differences, various communities in the same country are also often at odds, starting the fast and Eid on different dates.

It’s a never-ending issue for Muslims, If the Saudis say the Eid starts today, the Shiites would say tomorrow. The Eid is announced only the evening before. Those who say the Eid is tomorrow walk down the streets for shopping. Muslims followed different applications of the Islamic calendar and thus while some Muslims started fasting on a certain date another community of Muslims started to fast the next day and some others the day after. So Ramadan started for Muslims on three separate dates.

Thus, Eid-ul-Fitr festivities, which start at the end of Ramadan, were also observed on three separate dates, which only showed the divisions in the Islamic world rather than the factors that unite Muslims. There have been instances in the Balkans where members of the same Muslim congregation started fasting on different days because of their sectarian affiliations. The disputes arose from the interpretations of the Islamic laws and rules. Some scholars said they have to view the crescent with their own eyes to be able to say the lunar month has started while others said this can be done through scientific methods and thus insistence on actually seeing the new crescent with the naked eye is archaic and redundant.

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