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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!


  • Arshad Haq

    With due deference and respect I venture to state that I am puzzled by ICNA’s position that the Muslims residing in U.S.A. “celebrate the beginning of the month of Ramadan and Eid holidays with their local masajid, communities and Islamic centers”. If these decisions, as important as they are, are left to be decided at micro level then are we not missing the “Unity” factor here. I have two masajids close to my home and I visit each one alternately. One has decided to start Ramadan on Wednesday (August 11, 2010) while the other chose to start on Thursday (August 12, 2010). Please don’t allow such situation to emerge and compel Muslims where they must decide ‘on the toss of a coin’ at each home in the community.

    In my humble opinion the decision regarding the sighting of moon should be determined at “country-wide” level to demonstrate and promote the “Unity” factor. As a respected representative body ICNA has to take this responsibility and help guide the Muslims of USA.

    With due respects,


  • faiza shah

    sir,in above moon sighting passage you allowed mulims in usa that they follow the communities,now these communities folow saudi,bangla desh or other countries moon sighting.which is a days communication in of usa is easy,collect moon sighting reports from diff.cities and and report on web that there was or was not moon sight and that will be helpfull otherwise dont call yourself islamic center of n ammerica.

  • Shafiq

    I understand that:

    “the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has decided from 2009 onwards, to guide its members and the general Muslim community to celebrate the beginning of the month of Ramadan and Eid holidays with their local masajid, communities and Islamic centers.”

    My question is, what method you follow for deciding on other Islamic months?

  • Muhammad

    Why shy away from an important topic. Ask Saudi Arabia on what basis they have announced the beginning of Ramadan 2010.

    Leaving up to the local Islamic centers will not lead to unification of Muslims. How will you achieve taqwa when a brother living in east part of city celebrating EID on a different day than to his very own brother living in the south part of the city.

    This is mere shame and no matter how ICNA tries to justify by propagating that they are striving for the unity of Muslims the truth is they did not want to be targeted by ISNA or SAUDI ARABIA.

  • Mohammed Murad

    Ramadan Mubarak: As I read your statement about the moon sighting the most important message you are driving to is “Unity” and unfortunately we are missing that with the stated position. If we want true dawah we must show one single focus front. If we want 1-12 schools to recognizes Muslim holidays we must have our holidays on their calenders and this will not be possible if we leave it to the local communities to decide when to call for Ramadan and Eid. I believe the Muslims here want to be contributing and recognizable community. We cannot achieve this if we have ICNA level organization to shy away from driving the message to the local masajids to unite all of us in celebrating these major holidays to show the strength of our communities.


  • sk

    there is a website which collects moon sighting info from different cities.
    i think everyone should join to promote the unity factor.

  • Waseem

    I do not want to create mischief but let me be clear ICNA you people are trying to be diplomatic at one end not to dishearten your ISNA connection and the other end trying to say Oh we are adherent to the sunnat.
    Yesterday your sight did not carry this report because reasons well known to you
    Allah Knows best remember, we all have to stand before him “La Ilaha Illalla Mahummadar Rasool ullah”
    We did not recite the Kalima of culture or so called technological advancement or binding-group or organization we recited Kalima brought to us by our Nabi (SAW) and this means the winds will blow in any direction(technology, calculation, so called intellect, egotists) but our adherence to Orders of Allah and Sunnats of Nabi(SAW) will not change.
    What our intellect,intelligence and those 2 to 3 books we read in our life(written by mortals) are a lie but what Allah and his Nabi(SAW) say is the ultimate truth.We need to stop deceiving ourselves before its too late.
    Allah guide us all on the right path free of our intellect, intelligence and other deceptions we have fallen into AMEEN YA ARHAMAR-RAHIMEEN
    Forgive me if I was disrespectful to anyone knowingly or unknowingly.
    Jazakalla Khair

  • Khalid

    I agree with ICNA’s decision to accommodate difference of opinion, especially when those opinions are backed with firm evidences from the Quran and sahi hadith, which in this case I believe both sides have.
    In brother Arshad’s case, I believe he should be able to follow either of the two masjids and which ever he is comfortable with.Our reward is based on our intentions, weather to strengthen a community or to weaken it. May Allah accept our good intentions and forgive for our misdeeds. Ameen

  • Ahmad

    Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah:

    I started fasting for Ramadaan 2010 on Wednesday August 11th, and follow the global sighting opinion.

    I would like to say that based on evidences, the local sighting method is also permissible.

    However, if our ultimate goal is unity then the global method would be better to follow since:

    a) Everyone would have one view point based on credible moon sightings throughout the world and would begin and end Ramadaan in Unity.

    b) If you follow the local sighting method, then this will not bring about unity for the people, for reasons similar to ICNA’s position currently.

    First of all, the local method is not limited or defined to be “in the same country” as some have said and are saying in these days. It is perfectly fine based on the evidences to be in different cities and have different start dates for Ramadaan. However, I repeat, if the ultimate goal is unity why not go based on the “OTHER” permissible opinion of Global Sighting as it would promote MORE UNITY. Unfortunately I find that the majority of the people year after year who start Ramadaan on different dates are of the south Asian decent, and even more so, have realized that this is more about them being against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia then anything else. We do not have to go with them year after year, but the fact that they are one of the only countries who makes public announcements that their information is very easily accessible to the majority of Muslims, makes those Muslims go based on their opinions. However, year after year, when they announce their start date for Ramadaan it is also backed by other countries sighting the moon as well, such as this year with Indonesia, Malaysia, most of South East Asia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and even some African countries.

    I’m not sure how much my words would be considered, but I pray Allah opens your hearts, ears, and minds to the legitimate concerns and advise of the fellow Muslims and you make your decisions based upon what has been legislated by your Creator and His Prophet (peace be upon him.). Ameen!

    With all this said, I also pray we all benefit from the success of Ramadaan and attain Taqwa and Tawfeeq from the blessings of this beautiful Month. Ameen!!!

  • Waseem

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
    The attitude of some of our self proclaimed muslim organizations is confusing and deviates from the path shown to all of us by none other then Rasoolullah (SAW) and this deviation is the main cause of division in opinion.

    It does make a sad reading to hear in one community 2 masjids starting on different days. In short this is a result of little knowledge laced with ego (I am educated, I have knowledge of deen, I am a Phd, …).
    Result, causes confusion and division in Islam and people tend to say we are worried about disunity.
    Who is supporting disunity the very people who say we are not hear to create disunity. I only go on to ask these people. Why be two-faced if something is proven from Quraan and Hadith then come forward and let us all follow it. It is so simple See the moon start fasting and see the moon stop fasting. No where has it been said go on astronomical calculations simple rubbish. The temporary relevance of Phd and Masters has corrupted us to think of deviations and is driving wedges in the ummat.
    Any organization which does not sign up to the path shown to us by Nabi(SAW) is not to be trusted.
    Nobody wants disunity and it comes from deviation from that path.
    What needs to be explained?
    If the attitude is I want to be good with group A and also Group B, unmindful of the truth, it means politics and fear of loosing support in case I incline towards one group and not the other.
    ICNA should spell out what Unity are they talking out by being coy to falsity of one group.
    Anyway these are my observations and please do give it a thought do not be scared of reduction in contributions to your organization.

  • Azeem

    ICNA does not have the expertise/ability to lead the local moon sighting process and outsourcing it is also problematic. So it’s better to stay out of it, if we don’t have the proper infrastructure/talent to do the job properly then it would be a disservice to the community to continue doing it. The main purpose of ICNA is to be a dawah organization, not a fiqh council or fatwa clearing house.

    What ICNA should do is compile the start/end dates announced by major Islamic Centers across the country and list their method of determination (local sighting, global sighting, calculation.

  • Abid Husain

    I agree with Azeem that ICNA should compile the start/end dates announced by major Islamic Centers across the country and list their method of determination (local sighting, global sighting, calculation.

  • Salaam,

    There is no central authority ruling all centers and Masajids, hence each center decides on its own; local, global, Saudi, Pakistani, calculations, etc.

    How about if we make an effort for all to follow Fiqh council, FCNA? Will it work?

    – Ali

  • Dr. Riyaz Saboor


    ICNA is right in it’s decision to try to promote unity at the local level which if achieved, insha’Allah can pave way for unity at the global level. Muslim groups have been for a long time at loggerheads with each other to try to assert their superiority and force their opinion on others. This over time is becoming a matter of ego and only creating further strife and division.

    The only way out is that representatives from all groups gather together in an exercise of debate or academic discourse, adopt a particular method and then follow that universally. It should be then possible to of course challenge this opinion but not at the cost of creating a divide in practice among the Muslims.

    What ever is decided from this exercise should be made binding on everyone irrespective of the fact that some other groups may not agree upon it. And this can happen if it is shown in practice at the local level to be taken across borders for larger groups of people.

    Hope this should make some sense.

    Jazak’Allah Khair

  • AbdulRehman

    ICNA always been on the other side,(we are right they are wrong) why?
    They are doing a fantastic work in Dawah.
    I am a strong believer of unity.The local Islamic Center use to announce the start of Ramadan and end of Ramadan with the announcement from Saudi Arabia or Egypt, since I was one the founding member of the center which was established about 35 years ago. Because of ICNA not coming on board on unity.
    ICNA’s approach is local sighting,
    1: I agree but define what is local, North America is a very vast country.
    2: We dot follow that rule for all 12 Lunar month, why not? I can give you an example; I called ICNA’s Jamaica queens office to check when they will be Starting Ramadan because our center announced that we are starting Ramadan tomorrow, the gentle who answered the telephone said we are not make an effort to see the moon because by our calendar it is 28 Sha’bsan. Call us tomorrow after 12 midnight then we may have an answer, at that point I asked the gentleman how many actual moon sighting you do to ascertain the Calender to actual date of moon sighted for previous months. The answer was we only make an effort of moon sighting for 3 months “RAMDAN, Shawal, and Zu’lhijjah only”.
    There was another incident about 2 years ago an Imam of Masjid in Texas sighted the moon with 2 other witnesses, it was nullified with a statement that those witnesses and Imam
    were not reliable. Three Muslims sighted the moon and decision was made that they were reliable sources, why doubt an other Imam and those two Muslims. Our center from last two years has adopted the ISNA’s decision, and two local Masjids differed with them and announced that We will start Ramadan on August 12th. These 3 Muslim Center started the Ramadan on two different dates, these centers are not that far apart. Very close families live within these boundaries and they are confuse what to do and what to tell their kids and what to tell their bosses at work. This is not unifying the communities this is splitting rather tearing them apart.

  • Anwar

    I will put this as simply as possible. Allah (swt) created only one moon that goes around the earth at a specified orbit. The moon is not, as far as I know from my basic understanding of high school Physics, is capable of playing hide and seek and suddenly shift orbit (which only tends to happen with Muslim countries only). We have great Muslim Doctors of physics and astronomy, who have and can predict with extreme accuracy with or without the aid of modern computers exactly where and when new moon will occur and exactly where it will be visible from. So lets stop acting and behaving like people who are incapable of figuring out basic astronomy calculation. We need to unite and have one EID, at least in the USA.

  • Muhammad

    Assalamualikum wrwb,

    Very well said Br AbdulRehman.

  • KHAN

    Calculations/Ittehadul Matalle(Crescent in one country for worldwide)have never been accepted by Imams, Qualified International Scholars).Till they make decision otherwise we must have to follow Quran /Suhhah(Hadiths:

    Quran 33:36. “It is not fit for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and Messenger has indeed strayed in a plain manner.” (33:36)

    Quran 4:80 ‘He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), has indeed obeyed Allah’

    Hadith: “He who does not follow my tradition (in religion), is not from me (not one of my followers).” Al-Bukhari and Muslim

    Qur’an 59:7 ….and whatsoever the Messenger (pbuh) gives you, take it….”

    If you obey your locals ignore the above
    Quran 6:116 “And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s path”

    Quran (5:2): O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allâh, nor of the Sacred Month…seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Severe in punishment.

    Quran (6:159). “Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects (all kinds of religious sects), you (Prophet) have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allah …”
    Quran (26:83): “O my Sustainer! Endow me with the ability to judge [between right and wrong], and make me one with the righteous”.

    May Allah give us Taufeeq and Wisdom to follow / Taqleed of Allah’s Quran and Sunnah of our Prophet (sas) blindly without any changes? AAMEEN.

  • KHAN

    Br.Abdel Rehman, AA
    1) Every Muslim must be a believer and work for Unity as One Ummah based on Taqleed of Quran and Sunnah/Hadiths but not innovations.
    Quran (23:52) “….And, verily, this community of yours is one single community, since I am the Sustainer of you all: remain, then, conscious of Me……

    2) UNITY:Please do not confuse with emotions of unity. Unity is not defined anywhere in Islam such as doing Islamic rituals/Eids together based on some person’ view/opinion lacking enough evidence from Islam. Some one calls you at one platform but wants you to leave Quran & SUNNAH, Is this unity??

    3)Calculations and Ittehadul Matalee have never been approved by Prophet, Caliphs, Early Muslim generations
    (Salafs) or any qualified Int’l Scholars. Fatwa/opinion can be taken from a single scholar for our personal issues, But consensus of Scholars required for a community/Ummah issue. Quran 6:116 “And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s path”
    Quran (9:37): about deliberate attempts to alter the months.
    Quran (3:159) “… O Prophet… And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern of moment”.
    Quran (42:38) “…who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation….”
    Quran (33:36) “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error”

    3)Yes we do not follow crescent for all lunar months except the blessed months-Muharram, Ramadan, Shawwal and Dhul Hijjah, because it is Islamic tradition since our Prophet.
    Quran (9:36) ……This is the perfect religion; you shall not wrong your souls during the Sacred Months….

    I like to stop here with
    Quran (32:9) “… And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding)”
    and beautiful Dua from
    Quran (26:83): “O my Sustainer! Endow me with the ability to judge [between right and wrong], and make me one with the righteous”.

    May the Almighty guide us (All Muslims) on the basis of Quran, Hadith and Sunnah?

  • Imam

    ICNA: Please do not say about first days of the luner months. Just say” Our function is not moon sighting and calculation. For the sake of UNITY of Muslim Ummah,we refrain from any comment.”

  • Faheem Bhatti

    Actually in contrary to many comments, I agree with ICNA totally to leave it to their local communities. Its very easy to say ICNA should take the responsibility and unity and other things but in reality its not that simple.
    Let me try to explain what I am trying to say:
    1. Even if ICNA takes this responsibility (what they did in past)not all of us will be happy then some other people will come and comment that ICNA should not be involved in these kind of things and it actually breaks harmony within local communities. So its not easy to make every one happy.
    2. If ICNA decides Local moon sighting then people who follow global will not like it and vise versa. More over Local and global has many definitions, so which local if local moon sighting option is choosed (Local means Northa America, USA only, Solar Time zones, Lunar time zones etc etc)
    3. Unity? Its a good thing, isn’t it? But there are many dimensions to it. Even If we all pray EID on same day (hypothetically) we still cant call it a unity because as soon as we are done with EID, every masjid becomes an independent state again. Most of the masaajid unfortunately have no connection to each other. Every masjid has its own rules and regulation and no one is ready to compromise on it. So unity of one day and disunity of 364 days can not be called UNITY. This is just a satisfaction to our heart for a few moments and nothing else.
    4. If ICNA announce any method for moon sighitng then just think what happens in our local communities. I have seen brothers disputing and one going to one masjid and other going to other masjid the next day. They are going to do the same even if ICNA announce any one method. Guess who gets the blame? Its ICNA. Only one group may coincide with ICNA but all the rest will be saying things against ICNA’s method. This way ICNA looses respect and are in lost in general regarding other good projects.

    I hope I was able to explain a little bit what I felt. I apologize if it has caused any inconvenience to any one.
    Secondly these are mere my thoughts, just ignore it if you think I am wrong on this one. But do pray for me as I need it all the time.
    Jazak Allah O Kahiran for your time anyway.

  • Mohammad M Ansari

    I think now days ICNA objective is to provide group discounts of Six Flag and other Amusement Park only.

    My suggestion to them is to stop copying ISNA and merge with them for the sake of so called “UNITY”. Please stop further confusion among Muslim by changing their organization name to ” Islamic Entertainment of America”

  • Faraz

    A.A Brothers and Sisters. I agree with most of the comments, if people themselves have to decide whether or not islamic laws and occaisions to be occured, then whats the need of those so called non profit organizations. I logged in to see what ICNA has to say about moon sighting but in future I am not going to this website. SIX FLAGS make more money ICNA…next time people will make their own fatwas which they would like according to their will

  • Mohammed

    As Salaamu Alykum

    I would like to ask the brothers and sisters one question. That isnon what basis do you pray zuhur, asr, maghrib, Isha, and fajr. Do you follow the litteral version of the sunnah or do you follow the goal that the sunnah is trying to achieve. Because if you follow it litterly then for every prayer you would have to look at the sky and see what possition the sun is in. However no one does that. Not even those brothers and sisters who think using scientific advancement for Islam is haram. Well in the case of the moon sighting for the month of Ramadan if we look at it in a literal sence, what the hadith is telling us to do is to decide when the month of Ramada starts and ends. The second part is telling us to decide that by sighting the moon. So the goal of the Hadith is to start and end the month of Ramadan by citing the moon or crescent if want to get technical. Well since we do not complain to use scientific calculation to determin when we should pray, know the times given are a fact mabe difer by 1 or 2 minutes. Then why shouldn’t we use scientific calculations to do eid. The calculation is more accurate then what people see with their own eyes. Now some might say well the prophet pbu said that well Two people have to see it. Well I think we have enough muslim scientist that can make the decission as to when the moon is going to apear or not apear. If we can calculate the movement of the sun to know for a fact when and where what state it’s going to be for a fact, science has advanced to the point that it can be done for every planet including the moon. I urge everyone to stop arguing over madhabs and fique that was and is suitable for certain people of certain places and time. Let us not just look at thr Hadith in a literal sence only but look at is scienses and , what is thr goal of thr sunnah and what is it trying to achieve. Surly if thr prophet pbuh wa alive today he would of not asked for two people to see it, he would have taking thr easier step. He also would not have asked people to look at the sun to know when it was time for prayer. Oh and lastly the thr prophet pbuh has asked for two people to see the moon emphasizing accuracy. He could have only asked for one person to see it. Therefore science is more accurate in this case. We must remember that everything in this world is given to us by Allah for it to be utilized by us in a halal matter so that it can bennefit us . Technology and sciene wether advanced by Muslims or non Muslims should be used for Islam. Hope I tried to share some light in rgards to this matter. May Allah accept all our efforts. I believe all thr organizations should take this stance. Becaus if they do then all the masajids will follow along. We will then be united.
    As Salaamu Alykum

  • Mohammed

    Sorry Lots of typos. The site is not letting me corrent them.

  • MFK

    Debate over the determination of the birth of the new crescent. Please read the following article:

    Reading, Sighting, and Calculating
    Author: Dr. Louay Safi

  • ICNA as the name implies should take charge in declaring the schedule for Ramadan and Eid and other Muslim Holidays.

    1. The Vision: a growing and unified muslim community may earn a national Holiday in the USA and Canada, but not if each and everyone is left to come up with his own agenda.

    2. The Leadership: ICNA further establishes its leadership position within the north american muslim society. There maybe times when various localities who lack the resources of ICNA would need guidance, at least they would be familiar and comfortable to refer to ICNA to for leadership.


  • Lalajee

    ICNA should have remained shut instead of what they have said. This will only cause disunity to this great and holy celebration. Please follow the instructions of ISNA. My best wishes to my Muslim brothers and sisters.

  • Sohail Gagan

    Please guide us in a way that all umma is united.

    With what you have done is wash hand from your responsibility. We were already divided and now even more.

    I think we all should follow ISNA which has more educated members and unites us all.

    Stop this madness of divide and rule

  • Muhammad Islam

    We expect ICNA to uphold the ideals of Islam and establish a national Hilal sighting committee for the benefit of its members.

    ICNA, we expect more from you. Stop wasting money on progressive interfaith ideas. Hold on tight to the Quran & Sunnah!