By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
After indepth consultation with the Royal Observatory, the Amir of the Association of British Muslims, Sheikh Daoud Rosser-Owen, has concluded that it is not physically possible to see the new moon before Monday night. The moon orbits the Earth in a regular, measurable and readily observable pattern, thus unless the moon’s orbit suddenly alters in the next few days in a truly remarkable and unprecedented manner, the Moon will not be in a physical location possible for it to be observable until Monday evening.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “Calculate on the basis of the new moon of Sha’ban when Ramadan begins.” (Al-Tirmidhi, 618). The Prophet was very clear on this, therefore the beginning of Ramadan must be calculated according to the sighting of the new moon. To avoid confusion, arguments and readily avoidable fitna, we should use the most accurate information, a good source of which is that provided by those scientists whose profession is the study of the heavenly bodies. No one understands the orbits of the Earth, Moon and other celestial bodies better than astronomers, who have made this their life’s work. All astronomers today, are themselves the heirs of Islamic astronomers, who laid much of the groundwork for the modern science of Astronomy.
Taking all this into account, the Association of British Muslims will mark Monday evening, 1. August 2011 as the beginning of Ramadan, in preparation for the first day of fasting, starting at sunrise on 2. August 2011. We are providing this information as a guide, in the hope that it will encourage a stronger sense of solidarity among British Muslims. This guidance is especially relevant for community leaders, who have been designated the responsibility of deciding the start of Ramadan in their local communities, we respectfully remind you of your responsibility to Allah and your communities.
The dating of Ramadan and the eids has become a source of fitna over the years… Anyone who contributes to fitna will be held to account for their sins on the Day of Reckoning by Allah Almighty. However, we do not wish to be a source of fitna ourselves, and recommend our brothers and sisters in Islam, that in the situation where most of the people in your community start and finish Ramadan on a different day, that in the interests of your community’s sense of solidarity, it would be better for you to adhere to those dates marked by your community.