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ICNA’s Position on Moon Sighting

08 8 09




JAMAICA, New York (Aug 8, 2009) – Instead of making any moon sighting decisions, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has decided to guide its members and the general Muslim community to celebrate the beginning of the month of Ramadan and the Eid holidays with their local masajid, communities and Islamic centers. 

ICNA would like to see more harmony and unity among the Muslim community at a local level. We hope that American Muslims will observe the month of Ramadan & the Eid holidays with full piety and dignity—making dawah to our neighbors, co-workers and friends as we embrace this joyous season.

We pray that Allah (SWT) showers you and your families with blessings. Please keep us in your prayers and accept our warmest congratulations on this blessed occasion!


  • shahzad

    To show unity is the most important spirit in all our prayers which unfortunately has been a problem amongst muslims in north america .As ICNA decieded to be more flexible in this matter but we still want to know what is right in the light of Muhammad’s ( PBUH) teachings

  • Mushahid

    Salam Brs and Srs,
    Ramadan Mubarak.
    The first thing we have to figure it out, in my opinion, is, or let me put it this way, the biggest question is ” Should we relate Unity to Moon sighting or to celebrate EID one day?” If v look back v dont c any examples at the time of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) or ammong sahabas, that they were worried about unity and moon sighting because history tells us they conquer more then half of the world sighting moon locally and starting ramadan and praying eid prayers according to their local moon sighting.That’s what I think but I also think that things can be done differently here in USA, without crossing the lines but for that we have to work very hard and in my opinion the first best thing to do is start showing up in our masajids for 5 times prayers like we go for Jummah and start getting to know each other better.
    Masslam and Fi Amaanillah

  • Saffiyeh

    yes i understand the convenience of celebrating our holidays on a local level. However it is Sunnah to determine fasting from sighting the moon, or make a 30th day of shabaan if the moon is not visible. This is our Islamic custom, and part of our Muslim identity. We should fast if we see our ‘Local sighting” in my opinion

  • doost4you

    why we spend Ramadan in fasting? for the sake of ALLAH, so now why we are arguging all the time for moon, why we dont forget our differences and get together and decide when start Ramadan Karem all together and spend eid on same day, why we can’t forget our differnce and unite and show the true face of Islam to non muslims and tell them how organized and well behaved we are, instead of doing any good deeds we start our holy months with problems, come on guys and our all ULAMA’s get united and give us a peace.

  • Nabeel

    This is a very good descision. Instead of confusing people it is a very good suggestion to guide them to follow their local mosques.

  • Mohammed

    NASA has been to the moon but we muslims are fighting for the moon. Please act like true muslims.

  • doost4you

    same thing in local masques, they called each other u are wahabi, ur hanfi ur this and u r that, why we can’t be muslim why we fight for moon, just follow MAKKAH if they called ramadan so its ramadan go with thier decission and if the do wrong, they are going to be judge on the day of judgement but atleast we all will be on same page on every occassion, and world will know that this day is the starting of Ramadan and this is the day of eid…………….and easy to represent ISLAM to non muslims

  • Shakil Ahmed


    Everyone refers to celebrating Eid according to their local areas… This works for Islamic countries, but in the west where the muslim community is from the whole world this does not work.

    What is local? In populated areas, there are mashallah lots of mosques.. A mosque in one block starts Ramazan today, the mosque 10 blocks away is still thinking, and awaiting guidance from their ‘mothership’ mosque….

    What we really need is ‘local committees’ with members from all nationalities that reside in the area… and then decide on Ramadaan/Eid for the whole state/county/city regardless of national origins of the managements of the mosques…. so that all mosques within a county celebrate Eid on the same day.

  • Majid

    I am really disappointed by the ICNA’s decision on moon sighting. With due respect, can I ask why is it always so difficult to follow sunnah and Quran? One of my brother here said that we should follow saudia? My question is why? Are we following them for salat too, or anybody heard or read a hadith which instruct us to do so?
    I don’t understand why the simplest method of sighting the moon with the naked eye cannot be followed which is by the way told in hadith. We used to Follow ICNA for moonsighting as they were following the correct method. Why the people following the sunnah are blamed for creating disunity and not those who are actually doing innovations in deen.Please follow this link and you’d understand my point if I am not clear here.

  • Muslim

    I totally disagree with the ICNA decision. Instead of making it easy, now we will have more difficulties and disputes. May Allah guide us to follow Quran and Sunnah of our beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH)

  • khan

    Salam to all
    May Allah guide us to the right path & unite us following Quran & Sunnah not the innovations(Calculations or Mecca based)unless this is approved by Jamhoor E Ulemma as Ijmaa(Joint decision of Islamic orgs not just one.

    There are evidences & facts that our beloved Prophet(in Mecca/Madina), His caliphs after His death & in Islamic History: All Islamic/Lunar months, Events(Fastings: Ashura, Arafa,13-15th Shaabaan)& EIDS:Fitr & Adha)were observed according to LOCAL Moonsighting ONLY or 30 days month if moon not sighted for other reasons BUT not calculations or not Mecca Based. This is confirmed by many respectable Islamic websites,Fatwaas, Ulemmas and Islamic organisations.

  • Asrar Ahmad Niaz

    Assalamo Alaikum.If we leave decisions to local masajid we will have scores of differences as our so called imams are in a way making them to be prominent by calling others kafirs as they pray in other masjid.This is an incident which happened in Calgary AB which I heard.ICNA should try to educate people for appointing as imams so that they are not like frogs of a well.Wassalam & Allah hafiz.

  • Muzammil Ahmed

    Assalaamu Alaikum,

    As muslims, we do need to understand what is required from us. We are nothing but slaves to commands of ALLAH (SWT) and He commands us to follow His book and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

    Local Moonsighting:
    1. Who decides the boundary of local area? A municipal city, a district, a state or a country?
    2. What about USA which constitutes four time zones (5th for Alaska too)? When one sights moon in California, its almost midnight in New York? Should New Yorker wait for California to announce?
    3. If boundaries are not defined by Islam, who should?

    Global Moonsighting:
    1. Why today’s Muslims think unity is important while the history tells us during the era of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) or Sahaba Karaam; Madina and Makkah used to have two Islamic calendars?
    2. If Muslims in North America follow Saudia in the name of Global Moonsighting; why Saudia doesn’t follow others for Global Moonsighting? This year, Libya start fasting on Aug 21. Why Saudia didn’t follow or Muslims (who believe in Global Moonsighting) didn’t follow?
    3. There can’t be a single Eid in the whole world. Its just geography of the world. While people in CA sight moon, sub-continent had already done its sahar! (think about it).

    One thing I strictly oppose is astronomical calculations. To sight a moon is Sunnah and we should not forget this Sunnah.


  • Mahmood Aijazi

    Insha Allah it will be a good decision in the long run.

  • Azim Fahmi

    Several years ago, ISNA and ICNA agreed to have FIQH council of North America decide the announcement of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.

    However, during that time, some of the local mosques continued to follow the local moon sighting methodology, as such continued to do it on different date.

    It is predominant in the context of the sub-continent and my personal experience dealing with some of the over zealous muslim brothers, to have this “I am a superior muslim than others” arrogance. Unless, we focus on the unity, we will continue to have this issue. To me it is extremely political and based on individual egos. In Islam, Allah is the greatest baptizer, we choose who will lead the prayer and I refuse to stand behind a person, who insight hatred, who thinks he is a superior muslim than anyone else, etc. The whole ICNA and ISNA charade is pathetic to say the least.

  • khan


    As I mentioned earlier there is evidence that pbuh,His Caliphs & Islamic countries celebrated according to Sunnah-local moon-sighting ONLY(not calculations,not mecca hilaal).

    I urge that all international Ulemma, scholars,Muftis must hold an a conference in Mecca/Madina as these are center-point for us. They must pass an international fatwa/ruling ‘Ijma’ that must be followed by all over the world as one Umma. They must discuss 3 options mostly followed by muslims: Local Hilaal moon-sighting(sunnah), or Calculation assist, or Mecca Hilaal as Kaaba-mecca is center-point in all regards(Islamic & Geographical).

    Remember that Allah and pbuh, made the rules for all muslims over the world from center point(Mecca-Madinah) not local muslims like ICNA,ISNA, FCNA,hilaal committees(Cheap Competition). WallahuAlam.

  • mirza aftab

    I am totally agree with ICNA position on moon sighting, they are trying to solve the problem not making problems. Jazak Allah

  • Azim Fahmi

    Rasool-e-Pak (SAW)(PBUH)in his last sermon stated that
    “….Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things. ….“

    He also stated that donot bring compulsion to your religion. However, the more I study the religion by myself, the more I realize the interpretation of some of our local leaders to be convoluted and is based strictly on personal ego or bigotry against say Arab or a woman leader (case in point ISNA). In their effort to prove that they are the most learned and righteous (more self-righteous than anything else) they will follow everyone except the simple norm as to what the Prophet would have done given the situation. Our leaders will use technology for almost everything from using microphone, to internet to spread the message, but will not use technology for the purpose of determining the moon. I rest my case about the “self-righteous”, “I am a better muslim than anyone else” mentality.

  • Muzammil Ahmed

    Assalaamu Alaikum,

    Brothers please read this and try to understand and answer. I asked this earlier and no one came up with an answer or reply!

    For those who believe Muslims should follow Saudia; Saudi clock lags to Beijing clock by 5 hrs. So you say, a Muslim in Beijing should wait until 1AM for Saudia to announce?

    For those who believe Muslims should follow local moon-sighting; who defines a local area?

    These are very valid questions and no one here seems to have an answer. Then why discuss? We don’t know a bit of Islamic knowledge and we’re saying I don’t want to pray behind a Muslim who is a hatred! C’mon, atleast that person got more knowledge and yes, he’s superior. Don’t you agree that ‘Taqwaa’ has it ‘darajaat’! And these ‘darajaat’ determine where you stand in the eyes of ALLAH (SWT). Please try to make this discussion valuable by putting down material, not your own opinions driven from your childhood stories!!! And using teachnology; yes there’s no harm. But why eating with hands is called a Sunnah! Do I need to say the rest!!!

    In the last, I would say, at-least those who try to sight moon locally are following Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PHUH). Don’t you guys agree?


  • Azim Fahmi

    I think the whole ICNA, ISNA etc. are all political not based on someone being superior. It is based on individual ego. It started after the death of the Prophet (PBUH) and still continues..

    As a muslim I have the option to chose who I want to pray behind. By refusing to pray behind a person (this is in Connecticut) I am not inticing hatred, all I am saying is people like him is dividing the society and I donot want to pray behind him. I chose a jamat that is not just “Pakistani” or “arab” but of muslims of north America praying to Allah. So, you stay with your “superior” branding and let me try to submit myself to the Almighty.

  • syed elahi

    I am very much disappointed at ICNA’s decision about moonsighting. There should be a forum who will explain the truth and will help people to make right decision.

  • Muhammad

    Ass Alaikum,
    I think the whole problem is ISNA and ICNA who want to dominate the rest of Muslims in North America. First they brought the idea of moonsighting by calculation which is not based on the Koran and Sunnah. They say they want to unite the muslims and as a result muslims become more divided.
    Since the time Abdullahi Ibnu Abbas in Madina decided not to follow Mu’awa in Damascus to finish Ramadan, muslims have been fasting Ramadan according to their local moon sighting and they lived with it. Now, what is complicating this issue is a few astronomists with ISNA and ICNA who want to decide for us when we are fasting for the Almighty. The Prophet, may peace and blessing be upon him, gave us clear instructions when it comes to fasting: Fast if you see the new cresent, if not complete the month. Where is the argument? where is the Ijtihad? There mare more that 25 authentic hadiths of the Prophet may peace and blessing be upon him. But unfortunately, ISNA and ICNA do not get it. They just don’t get it. Inorder to unite the muslim stay with The Koran and Sunnah. Period.

  • Azim Fahmi

    Again, let me repeat what I said in the past. About 2 years ago, ICNA and ISNA both left it on FIQH council.

    2 years ago it was not good enough for one (among few) Imam that we know. That was the last time I prayed behind him. Because he was totally against the FIQH council’s decision. Now, who started the division then? Tell me?

    Secondly, the day ISNA had a woman president, ICNA started opposing it.

    We have been on the receiving end of this type of innuendos on many occassions. This “self-righteousness” is what is ruing the fabric of unity.

    You keep focusing on “your are right and rest of the world is wrong” and I will try to stay away from people like you! This “self-righteous” leaders can’t even keep their own children in the path of Islam!

  • Azim Fahmi

    And someone mentioned in prior post that in the event moon is not sighted then make Shaban 30 days. With this particual “self-proclaimed (in my honest opinion)” Imam he had gone to the extent where because he did not listen to anyone else, Shaban may have been 31 days because of his stubborness.

    Now, according to him, at least, he came across that way to me, he knows everything and rest of the muslim world know nothing. So, do we want leaders like this? Unfortunately, there will continue to be “extremist” that our beloved prophet (PBUH) had warned against in his last sermon. Unfortunately, in our local mosques they are the one with the microphones.

  • Mohamme Kabir

    If Rasulullah(SAWS)was present today’s date, what would be his standing about sighting the moon. He always suggested the best possible way at that time. Which way has more confusion? Sighting or Calculating? Allah has asked us to use Sun and Moon to determine our time, so why we can not use time to detrmine their position? Do we have to see the sun’s position before prayer or we just look at the clock and we know for sure where the sun is! Allah did not mean hardship on us by giving the religion, It is us who is making it harder for ourself.

  • khan

    The ICNA, ISNA etc. are all political & Cultural organizations not based or not affiliated with the recognized religious orgs. around the world(eg. in Saudi/Asia).
    FCNA is similar too with no affiliation.

    How can these orgs make fatwas/ruling about the Islamic events without Ijma or approval of major recognized Muslim orgs of the world.????

  • Azim Fahmi

    @Mohammed Kabir.. I agree with his reasoning

    @khan.. You mean to tell me the people within ICNA and ISNA and FIQH councils don’t know anything.. but you know everything? You are continously proving to me the danger of “Self-righteousness”. It is unfortunate that the religion of Peace, the religion of truth is held hostage by a select few in our local mosques. These self-righteousness is the most dangerous aspect of the religion. Again, you will have the last say, you know everything, you are superior!

  • Syed Warsi


    This will lead to disunity within ICNA itself. Untill now ICNA at least had an opinion (right or wrong) but now it has exposed its workers and followers to disnintegrate. In the same town and city different ICNA followers will be celebrating at different days. So where is the unity now. Another problem is that by doing so ICNA in effect is saying that they know better than what Quran and Sunnah dictates since for this kind of decision the reasoning is not Quran or Sunnah. Is the leadership of ICNA capable of understanding the effects of this decision.

  • Aqeela

    Salaam to all.

    I have read ICNA’s stance as well as all of the responses. Let us be clear that this issue of calculation vs moonsighting has been going on since the earliest times in Islam. Let us also be clear that sighting the moon is a sunnah not a fard. In fact, proponents for calculations quote several Quranic verses which do have merit. As such we should put it into perspective and not allow this issue to further cause disunity. It is my observation that many many people are willing to judge each other and argue with each other due to difference of opinion of hadith while not knowing much about the word of God (Quran) or the essence of our Deen.It is unfair to blame ICNA’s position on moonsighting. In the end we are all responsible for what we do and we should each do what we believe to be right.


  • Salman Shaikh, Ph.D.

    ISNA “Calculations” are basically moonset after sunset in Makkah. This does NOT imply Hilal visibility in USA Nor in Makkah and hence incorrect! Correct Calculations and Actual Sighting can go hand in hand with Calculations used to negate errors, using the brilliant Fatwa of Mufti Taqi Usmani, which requires “Jamme Ghafeer” or large number of positive witnesses for postive decision, not only in the case of clear skies but also the case of Astronomical impossibility.

    For details please see and beome a member of Hilal Sighting Committee of North America at website Insha’Allaah.

    May Allaah SWT guide all Ummah to Haq and Khayr. Aameen.

    Salman Shaikh, Ph.D.
    Coordinator, Hilal Sighting Committee of North America