HILAL Committee of Metropolitan Toronto & Vicinity has announced that Ramadan 2010 / 1431 would begin on Thursday 12th August, 2010. “There were no confirmed sightings of the new crescent in the parameters of the Hilal Committee, therefore Sha’ban will complete 30 days and Ramadan will start Thursday 12th August, 2010,” the Hilal Committee announced.
However, The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) an affiliate of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), based on astronomical calculation announced that first day of Ramadan would be Wednesday, August 11, 2010 and Eid ul-Fitr on Friday, September 10, 2010.
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Canada also announced that based on the calculated moon sighting, they should start fasting from Wednesday 11th August 2010. However several local ICNA chapters followed the decision of the local Masajid, members of Hilal committee of Metropolitan Toronto & Vicinity. ICNA Toronto East Chapter followed the Hilal Committee decision and starting Ramadhan from Thursday 12th August.
According to the Hilal Committee of Toronto & Vicinity, the decision regarding hilal (crescent) sighting at the Hilal Committee of Toronto and Vicinity is undertaken as follows:
The Hilal Committee of Toronto & Vicinity is comprised of more than 80 masajid & Islamic centers in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) & Canada.
Every month members gather and decide upon the commencement of the new month based on local actual sighting with the naked eye.
In accordance to the fiqh, scholars of the Hilal Committee have established Canada, America and certiain countries of the Caribbean as one MATLA horizon (especially regions falling in the Toronto time zone EST), the hilal committee has appointed personnel residing in all the provinces of Canada and also in every state in the USA and Caribbean who search for the moon.
Once information is received the sighting then is confirmed and verified by large amounts of people and then the decision is declared.
The Hilal Committee also uses astronomical data to assist in making its decisions, however all decisions are based on the actual sighting of the moon in North America & the Caribbean with the naked eye. Evidence for the probability of a moon sighting occurring according to calculations is reviewed, although it is not the sole reason for determining a new month. Islamic law has made clear the necessity of an actual visual, unaided sighting of the moon. However, there are no restrictions to use calculations in determining the probability of a moon sighting.
The horizon of Saudi Arabia is different than ours here in North America. This is why the senior Muftis and Scholars (Ulama) of Saudi Arabia (Sh. Abdullah bin Baz, Sh. Saleh bin Uthaimeen etc.) have also issued fatwas for the Muslims in North America that we should not follow the sighting of Saudi Arabia but rather follow our local sightings. See fatwas on the web at: http://www.jas.org.jo/hilaal/) or alternatively on Fatwas on Islamic Moon Sighting
The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) recognizes astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’ia method for determining the beginning of lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. The FCNA uses Makkah al-Mukarramah as a conventional point, and take the position that the conjunction must take place before sunset in Makkah and the moon must set after sunset in Makkah. The Astronomical New Moon is on August 10, 2010 (Tuesday) at 11:08 am Makkah Time. Sunset in Makkah on August 10 is at 6:55 pm. On that day, the Topocentric Altitude of the moon in Makkah at sunset is 1.6 degrees. Therefore, the first day of Ramadan is on August 11, 2010 (Wednesday), making the first Tarawih prayer to be on the night of Tuesday August 10, 2010. The Astronomical New Moon is on September 8, 2010 (Wednesday) at 6:30 pm Makkah Time. Sunset in Makkah on September 8 is at 6:31 pm. On that day, the moon in Makkah at sunset is below the horizon. Therefore, the first day of Shawwal, which marks the start of Eid ul-Fitr is on Friday, September 10, 2010, insha’Allah.
Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Masood Al-Nadvi, Ameer of ICNA Canada is trying to balance two opinions. He said “North American Fiqh Council accepted calculation as an Islamic way to determine moon sighting. Scientific means are very sure to declare moon’s visibility by collecting data and forecasting the time of moon ahead of time. Other scholars are still insisting to determine it by only seeing it by eyes.
ICNA Canada adopted a balanced approach which is using calculation as a support and very exact means to forecast earlier, but when Hadith is asking us to see the moon, so we added the word “sighting ” with calculation. So we benefit from calculation and same time we follow the tradition of seeing the moon. In this way, we are choosing global moon sighting, instead of local sighting, and both are fiqh based ways of moon sighting. It is sure that when it is determined that moon will be visible on such date it will be seen some where in world. It will be a rare situation that it is said so but not seen any where so we will stick with seeing and not calculation. But such possibility is around 5 to 10 %. Alhamdulillah since we adopted this opinion, we and those who are choosing local sighting are starting Ramadan and Eid same time.”
However, it is not true this year. The Ramadhan is beginning on different days based on the followers of two different view points; Wednesday, August 11 and Thursday, August 12.