moon sighting

Crescentwatch Policy Change

Concerning the timings of sacred observances and lunar months in general, the situation of Muslims in North America is unique owing to the composition of our community. On the one hand, there are Muslims representing almost one hundred national and ethnic groups in our community. On the other hand, there is no universally recognized central religious authority. Despite these realities, many Muslim organizations have tried to adhere to a policy of North American moon-sighting for the determination of dates.

However, at a national level, that effort has been largely unsuccessful for a number of reasons. First of all, the large number of Muslim ethnicities, with many groups of Muslims attempting to coordinate their sacred observances with Muslims in their “home” countries, creates confusion. Secondly, there are significant numbers of Muslims who advocate a policy based upon global moon-sighting, though usually limiting the timings of the sacred occasions to the timing determined by the religious authorities of Saudi Arabia. Recently, a significant number of Muslims, who do rely on moon-sighting, expanded their zone of acceptable sightings to include South America and the Caribbean. Finally, international political realities factor into the decision-making process of some Muslim organizations.

This situation has resulted in confusion, division and frustration for the average Muslim and most Islamic organizations. It has led to many Muslim communities and even individual families being divided and torn during times when they should be coming together in worship and or celebration. It has contributed to a lot of heartache and pain at a time when Muslims should be joyful. It has also led to an abandonment of the Sunnah of moon-sighting by growing numbers of Muslims and Islamic organizations.

In light of this situation, Crescentwatch has decided to change its position on moon-sighting from the minority opinion of a regional sighting to the majority opinion of a global sighting. It is hoped that this position will greatly enhance the possibility of Muslims who rely on verified moon-sightings being in harmony with the majority of the community while continuing to base the timing of their sacred occasions on the Sunnah of moon-sighting. Crescentwatch has also decided to release an annual calendar of probable lunar dates based on this global position to assist in limiting the confusion mentioned earlier.

We pray that this message has helped to clarify our changed position on an unnecessarily contentious issue, and we pray this will lead to greater harmony between the Muslims of North America on this issue. We emphasize that this is an ongoing effort and we will seek to refine our position in light of the feedback and advice we receive from members of our community.




2 thoughts on “moon sighting

  1. So confusing! Doesn’t Saudi follow a local sighting opinion? If they sighted it elsewhere first, wouldn’t they just go with their own local sighting? Makes no sense to me that we should follow Saudi (and pretend it’s global sighting) when they follow local sighting themselves! Wouldn’t they suggest to us to follow our local sighting since that’s what they believe is right? Maybe I’m getting it wrong…

    To me, global sighting is one valid opinion (but confusing opinion because who knows what time it is everywhere else in the world when it’s sighted at the first place). Who would actually do taraweeh just in case the moon is sighted in a different time zone a bit later?

    Local sighting is a valid opinion and the way it was done at the time of the prophet, and a way that would make everyone know exactly where they’re going after the committees have put out the word on whether or not it was sighted.

    And calculations is a growing in popularity one, but makes people follow the birth of the new moon instead of the actual sighting. Even if it’s impossible to be sighted somewhere, we might start fasting because the new moon happened before sunset.

    MAN, confusion! I wish I was convinced enough to follow the Saudi sighting, but I am just not and so today, to me, is 30 Shaaban! While in this same house, my husband is on 1 Ramadan!

    • I wish it got easier, but honestly, it doesn’t. It’s been the same ol, same ol for as long as I’ve observed Ramadan, and that’s been nearly 10 years!

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