Every Ramadan, Muslim minorities all over the world start the month of Ramadan and end it with a sour taste, the taste of differing over when to start and when to finish. You may find in the same local town or city, a mosque that may fast with an Arab country, another one that may fast with a national organization, a third one that may commission its own moon sighting committee and perhaps a fourth one that had already calculated the beginning and the end of the month and had already determined when to fast and when to celebrate the ‘Eid.
Between the four mosques, the same local community is literally divided on the beginning of the month and when to celebrate the ‘Eid. Sometimes in the same household, we may find every member of the family joining a different mosque. Many of the Muslim community members in the West are truly puzzled with this situation. Some say, “Why don’t this mosque?” while the others say, “Why don’t we join the other mosque?” Some others ask a life-long question, “Isn’t Ramadan a season for unity? Isn’t the Crescent a symbol of our unity?” The reality is its is neither Ramadan nor is it the crescent. The problem is us.
Muslims definitely can unite when it comes to Ramadan by doing one of two things: either they force their local mosque leadership to agree before Ramadan with other local mosques on one of the four valid methods for decision-making. If they fail to do that, then the other option is to get a leadership that would do it.
Ramadan, therefore, comes only as a mirror that reflects if we were united before Ramadan. It shouldn’t be misconstrued for a unity maker or breaker because it is not. And a mirror it is, what you see is what you get.
By Shaker Sayyed