Couple of years ago, Fiqh Council of North America, which is mainly dominated by ISNA and few other SALAFI organizations, decided to use astronomical calculations in determining the Islamic months. They developed a calendar for the next five years for the identification of the Islamic festivals / events.
The scholars at the Fiqh Council of North America wrote several research papers. In those research papers authors analyzed and debated variety of rulings by early and current Islamic Jurists and experts on astronomy. Initially, Fiqh Council of North America used GMT as a reference for the calculations. This year, Fiqh Council of North America changed the reference and used Makkah’s time as a reference for calculations. After changing the point of reference, Fiqh Council revised its calendar; however, Fiqh Council did not post the new revised calendar on their website. I wrote them an email and asked for the revised calendar but never got any response from Fiqh Council of North America. I was not sure why Fiqh Council is reluctant to produce revised calendar.
But I now know why they did not post the revised calendar on their website. The reason is that the Fiqh Council wanted to keep room for FLIP FLOP.
It is obvious that the Fiqh Council does not want to follow its own calendar for all 12 months of the year. They just want to follow their own calendar for 11 months and for the 12th month they will blindly follow what Saudi tells them. According to Fiqh Council, for all eleven months the crescent sighting in North America will be based upon their calculated calendar. However, for the month of Dhul Hajjah, they will follow the SAUDI declaration.
What kind of Fiqh is this? For 11 months the criteria is different than the criteria for the 12th month. If Saudi declaration can not be followed for 11 months why it has to be followed for the 12th month? What verse in Qur’an OR Hadith OR the ruling of early scholars of Islam says that for 11 month the crescent sighting should be based upon calculations and for the 12th month it should be based upon Saudi judgement? Why Fiqh Council do not use one criterion for all 12 months?
For the month of Dhul Hujjah, the Fiqh Council gave an excuse. Since the Saudi’s have announced the day of Hajj, therefore, it is necessary that the Eid-ul-Adh-ha should take place after the day of Hajj. If the excuse is the day of HAJJ (ARAFAH), because Hajj would take place on the day when Saudis would announce it, regardless that the Saudi decision may go against all the odds of crescent sighting in the world, then this excuse is not a valid reason.
If the Saudi declaration for the month of Dhul-Hujjah can be correct, why the Fiqh Council think that the Saudi declaration may be wrong for the other 11 months? Why do you need your own calendar? Just follow Saudi announcement. Why Eid ul Fitre, Ramadan and other Islamic months are calculated based upon the Fiqh Council’s calendar and only Dhul Hujjah is based upon Saudi Announcement? What is the basis for this segregation?
There is no basis for this flip flop. It is obvious that the scholars at the Fiqh Council can not stand against the pressure from Saudi scholars and the pressure from those who blindly follow Saudi scholars. This is all about manipulation of Islamic Shari’a by few scholars who knowingly make wrong decisions because of fear, greed or personal interests.
This FLIP FLOP by the Fiqh Council of North America shows that it is not a credible organization. We are not sure where else this Fiqh Council compromises with wrong.
It is time for Muslims to unite and establish a Fiqh Council that would include all the denominations of Islam and provide rulings and fatwa on the basis of Islamic Shari’a, not personal interests, pressures, fears or greed.
For North America, this year’s Eid al Adh-ha has been declared by majority of Islamic organizations in North America. Eid Al Adh-ha is on Thursday, December 20th, 2007. This day is supported by both criteria of crescent sighting, that is, the calculations and the physical sighting of the crescent.
Muslims fear only Allah and no one else. Jazakallah and Eid Mubarak
Syed B. Soharwardy
President, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada