`Eid Al-Fitr Tuesday, Wednesday,…
By IOL Staff
Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue.
CAIRO — Though the majority of Muslims worldwide were united in observing the first day of Ramadan on September 1, they are set to be widely divided on its end and the start of `Eid Al-Fitr.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, confirmed on Monday, September 29, the sighting of the Shawwal moon.
Thus, the start of the three-day `Eid Al-Fitr will fall on Tuesday, September 30.
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Similar announcements have been made by the religious authorities in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Afghanistan confirmed following Saudi Arabia in deciding the start of `Eid.
Sunnis in Iraq will start celebrating `Eid Al-Fitr on Tuesday while Shiites will sight the new moon of Shawwal Tuesday.
The majority of Muslims in China will also celebrate `Eid on Tuesday after sighting the new moon.
The holy fasting month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, began in most countries on Monday, September 1.
Libya, which began Ramadan on August 31, had earlier announced that Tuesday will be the first day of `Eid.
`Eid falls Tuesday in Turkey, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Slovenia, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Russia, Hungary and Kazakhstan.
"There is coordination between the Euro-Asian Muslim Committee which groups Balkan countries and is headed by Turkish Fatwa House to determine religious holidays," said Naeem Trafana, the head of the Islamic Sheikhdom in Kosovo.
"We confirm Monday as the end of Ramadan and Tuesday as the first day of `Eid Al-Fitr."
The Federation of Social Organizations in Ukraine (Arraid) decided to follow Turkey in celebrating `Eid on Tuesday.
The Islamic Wakf of Scandinavia in Denmark announced Tuesday as the first day of `Eid, following Saudi Arabia.
Several Muslim organizations in different German cities have agreed on Tuesday as the beginning of the three-day `Eid Al-Fitr.
The Central Mosque in London announced Monday that British Muslims will celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr as of Tuesday.
The Islamic Center in Milan said the first day of `Eid Al-Fitr falls on Tuesday.
The Islamic Council in Parana said Muslims in Brazil will celebrate `Eid on Tuesday following Saudi Arabia.
Muslims in northern Nigeria celebrated `Eid Monday after Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa'ad, confirmed Sunday as the last day of Ramadan based on the sighting of the Shawwal moon.
Muslims in south Nigeria, however, are still fasting Ramadan and would celebrate `Eid on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Indonesian government announced Monday that ` Eid would begin Wednesday, as the teams deployed to nine areas across the country did not sight the new moon.
"Syawal will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008," Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni said after presiding over a meeting to determine the date for ` Eid.
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, the country's two largest Muslim organizations, have agreed on the start of ` Eid on Wednesday.
Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa announced that the Shawwal moon has not been sighted any where across the country.
"The first day of Eid Al-Fitr will therefore be celebrated on Wednesday," he said in a televised address to the nation.
The religious authorities in Syria, Tunisia and Algeria made similar announcements.
South African scholars were not ale to sight the Shawwal moon Monday and confirmed that Wednesday will be the start of ` Eid.
The Republic of Maldives, an Asian island nation, announced Wednesday as first day of `Eid Al-Fitr.
Several Islamic centers in the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand said `Eid will be celebrated Wednesday.
The Islamic Center of Canberra announced on its website that Australian Muslims will celebrate `Eid on Wednesday.
The Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) have announced the start of `Eid Al-Fitr on October 1 based on astronomical calculations.
The European Assembly of Imams and Spiritual Guides said "undisputable" scientific evidence "prove beyond doubt" that the new moon can not be sighted Monday.
"Thus, Tuesday is the last day of Ramadan and Wednesday will be the start of Shawwal and `Eid el-Fitr," the UK-based body said in a statement mailed to IslamOnline.net.
The mufti of Poland said Muslims will abide by the ECFR's announcement.
Muslim organizations in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland have also decided the same.
In the Netherlands, the imams society confirmed Wednesday as the start of `Eid Al-Fitr, though the Turkish community decided to follow Ankara and start `Eid a day earlier.
The Council of the Muslim Faith in France announced Monday that `Eid el-Fitr will be observed as of Wednesday.
A similar announcement was made by the Islamic Council in Madrid.
Countries such as Morocco, Iran, Oman, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India will sight the moon Tuesday.
Shiites in Lebanon and Iraq will also sight the Shawwal moon Tuesday.
For those sighting the new moon on Tuesday, `Eid Al-Fitr will fall on either Wednesday or Thursday.
Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.
One group says that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.
A second, however, believes that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country (such as Egypt's Dar al-Iftaa [House of Fatwa]) announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1221720413720&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout