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How do the letters from Masjid Malcolm Shabazz concerning the beginning and ending of Ramadan fit into the process presently coming under the Convenors of Imams letterhead?
As Salaam Alaykum and Ramadan Mubarak!
Dear Brother Rasheed,
I think you might be referring to the interview Imam Pasha of Masjid Malcolm Shabazz did with Imam Mohammed on how he determines the start of Ramadan and the Eids. In this interview IWDM specifies three key components of his methodology:
1. Sighting with the eyes rather than using a calendar or pure calculation
2. Sighting within the continental USA rather than taking a sighting from another part of the world
3. If the moon can’t be physically sighted, he used astronomical science to determine the most likely time for the Eid.
The Conveners’ methodology adheres to all three of these components. One difference is an improvement on his method of using astronomical science to determine the most likely time for the eid, when it can’t physically be seen. The Imam would use astronomy to identify when the new moon (black moon) was born and then he would estimate 30 – 48 hours and determine that the morning of the day following that time would be the eid day. This interview was conducted in 2007. For many years until this present day, Imam Pasha conducts late night telephone conference calls with Imams around the country.
In 2012, the Conveners sought to improve the process of determining the start of Ramadan and Eids as well as the dissemination of the start dates. The astronomical charts that are now available on the Internet enables us to project where and when the moon can be sighted in the continental USA. This gives us the ability to fulfill all 3 components of the Imam’s methodology. We know when and where to sight (1) in the USA providing the weather is clear (2) and if it is not visible, we know the Sunnah is to count to the 30th day to start or have the Eid.
So, our methodology is a natural extension of Imam Mohammed’s methodology.
If there are some other letters you are referring to, please let me know what they are. I am aware of anything other information.
I hope this helps.
As Salaamu Alaikum, and Ramadan Mubarak,
Dear Conveners of Imams,
I have thoroughly read the document (Explanation of Methodology 2015).
Thank you so much for providing this information, however nowhere in the
document have you given proof that the moon has to be sighted exclusively with the naked eye.
I would like to know what is our logic behind the statement “The moon has to be sighted with the naked eye.”
Is there any documented statements by Imam W. D. Mohammed that support this logic?
Everything I have read in the document points to the need to continue the tradition of “searching” for the
moon, fasting for the 30th day if there is no sighting, and the tradition of relying on sightings in your general locale.
So the question is, “Why would we not be allowed to use optical aides in our search for the Hilal?”
Sincerely Your Sister in Faith,
Alaykum As Salaam and Ramadan Mubarak!
Dear Sister Renata,
Thank you for the excellent question.
First, let me say that our use of naked eye searches rather than searches with optical aids is our current position that can be changed, if there is a consensus amongst the Imams of the Community of Imam W. Deen Mohammed (CIWDM) to do so. The choice of using naked eye confirmations rather than optical aids is a choice or preference and not a rejection of others who choose to use optical aids. Our choice is made upon the following ideas:
We are aware that IWDM advocated and practiced physical sightings with the naked eye throughout his 33 years as our leader and we are not aware of him ever recommending or suggesting that we should obtain optical aids to assist in our sightings. So, we are following his practice.
There is a principle that we currently hold to, which is that the common or average Muslim should be able to perform all of the essential rituals in our religion. This keeps our religion from being controlled by the few and the experts. The average Muslim can go outside and search for the moon with their naked eye and we can corroborate each others observations on this basis. However, the majority of us do not have telescopes, even in this wealthy society. So, as a principle, this could render the many dependent upon the few. As a matter of practicality, there will always be a smaller group sighting on behalf of the larger group, but our position is to encourage all Muslims to go out with their families and make this ritual of searching a custom, because of the great symbolic wisdom of this practice.
A third idea is that one of the major meanings and purposes of Ramadan is to return the human being to the natural and original balance that Allah created us in. The emphasis is on accentuating the value of returning to our natural selves. Thus, the moon is naturally found in the creation and our eyes and observation skills is natural in the creation. Humans have naturally observed the heavens from the beginning and Allah urges humans to observe HIS signs in the creation. The telescope is certainly a by-product of natural development and an enhancing tool and we are not against it, but for the purposes of this ritual and preserving the wisdom surrounding it, we think it is healthy to emphasize the natural practice of observing the heavens for signs. Again, a case can be made for enhancements and we are not opposed to enhancements. But, for this ritual and with the above two points we are currently encouraging naked eye sightings.
As a matter of Islamic law, we believe that the legal principles of urf (custom), is’tis’hab (continuity) and even ij’tihad (reasoning) are applicable to our circumstance here in America and that we are consistent with Qur’an and Sunnah as well.
I hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate with any additional questions or follow up if I have missed something.
Great reference and research source.
Alhamdulillah Mr. Mu Octavis Taalib!
ASA I made a comment on the post. But I will say this, we live in the day of answers, not questions. If you have questions today, you live in the wrong day. That day is over like the day of the horse and buggy!!!