Archive for the ‘Moon’ Category

The need for moon sighting

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

As you know, there used to be quite a debate every year on how to determine the start of a new lunar month, especially Ramadan. Most scholars did not favor astronomical computations and insisted on manual sighting of the new moon. Phone calls were all over the globe to get the word out that the new moon was sighted or could not be sighted.

About a decade ago, the conviction changed. Most scholars are now comfortable with astronomical computations. No more debates!

However, I’d like to know what you think of the hadeeth, where the Prophet (PBUH) says, “Fast when you see it (the new moon of Ramadan) and break the fast when you see it (the new moon of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan). If it is obscured from you, then complete the count of Shaaban (the month before Ramadan) thirty days.”

That hadeeth was narrated by Abu-Hurayra and Ibn Abbaas, and reported by Al-Bukhaari and Al-Albaani and others. It is authentic.

Let’s follow the proper deduction method, shall we? God orders us to fast Ramadan (2:185), but He does not specifically tell us how to tell that it started. He tells us that crescents are time keepers for us (2:189). The conclusion is that we learn from the new moon whether a lunar month has started.

Now, how do we know a new moon is born? Astronomical computations are very accurate in this. Thus, following these computations enables us to be certain of when a lunar month has started.

But these advanced computations were not available to folks in the Seventh Century. So, how do they know that a new moon is there? That is where the hadeeth comes in. It’s what the Prophet (PBUH) advised for that situation. It is not the only method for us, but it was for them.

Now, what about the new moon being obscured? That can never happen with astronomic computations, but it can and did with naked-eye sighting. Again, the Prophet’s advise, peace be upon him, was to assume it wasn’t born. Without a stronger evidence that it was born, that was a valid, practical advice.

By the same token is the determination of when to start the fast everyday. God tells us to start the fast “when the white thread is distinguished from the black thread” (2:187) Most exegetes regard that criterion as a metaphor for dawn. A fellow of the Prophet (PBUH), named `Udayy ibn Haatim At-Taa’i, took it literally. He told the Prophet (PBUH) that he kept two headbands under his pillow, one white and one black. Then whenever he woke up during the night, he’d look at the two bands and if he couldn’t tell them apart, he went ahead and ate something! The Prophet (PBUH) jokingly replied, “You have a wide neck! It’s the darkness of the night and the brightness of the day.” Narrated by `Udayy and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

So, what is important is to tell that dawn started. All scholars have no problem following computations to make that determination, so why would sighting the moon, to determine when Ramadhaan starts, be any different?

Do Muslims worship a moon god?

Monday, April 9th, 2007

You make Islam sound all good, but if you live in America, it isn’t. My parents constantly tell me that Islam is a pagan religion and that Allah is really a moon god.

I am so confused. Is Islam the True Religion? I don’t know. I read somewhere on beliefnet.com that a young girl said that she tried to read the Quran, from a prospective convert view, and thought that it wasn’t from God.

To me, Islam seems sort of like a cult, no offense to anyone.

None taken. You did right by asking. Only by finding out for oneself can one truly obtain the truth.

The experience of reading the Quran will be different for different people. God tells us clearly that some people will hear the Quran and get nothing out of it or stray even more because they have chosen to close their hearts and minds to it, while some will hear the Quran and their eyes will overflow with tears as they recognize the Truth in it. Another girl’s experience with the Quran should not influence your own.

“Allah” is the Arabic word for God. He is the creator of the moon and everything else. Ask your parents why they think that Allah is a moon god. A pagan religion is one where God is objectified such as being the sun, the moon, an animal, etc. Since God in Islam is not objectified and He tells us that there’s none like unto Him and that He created all then Islam is not pagan. Ask your parents why they think that Islam is pagan. Their answers will reveal their little and mistaken knowledge about Islam (sorry) and can open the door for all of you to learn the truth about it.