For several years now, there has been a move to have a Universal Hijri Calendar — one calendar to serve for the whole Ummah. Saudi Arabia wants to be the one to fix the dates of the Universal Calendar. But Turkey, the former Ottoman Empire, also wants to be the center of this calendar.
The movers of this Universal Calendar are also saying that the requirement for seeing th new moon with the naked eye should be scrapped. Astronomical mathematical calculations should be the method.
Many countries are now following the Saudi hijri calendar while others follow the Turkish hijri calendar. A third group of countries rely on their own sighting of the New Moon. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, the Philippine ulama chose to follow the Saudi calendar even though the Philippine time is 5 hours ahead of Saudi time. The Qur’an is quite emphatic about the rule of the Moon and the Sun on the calendar. It says:
1. Sun and moon follow Hisab: “The sun and the moon follow courses exactly computed.” (55:05)
2. Phases of the moon are the standard to be used for reckoning of time: “They ask you about the waxing and waning phases of the crescent moons, say they are to mark fixed times for mankind and Hajj.” (2:189)
3. Sun and Moon to be used for reckoning of time: “It is He who made sun a lamp, and the moon a light and fixed the phases, so that you can count years and Hisab.” (10:5)
4. Sun and Moon to be used for reckoning of time: “And He who made the night for rest and sun and moon for reckoning of time. This is the decree of the Exalted, the All-knowing.” (6:96)
5. Moon is the measure of month and year: “The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred; that is the straight usage…….Verily the transposing (of a prohibited month) is an addition to unbelief: the unbelievers are led to wrong thereby: for they make it lawful one year and forbidden another year in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allah and make such forbidden ones lawful. The evil of their course seems pleasing to them. But Allah guideth not those who reject faith.” (9:36-37)
6. Ordained orbits of sun and moon and measured phases of moon: “And the moon, we have measured for her mansions (to traverse) till she returns like the old, (withered, and curved-up like a sickle) date-palm. It is not permitted for sun to catch-up the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; each swims along in (its own) orbit.” (36:39-40) (from https://www.moonsighting.com/globalcalendar.html)
But whether the position of the moon is seen by the human eyes or calculated mathematically, it will still not be the same for all countries in the world. There can be a new moon in Saudi Arabia but that same moon could still be waxing or waning in different parts of the world.
EID AL ADHA AND THE DAY OF ARAFAH
One way of controlling the Ummah’s calendar is to link Wuqf at Arafah with Eid al Adha. The Hadith which says that fasting during the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah or Arafah Day would dissolve the sins of the preceding and succeeding years, vastly increased the value of the Day of Arafat. Consequently, some Muslims outside the Middle East – and in different time zones – believe that they should follow the Saudi calendar so that when they would be fasting, the pilgrims would be at Arafat.
But we must take note that Eid al Adha was ordained in the first or second year of Hijra. Hajj was made obligatory in the NINTH year of Hijrah. So, is there any connection between the Eid al Adha festival and the Hajj aside from happening practically at the same time? For at least seven years, the Prophet, his Companions and their Muslim followers celebrated Eid al Adha WITHOUT anybody performing the Hajj.
The website islamic.org states:
“If Wuquf of Arafa (Hajj) and Eid al-Adha were so closely intertwined then they would have been ordained by Allah and the Prophet simultaneously.” The website further wrote: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never dispatched anybody to find out exactly when was the day of Arafa so as to connect the Eid with Arafa …This historical fact proves that the day of Arafa is not directly connected with Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha is connected with the 10th of Zul-Hajj and not with the observance of Hajj.
… History tells us that no Caliph or scholar has ever tried to search for the Day of Arafa in Makka and connect Eid al-Adha with it. Actually doing so would have been an unsurpassable challenge as Islam is spread across the world and it would have caused undue hardships for the Ummah. That is why the classical jurists have not worried about this issue at all. They seem to be content with the local moon sighting and connecting Eid al-Adha with the locally agreed upon tenth of Zul-Hajj, rather than Makkan tenth of Zul-Hajj.
The website then concludes thus:
Hajj is the key pillar of Islam and an event of great power and spirituality but this is for the Hujjaj (pilgrims) who are actually performing the Hajj in Makka and the surrounding areas. It is clear that no attempt has been made to directly intertwine Hajj and Eid al-Adha in Islamic history. Eid al-Adha should be marked on the locally agreed upon 10th of Zul-Hajj rather than Makkan 10th of Zul-Hajj. (emphasis mine)
CELEBRATION OF ABRAHAM’S SACRIFICE
Some people have the mistaken idea that the Eid ul Adha is a celebration or somehow connected to the people doing the Hajj. That is why they insist that everybody should follow Makkah time because that is where the hujjaj or pilgrims are.
We must remember that the Eid ul Adha is not a celebration for the hujjaj or pilgrims in Makkah. The Eid ul Adha is a celebration / commemoration of the Sacrifice of Abraham. Allah swt tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his only begotted son, Ismail. And he submitted to God’s will. But he was just being tested. And he passed with flying colors. He sacrificed a ram instead.
Perhaps a simple thought experiment could explain things better. This year, Saudi Arabia announced that the Eid al Adha will be on the 21st of August. The government-appointed imams blindly followed suit. Imagine that you have a TV or tablet or cellphone with a Live feed from Saudi Arabia. You can see in real time what is going on in Saudi Arabia, in Makkah particularly. At 6 AM, you go to the mosque and by around 7 AM Philippine time, you perform the Salat-ul-Eid. Great! Did you do it at the same time as the Saudis? NO! The Saudis are still sleeping. It is around 2 AM Saudi time. And the Haj pilgrims are still sleeping in Muzdalifah.
On Aug. 21, 2018, some Muslims in the Philippines would be performing the Salat-ul Eid while the Saudis would still be sleeping.
NEW MOON SIGHTED
The new moon was seen on Aug 12, around 6:22 pm in Cotabato, Philippines which makes Dhul hijjah 1 on Aug. 12 evening to Aug 13 evening. Evidently, 10 Dhul hijjah or Eid al Adha is on Aug. 22. But Philippines, for some reasons, “officially” follows Saudi Arabia!!!
Such confusion will continue every Eid celebration, esp. during Eid al Fitr. All Muslims in the world, save for the followers of the doctrine of Saudi Universal Hijri Calendar, know that Ramadhan starts only when the New Moon is sighted by humans in the locality. And the Eid al Fitr can only be celebrated after the sighting of the New Moon by humans in the locality.
Maybe some Muslim scholars are correct when they say that human sighting is not needed since science and mathematics can provide the exact time of the New Moon. But that still does not make Makkah time the correct time for all countries in the world.
It is very clear in the Qur’an that especially the Moon, and together with the Sun, are to be used to reckon time. When the New or Full Moon appears in Makkah, it does not mean that the same lunar configuration can be seen all over the world.
Some of the countries celebrating the Eid al Adha on Aug. 22, 2018 are:
Algeria, Azerbaijan,Bangladesh,Benin, Brunei, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Guinea, India (regional), Indonesia, Iraq , Ivory Coast , Malaysia,Maldives Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan,Sen egal, Spain (regional), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand United Arab Emirates.