Why Muslims around the world cannot celebrate Eid together?

Photo Credit: Afroz Alam Sahil

In the last moments of Ramadan, the moon takes on a special significance beyond its celestial beauty. Muslims eagerly await the sighting of the new moon, heralding the arrival of Eid. Amidst this waiting, the debate among Muslims, especially the Muslims of India, is intensified about why Muslims around the world cannot celebrate Eid Al-Fitr together or Can a single Hijri calendar help end annual confusion over moon sighting? Keeping the same thing in mind, Türkiye had organised the International Beginnings of Qamri Months and Hijri Calendar Unity Congress in Istanbul on May 28-30, 2016. The main objective of the congress was to understand how to determine the new Hijri lunar month according to the rules of Islam in light of advancements in the field of astronomy.

Islamic scholars from Türkiye, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, the United States, and fifty countries in Europe had gathered in that important 3-day long deliberation.

This conference came to be known as the International Hijri Calendar Union Congress. Considering the differences among Muslims worldwide regarding the Hijri calendar, it was decided that they should agree on one calendar to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha on the same day in this conference.

This International Hijri Calendar Union Congress was hosted by the official Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) of Türkiye. This international congress concluded with a unanimous declaration that it would end a long-standing debate among Muslims worldwide. The president of Türkiye’s Presidency of Religious Affairs, Mohammad Gormiz, said that the “60-year-old debate” is now over.

Moon Sighting Debate in India

I tried to contact Türkiye’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and sought to know whether anyone from India attended the conference organized by them in 2016 or if any answer from the Islamic scholars of India reached them. In response to this question, Hümeyra Nur İşlek, an astronomer associated with the Diyanet of Türkiye, said that three people from India participated in the 2016 conference. 

In the International Beginnings of Qamri Months and Hijri Calendar Unity Congress, Director of Islamic Fiqh Academy, Muhammed Amin USMANÎ, Irshad Nur Muhammed Sait of the Hijri Committee of India, and PET Polytechnic College and PET Teacher Education College Chairman, Abdullateef S. Uthman, were present. 

After getting this information, I tried to contact Muhammed Amin Usmani of the Islamic Fiqh Academy. During this attempt, I learned that he passed away in September 2020 due to COVID.

Irshad Nur Muhammed Sait of the Hijri Committee of India says that today we are living in the age of science. This is the period when every movement of the moon is being accounted for. In such a case, Eid-ul-Fitr can be celebrated all over the world quite easily, but the Ulemas of our country do not pay any attention to this. The same is true of our neighboring countries.

He said in a long conversation that we (Hijri Committee of India) have been doing research for the last 45 years on the global hijri calendar and have derived one such calendar from the teachings of the Noble Qur’an, authentic hadiths, and tallying with the astronomical data. Alhamulillah! We have been publishing such calendars for the last 25 years, with dates exactly tallying with moon phases, as directed by the Noble Qur’an 2:189.

He said that Islamic scholar and software engineer Sheikh Abdul Latif Uthman Umri has made a 3100-year Hijri calendar and converter. According to him, Abdullateef S. Uthman, along with Captain Farhath Siddiqui, was involved in the Congress of Istanbul.

When asked about the Istanbul Conference, he says that the Congress was well organized and a resolution was passed declaring that a single Hijri calendar should be implemented throughout the world. “If the Ulemas of our country also pay attention to this, then the moon debate can be ended forever.”

But this debate is not likely to end any soon; both in India and in the neighboring countries, this debate continues even after eight years of this conference. Even now, the month of Ramadan begins in India one day after the sighting of the moon in Saudi Arabia, and the festival of Eid is often celebrated a day later. This year, some people observed the start of Ramadan in some cities in South Asia with Saudi Arabia, besides in the Indian state of Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir.

Interestingly, earlier on November 27–30, 1978, a conference on determining the new lunar year was held in the same city of Istanbul, Türkiye. In this conference, the members were unanimous on the need to resolve this issue. Muslims believe that the Qur’an says, “This is your ummah, a single ummah.” Therefore, it is not permissible for them to disagree on religious matters. Allah Almighty says, “Hold on to Allah’s religion collectively and do not fall into divisions.” He commanded unity and solidarity with his verse.

 Two separate commissions, namely the “Religion Commission” and the “Astronomy Commission,” were formed among the scientists attending the conference. Each of them studied the papers presented on the subjects within their specialization. After detailed discussions, the conference took decisions unanimously in its last session.

 It should be noted that the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Conference and the Kuwait Awqaf Ministers Conference were also held earlier. Not only this, but an ‘Islamic Astronomical Conference’ was also held in Jordan’s capital, Amman, in October 2001 on the issue of the Hijri calendar. 

 In this conference, the Astronomy and Space Sciences Committee of the Arab Union on Crescent, Calendar, and Times presented a new idea of the Hijri calendar, which was based on dividing the world into two parts. The idea of this calendar was based on the sighting of the crescent on the 29th day of the lunar month at one part of the earth in each region. If the sighting of the crescent is confirmed (whether by the human eye or by astronomical instruments), the beginning of the new month will be announced throughout the region.

 What is the Hijri calendar?

The Hijri calendar operates on the lunar cycle, where each lunar month corresponds to one full rotation of the moon around the Earth. Its inception coincides with the year of the Prophet Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina, although its formalization commenced 17 years thereafter.

It should also be noted that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the second caliph of the Muslims, Hazrat Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, after consulting the Companions, adopted the Hijri calendar, which was previously known as the Arab calendar and which was attributed to the migration of the Prophet Muhammad.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Most Popular

To Top

Enable BeyondHeadlines to raise the voice of marginalized


Donate now to support more ground reports and real journalism.

Donate Now

Subscribe to email alerts from BeyondHeadlines to recieve regular updates