After consulting with the Amir of the Association of British Muslims, Sheikh Daoud Rosser-Owen and the most reliable astronomical data we have available to us, we conclude: The very earliest possibility to see the new moon in the extreme South West of the United Kingdom, will be on Friday evening (20.07.2012). Which means the first day of Ramadan will be on Saturday, should this indeed be the case.
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims.
“Qualified Muslim astronomers and reliable visibility forecasts indicate that on Thursday evening a sighting of the new crescent moon will be extremely improbable in all global regions, with the exception of South America and the South Pacific where sightings are possible but fairly unlikely.”
“And strive hard in God’s cause with all the striving that is due to Him: it is He who has elected you [to carry His message], and has laid no hardship on you in [anything that pertains to] religion, [and made you follow] the creed of your forefather Abraham. It is He who has named you – in bygone times as well as in this [divine writ] – (al-muslimeen) ‘those who have surrendered themselves to God’, so that the Apostle might bear witness to the truth before you, and that you might bear witness to it before all mankind. Thus, be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and hold fast unto God. He is your Lord Supreme: and how excellent is this Lord Supreme, and how excellent this Giver of Succour!” – Holy Qur’an 22:78 (M. Asad)
Frequent questions one often gets asked these days, is whether one is Sunni or Shia, what school of thought (madhab) to which one belongs or which “methodology” one adheres to… Isn’t this a sad state of affairs? Are these really such pertinent questions? A good question would be, to which sect did Prophet Muhammad belong, peace be upon him, or any of his immediate companions? Many will then point to the fact that a political dispute arose during that first generation, over who was to be the rightful heir of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
However, while this is true, my own analysis indicates that what was understood then by the group of companions, who in later generations came to be understood as laying the foundation for Sunni Islam and the group later understood to have contributed to the foundation of Shia Islam, this was not the same as what is now meant by the terms Sunni and Shia today… Many of the earliest scholars of Islam, such as Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, may Allah bless them, are scholars relied upon by all schools of thought and sects.
“VERILY, as for those who have broken the unity of their faith and have become sects – thou hast nothing to do with them. Behold, their case rests with God: and in time He will make them understand what they were doing.”
- Holy Qur’an 6:159 (M. Asad)
How many Sunnis really understand the Sunni traditions in any great depth? The same likewise applies for the Shia. Before continuing these disputes over ever more generations, shouldn’t we first at least strive to be Muslims? Isn’t the foundation of Islam the pure belief in the Oneness of God? Whatever happened to the Kalima Shahada? Brothers and sisters of all different groups will state categorically in response, we haven’t forgotten the Kalima! Insha Allah, I pray this is true. However, if Muslims maintain the Kalima at the essence of their faith, how can the Ummah be divided?
La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur Rasul Allah
No god but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God
At the heart of Islam lives this most profound of statements, the foundation of the beliefs of all Muslims. The only real god is God, Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the last and final Prophet. If we truly believe this, how then can we be divided? I implore all brothers and sisters to reflect deeply on this point…
The Kalima Shahada and the Holy Qur’an are accepted by all Muslims, regardless of their school of thought or sect. These pre-date all other reference material on Islam, even that compiled by the earliest scholars. During these last days of Ramadan, wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people could transcend their differences, realising that at heart we’re all one. After all, what is our primary nature, are we not all human? Every other description we adorn ourselves with, whether pertaining to our spiritual beliefs, our tribe or nationality, surely come secondary to this. First and foremost we are human beings, the children of Adam and Eve, in essence we are One Human Family. How beautiful would it be if humanity started behaving like one?
“O YOU who have attained to faith! Remain conscious of God, and be among those who are true to their word!”
- Holy Qur’an 9:119 (M. Asad)
The Right Hon Mrs Theresa May MP
HM Secretary of State for the Home Department
House of Commons
1 Parliament Square
London SW1A 0AA
2 August 2011 / 1 Ramadan 1432
Dear Home Secretary,
Pastor the Rev Dr John Charles Hagee
I’m sure that by now you are aware of the intended visit of the above controversial American cleric to a “Rally and Prophecy Conference” to be held at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, between 18 and 20 August (which will just happen to coincide with 17 and 19 Ramadan this year).
Dr Hagee has come in for considerable criticism within the USA from the American Jewish communities for his expressed anti-semitism, as summarised by the website Jews on First!:
“Hagee declares that Hitler was “part Jewish.” He says that Jews attribute special healing powers to the “spittle” of their first-born sons. He repeats anti-semitic canards about Jewish control of the financial system.” (http://www.jewsonfirst.org/audio-video/Display5.aspx?id=5149)
His Christian theology has raised considerable concern among respected and mainstream British Christian religious, such as the late Rev Dr John Stott (Rector Emeritus of All Soul’s, Langham Place, London), Rev Dr Stephen Sizer (vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water), and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, himself who has described it as “dangerous fantasies”.
I believe that it was because of such anti-semitic views as are causing concern among American Jews that you excluded the Indian cleric Dr Zakir Naik in June 2010; and recently took action against Shaykh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, on the complaint of Mr Michael Freer MP, member for East Finchley, although the Israeli authorities have not found him guilty of this.
In the context of the detention of Shaykh Raed Salah you recently stated, “I will seek to exclude an individual if I consider that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good, and the government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe that they might seek to undermine our society.”
Dr Hagee also has a track record of consistently maligning and excoriating Islam, Muslims in general, and the Prophet Muhammad in particular. It would appear – although that is far from clear, as yet – that the Norwegian gunman, Anders Behring Breivik, was influenced by the Evangelicalism of Dr Hagee and other such peddlers of Islamophobia.
Given that this proposed Conference in Birmingham will take place in the middle of Ramadan in a city with a large polyethnic population, not a few of whom are Muslims, we in the Association of British Muslims would respectfully request that you issue an Exclusion Order for Dr Hagee.
Amir of the Association of British Muslims
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.