Ramadan Moon Sighting

I started a post a couple days about moon sighting. I was working on it one-handed with Baby in the other arm for close to an hour too.Then Baby needed a diaper change, and my husband came along, hopped on facebook, and closed my unsaved post. Lesson learned. I should save things. But the last time I saved a draft it seemed like my formatting got changed.

About moon sightings, the people at the masjid say that they have had reports of credible moon sightings throughout the United States, so it is officially Ramadan here. Throughout the United States is a pretty big geographic area. If it was at all possible for anyone to see it, someone was going to. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t local. We looked for the moon last night, but it was far too cloudy to see, so if we were depending on local sightings, I suppose it wouldn’t be Ramadan yet.

I believe in local moon sightings, but it seems like hardly any communities do that. Actually basing the decision on a sighting is preferable to those who do not. The Prophet (s) told us to “fast when you see it, and break your fast when you see it, and if it is cloudy or hidden, count out 30 days.” This seems to me like it should make things simple because if the moon isn’t seen, it is 30 days. Simple.

But people don’t act like it is simple. In fact, it can become very complicated. When I was a new Muslim there was this argument that we couldn’t base it on moon sightings as it would be impossible during certain times of the year (eg. October) to see the moon in the northern hemisphere on the 29th day. So if we can’t see the moon on the 29th day, the month is 30 days. That still doesn’t seem ¬†complicated.

Some communities don’t care about sightings at all. They base their decisions on calculations and calendars and can tell you when the month will start and when the eid will be long before it actually comes. I can see the convenience in this, knowing when to take off from work, renting facilities, making plans, but I don’t agree with it.

Other people will accept a moon sighting anywhere in the world or only take the sighting from their home countries.

Probably the majority will look for sightings anywhere in their country. In the “Muslim world” countries will declare the start of Ramadan or eid. The United States is not capable of this due to a lack of a centralized Muslim authority, so each community makes the decision for themselves.

Some people are very bothered by different cities celebrating at different times. Especially in our globalized society they feel like everyone should fast and celebrate the eid on the same day. Traditionally though people in different cities were on different days, and this wasn’t a problem, so I don’t see why it should be now. Honestly, the moon isn’t always visible in different places on the same day. Just because they’ve seen the moon in California or Florida or Saudi Arabia, doesn’t mean we could see it here, but a moon sighting is still better than none at all.


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