Shaykh Daoud’s Blog

Id – An Asian Festival, and the Breakfast Charity

with one comment

Some years ago, the London Borough of Hammersmith – before “…and Fulham” got tacked on the end, in the days when it was run by Labour and the Town Hall was flogged to a shell company and rented back by the borough – presumably trying to be “inclusive”, “multicultural”, and generally helpful issued a wall calendar.

This informative accessory listed all the holidays and events that were of significance to the residents. Among these was the End of Ramadan, which was described as “Id – An Asian Festival”.

Now “Id – An Asian Festival” is coming round again. But when?

The Shariah is quite clear that the beginning and ending of the lunar months are determined by the local sighting with the naked eye of the birth of the crescent moon. This is very practical, as it allows for a great precision – within the range of a matter of a couple of minutes, something that is not possible with a solar calendar – anywhere in the world even with minimum technology.

It is meant to be local. The argument for centralising it is specious. In any case it would only make sense if this were consistently advanced for a Meccan calendar, on the basis that the annual Hajj pilgrimage takes place there during the month of Dhu-l Hijjah. Yet people are claiming that a sighting by any Muslim country should be followed. This is clearly ridiculous, as a lower school geography lesson would show.

Even the Meccan suggestion would be absurd by John Harrison’s work on Longitude. In fact the Islamic calendar is self-correcting for the fara’id of the Hajj don’t begin until the 3rd of Dhu-l Hijjah and so any variations world-wide of the beginnings of the months would be compensated for.

As the month of Ramadan is drawing to its close, once again, people are turning their minds to the celebrating of “Id – An Asian Festival”. The month can be only 29 or 30 days long. So those who started the Fast on the 21st or 22nd of August, when the moon couldn’t possibly be seen in the UK, will have to finish on Friday, 18th, or Saturday, 19th September when the month is still viable according to the local sighting – Friday being the 27th of Ramadan.

As the Crescent Watch website shows, the birth of the new crescent cannot be seen in the UK conceivably until Sunday evening, 20th September, and then only for three minutes with visual aids like telescopes or binoculars.

The new crescent can only be seen with the naked eye in London around 1914 hrs on Monday, 21st September, for about 15 minutes. This is authoritatively according to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Thus the most likely date of “Id – An Asian Festival” is Tuesday, 22 September, although it could be the day before, if it were to be sighted in the West Country.

So, what will people do? Break the month when it’s still viable because they unwisely followed a foreign sighting for its beginning, or fast 32 days to get its ending by the local means?

Another confusion concerns the Breakfast Charity, or Sadaqatu-l Fitr. This is not the Purifying Due (Zakah) that is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and must be paid to one of eight qualified recipient categories according to set percentages at the due date. Nor should it be sat upon by the authorities and doled out during the year. The Breakfast Charity is meant so that the poor and disadvantaged of the parish (muqim) can also enjoy the Festival.

It is a levy of one Sa’ Baghdadi (2.335 Kgs) per person who can afford it payable in the staple foodstuff of the area, according to the Shafi’ite Rite. Other madh’habs allow the use of money instead. But, by a fatwa of the Malaysian mufti Shaykh Shamsuddin Ramli, its monetary value can be substituted also by followers of the Shafi’ite School.

This year, where bread flour (the agreed staple in the UK) is around £1.22p per 1.5 Kgs, that would work out at £1.90p approximately per person. Anything above this should be counted as simple sadaqah, or charity.

Zakah is different, and still liable after Ramadan.

© D Rosser-Owen 2009 All Rights Reserved

Written by David Rosser Owen

September 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. L Eid is a Muslem festival not a Asian festival for all muslem from all over the world like the christian festivals ect are for all the christian from europe to Africa ect

    anne marie cherigny

    September 14, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: