Evidence to show moonfighting is a truly universal phenomena…
Muslims in Bahrain want 'unified' start of Ramadan
Manama: Religious leaders in Bahrain are calling for a common celebration of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr to push for a "unified start of the month".
"We need to have a unified start of the month and we urge all competent people and institutions to start fasting on the same day. There should be no difference between Sunnis and Shiites and as Muslims, we should agree on the first day of the holy month," said Salah Al Jowder, a religious scholar and an imam at a mosque in Muharraq. "Bahrain is a small country where unity should not be a vain word. We have been calling for a unified start of the month, but for the last few years, we have had not two, but three different days for the start of the fast. This should not be, and I cannot think of any other country where its people have so many days to mark the beginning of a month meant to consolidate unity and togetherness. Our religious institutions and Sunni and Shiite scholars have to assume their responsibilities," Al Jowder said.
Bahraini authorities usually announce the start and the end of Ramadan based on moon sightings by highest religious leaders in the country.
However, at times, the decision to start the fast is based on the announcement by neighbouring Saudi Arabia where Islam’s holiest sites are located.
Most Shiites, however, tend to follow the announcements made by their highest religious leaders either in Bahrain or abroad.
Frustrated by the divisions, several astronomers have offered their theories about the start of the month, based upon astronomical calculations, and urged Muslims to follow them on the grounds that they are "matters of certainty and Islam adopts certainty."
However, many religious leaders reject the adoption of astronomical calculations, adhering to a strict interpretation of the Quran, which requests Muslims to start fasting upon the sighting of the moon.
Most Muslims complain that the clash between conservatives who insist on seeing the moon with the naked eye and those who call for the use of astronomical calculations to predict the start of the month is increasingly becoming a source of national and social divisions, defeating the call for unity preached by Islam during the sacred month. A Tunisian engineer working for Nasa, Mohammad Loucet Ayari, has invented an electronic telescope that is set to end the debate over the determination of the beginning of the lunar cycle. However, his invention will be commercialized only in 2010 following trials.http://www.gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/10340498.html