Alhamdolillah, we thank Allah Subhanotaala that He has given us the opportunity to observe fasting in the blessed month of Ramadan again this year. May Allah accept our efforts and shower His blessings during this great month of training and devotion.

The Ramadan eve also brings about issues as to the start of the month and the day of the Eid. Usually most of us sleep over for the last eleven months relatively with calm in the community and suddenly wake up and engage into arguments and bickering just before Ramadan starts. Ramadan is supposed to bring about better relations in the community but the reality is otherwise.

Realising my position, neither being an aalim, nor an astronomer and certainly not in any kind of administrative authority, as an Islamic activist, I would like to share some of my thoughts on the issue, provide some relevant data and views at this juncture and appeal for some reflection, understanding and community harmony.

We must do a reality check and realise that there are differences of opinion in the Ummah on the issue of determining dates for the Islamic calendar in general and the beginning of Ramadan and Eidain in particular. Rather than just thinking locally, we should think globally and act locally. We should appreciate the various views on the issue, show understanding, follow what we feel is best without condemning others. It should not be the case of my way or the highway.

We should note that all members of the Ummah are sincere in adhering to Islamic principles and differences can occur due to a number of secondary reasons. Each of the various opinions on the issue will have strengths and weaknesses and till our ulama, scientists and administrative authorities come up with a solution on the Islamic calendar, all the views should be considered Shariah-compliant for the time being.

It would be highly desirable that we observe these dates together as much as possible in order to maintain unity and social harmony on global level, regional level, national level, city level, mosque level or at least on a family or household level.

With an initiative taken on time this year by the Grand Mufti of Australia and in cooperation of the Imam’s Council, Sunday 29 June was declared as the first day of fasting and beginning of Ramadan. All communities in Australia have complied with this decision except the Turkish and Bosnian communities who follow a calculated global calendar and therefore started Ramadan on Saturday 28 June.

Ramadan and Eid dates for 2014 (1435 Hijra):

Islamic dates are subject to the visibility of the new moon and variation can take place if this sighting of the crescent is done globally, regionally or locally. The following possible scenarios can occur this year:

Global Sighting (or prediction of sighting). Ramadan (30 days) starting Saturday 28 June and ending Sunday 27 July with Eid on Monday 28 July.

Regional Sighting. Ramadan (29 days) starting Sunday 29 June and ending Sunday 27 July with Eid on Monday 28 July.

Local Sighting. Ramadan (30 days) starting Sunday 29 June and ending Monday 28 July with Eid on Tuesday 29 July.