Celebrating Eid-Ul-Adhaa According To The Hajj Dates In Saudi Arabia


Beliefs & Practices, Contemporary Fatawa, Fiqh / Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Q. 1. Is it all right for me to follow the Jamia Mosque for Eid-ul-Adha celebration although I do not agree with this decision to celebrate it with Hajj day in Saudi Arabia (i.e.next to Hajj day).

2. What is the true significance of the details given in the attached brochure on the light of the Fiqh followed in different schools?

3. Does it agree with the decision taken by Fiqh council of Saudi Arabia which has members from all over the Muslim world.
(A Canadian Muslim)

A. I have gone through the article enclosed with your letter and published in the Newsletter of the Islamic Society of North America, Vol.2 No.2. With my utmost respect to the sentiments of muslim unity expressed in the article, I am forced to say that the view explained in the article is in total disagreement with the teachings of the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ( Sallaho Alaihai Wasallam ) and with the Shariah position recognised throughout the countries. This is an unprecedented view which has never been adopted by any of the Muslim Jurists during the past 14 hundred years, and it has a number of intrinsic defects and anomalies, some of which are summarized hereunder :

1. The article states that the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr should be tied up with the sighting of the moon in each relevant country and should not be linked with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr in Saudi Arabia. But at the same time the article argues for the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha according to the Saudi Calender. In the first place, I am unable to understand how this scheme work reasonably? Suppose, the American Muslims have declared 1st of July as 28th of Zulqa’dah according to their local sighting of the moon. But the Saudi authorities have announced the same date to be the first of Zulhijjah.

If the American Muslims follow the Saudi declaration, as proposed by Isna in the said article, it will mean that the month of Zulqa’dah will and up on the 27th or 28th day, which is an absurd position on the face of it, because an Islamic month cannot have less than 29 days, as it is expressly mentioned by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) in the well-known ahadith. The other alternative possibility in such a situation would be to run the calender according to the Saudi calendar irrespective of the local dates. But this option will be even worse, because it will mean that Eidul-Adha is being celebrated in America on 8th or 9th of Zulhijjah and not on the 10th. One can easily appreciate that this option is more unacceptable than the first one, because Eid-ul-Adha can only be celebrated on 10th of Zulhijjah.

It is thus clear that the theory proposed in the article is not practicable in any way.

2. The article has laid much emphasis on the concept of the unity of Muslim Ummah which cannot be denied by any one. But at the same time one must appreciate that the unity does not mean that the whole Muslim Ummah throughout the world should perform their acts of worship at one time and at the same time, because it is not possible at all. It is evident that when the people offer their fajr prayer in Saudi Arabia, the Muslims of America offer their ‘Isha prayer of the previous day, and when the people offer their Fajr prayer in Los Angeles, the Muslims of Pakistan and India offer their Maghrib or the ‘Isha prayers of the same day.

If it is made obligatory on all the Muslims of the world to offer their acts of worship at one time for the sake of unity, this type of unity can never come into existence. It is, therefore, obvious that the difference of time while offering acts of worship can in no way disturb the concept of Muslim unity. What the concept of Muslim unity does actually mean is that all the Muslims should treat each other with brotherly sympathy and affection and should not spread disorder and dissension among them, nor should they invent new ideas foreign to the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah which may divide the Muslims and raise quarrels between them.

It is also astonishing that the article takes the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha in different days as against the concept of unity, while in the matter of the celebration of Eidul Fitr this concept of unity is not applied. It is not understandable that if the celebration of Eidul Fitr in different days does not harm the concept of unity, how can it be said to harm the unity in the case of Eid-ul-Adha?

3. It is true that the Eid-ul-Adha falls immediately after the day of Arafat in Saudi Arabia, but it is not necessary that the Muslims of every country should follow the same dates in their respective areas. Hajj is, no doubt, tied up with a particular place, but the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha is not confined to that place alone. It is celebrated everywhere in the world. Therefore, it cannot be held as a celebration which should in any case conform to the Saudi calendar, as suggested in the article.

4. It is admitted in article itself that the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha in other countries was never linked with its celebration in Saudi Arabia throughout the 14 centuries of our past. But, according to the author of the article, it was due to the lac of communication between the countries, because in the absence of telecommunication, the people living outside Saudi Arabia could hardly know the exact date on which the Hajj was being performed in Saudi Arabia. The author of the article argues that this phenomena has totally changed with the progress of telecommunication and other scientific resources, and it is now known to everybody on what date the Hajj is being performed in Arafat, therefore, the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha can easily be tied up with its celebration in Saudi Arabia.

But this argument itself is a clear admission on the part of the author to the effect that it is not obligatory according to the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha according to the Saudi Calendar. Had it been so, the Muslims would have tried their best to know the exact date of Hajj in Saudi Arabia. It is not correct to say that it was not possible in those days for the people living outside Saudi Arabia to know the exact date of Hajj, because the date of Hajj is normally determined on the very first night of Zulhijjah, and the Hajj is performed after a period of nine days was more than sufficient to acquire the correct information about the exact date of Hajj. But no single jurist has ever stressed upon collecting such information in order to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha according to the dates of Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, if this argument of the author is accepted, and it is held that the real intention of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah was to link the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha with the Saudi dates, as a mandatory provision for all the Muslims of the world, it will mean that the Shari’ah has stressed on a principle which was not at all practicable for more than 1300 years. Is it not against the Qur’anic declaration that Allah does not make a thing mandatory unless it is practicable for the human beings?

If the author means to say that the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha was not linked with the dates of Makkah in our past, but it has now become a mandatory requirement of Shari’ah, then the question arises who has abrogated the previous principle and on what basis? There is no provision in the Holy Qur’an or in the Sunnah which orders the Muslims to celebrate Eid- ul-Adha according to their local dates up to a particular time and to link it with the dates of Makkah thereafter. Whoever considers this and similar other questions arising out of this unprecedented theory advanced by the author of the article can easily appreciate it fallacy.

At the end, I would like to inform you that the question of sighting of the moon in each lunar month including Zulhijjah was thoroughly discussed in the annual session of the Islamic Fiqh Academy (held in jordan between 11th and 16th October 1986) consisting of more than 100 outstanding scholars of Shari’ah and the resolution adopted by the Academy has recommended all the Muslim countries to determine all the lunar months including Zilhijjah on one basis (and not to have one basis for Eid-ul-Fitr and another for Eid-ul-Adha). This resolution represents the consensus of the Muslim jurists throughout the world. But the proposal given by the author off the article is totally against this consensus.

Before parting with the subject, I would like to emphasize that such unprecedented proposals can never advance the cause of Muslim unity, rather, they may create a new point of disunity and dissension among the Muslims. Before issuing such opinions as a definite ‘fatwa’ they should be discussed at some reliable international forum of contemporary Muslim jurists like International Islamic Fiqh Academy of Jeddah. I would propose to refer this matter to the Academy and to wait for its answer before implementing this proposal.

One Reply to “Celebrating Eid-Ul-Adhaa According To The Hajj Dates In Saudi Arabia”

  1. What do you feel about the use of scientific calculation of prayer times then? In previous times they watched the sun as a method of determining salah, now we go by time. Is the scientific calculation of the new moon not similar?

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