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Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
It's back: the annual argument over Ramadan
Start and end dates cause controversy every year
A bilal calls the Muslim faithful to prayer (picture: Shutterstock)
- Nancy Shahata for Patheos.com
- United States
- July 1, 2013
Every year it’s the same thing. An epic battle rages on the internet between two different factions of Muslims. I’m not talking Sunni vs Shia here – I’m talking about The Moonsighting Wars.
Okay, here’s the thing. The Muslim religious calendar follows the lunar cycle. We keep track of the moon and count the new month when the first sliver of a new moon is sighted every month. I have a little calendar thingy on my iPhone. It tells me that today is the sixteenth of the month of Sha’abaan. That means Ramadan is just a couple of weeks away.
The Islamic Society of North America, ISNA, set out an email yesterday saying that they are using astronomical calculations to determine that the fasting month of Ramadan will begin on Tuesday, July 9th. Oh, cool, you might think. I know exactly when the fasting begins so I can make sure I have my shopping done! And they also announced that Eid, the day that marks the end of fasting, will be on Thursday, August 8th. Excellent, you think. Now I know exactly what day to ask off from work! Ah, if only it were that simple.