Do we sight the moon with the naked eye or with instruments?
Can we accept sightings from other regions or across the globe?
Can we rely entirely on calculations?
These are all questions that plague the Muslim community in the lead up to the month of Ramadan each year.
Muslims Australia – AFIC, for the first time, brought together religious leaders from across the country to share their views and perspectives on this important issue.
This public forum took place at the Yagoona Community Centre, Sydney on Sunday 13 May. The intention of the Forum was not to reach an agreement on one position or another but to start a respectful public discussion on this important issue so that the general public can be better informed.
Individually the speakers all had their own views on this issue but there were three common themes that arose amongst them. These were:
- That there is disagreement on the fiqh issues (jurisprudence) that have been around for hundreds of years and people should not expect these to go away, but it should not a cause of fitnah (division) in the community.
- That the Imams and Sheikhs should concede the decision-making process to a central authority with the consensus being that the decision should be made by ANIC and the process should be facilitated by AFIC.
- Once a decision is made, regardless of our personal positions, we should accept the decision and follow it so that the community is united.
The forum did not change how people make these decisions but began an important discussion that will continue into the future.
Muslims Australia – AFIC will continue to work towards uniting the Ummah on this and other important issues that the community faces.