The holy month of Ramadan will start on Saturday, April 2. The Muslim community in North America follows two traditions to mark the start and end of the holy month — by following Saudi Arabia or local moonsighting.
Ramadan is the holiest month on the Islamic calendar. Muslims celebrate this month by fasting from dawn to dusk, reading the whole Qur’an, and offering charity.
“It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for humanity, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So any one of you who is present that month should fast, and anyone who is ill or on a journey should make up for the lost days by fasting on other days later. God wants ease for you, not hardship. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for having guided you, so that you may be thankful.” (Qur’an 2:185)
To establish the beginning of Ramadan, which is determined by the sighting of the new moon, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority countries rely on the testimonies of moon sighters. The same tradition prevails here in the US as well where national organizations like the Islamic Society of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, Fiqh Council of North America, Central Hilal Committee of North America, etc. follow local moon sighting or their own scientific calendar.
ISNA follows the decision of FCNA has already announced April 2 as the first day of fasting.
The Islamic calendar adopted by FCNA is based on calculations with Ittihadul-Mataali’ concept for the sake of global unity. “FCNA decided to follow The European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), which states that the sighting is not a requirement but just the means of ascertaining the beginning for a new month, and that is now attained by exact calculations,” FCNA says.
The majority of immigrants from Arab countries, Africa and Asia follow this calendar. However, some immigrants from South Asia follow the local moon sighting. The Pakistani-run ICNA recommends people to follow local moon sightings.
“Alhamdulillah, by the joint effort of all the Ulama and great cooperation throughout the States, we have revived this forgotten Sunnah of moonsighting throughout the year in many localities, all across the nation,” reads a statement on the Council’s website.
This year there is a good chance that Ramadan will start on the same day for everyone because according to Fiqh Council, the new moon will be born by Friday at 2:20 a.m. and there is a good chance it will be sighted in some parts of the US, especially on the west coast which is three hours behind.
“The birth of the Hilal for Ramadan 1443 will take place on Friday, April 1, 2022 at 2:24 am EST (6:24 UTC),” the Fiqh Council said. America’s more than 2,769 mosques are very busy as the country’s Muslim population visits them more than usual.
The majority of American Muslims say that mosques are not central to their spirituality. But during the holy month, mosques and Muslim community centers in the US come alive with activity. Iftar parties and community events become a daily affair at these centers, which makes community businesses even busier.
This year will see the return of pilgrims in full numbers for the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina after two years of COVID-19 restrictions, as Saudi Arabia lifted most restrictions just ahead of Ramadan.
Pakistan Week extends a very happy and blessed holy month of Ramadan to its valued readers.