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Eid ul Adha Confusion

by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D. 
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462, U.S.A.



In surah Baqarah, verse 42 of the Qur’an reads:

42. Wala talbisoo alhaqqa bialbatili wataktumoo alhaqqa waantum taAAlamoona

And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is). ( al-Baqarah 2:42 )


Lying is a sin, according to al-Qur’an .The Ulema say telling of a lie is a grave sin.

Fault or mistake means any action that takes place unintentionally and sin is with intention.  The Prophet Muhammad (SAAS), as reported by Hasan bin 'Ali, said,  “Give up what appears to be doubtful for what is certain. Truth brings peace of mind, and deception doubt.”

Al-Kadhib (Lying)

Lying, where it is not allowed (and there are only a few exceptions where it is allowed) is a heinous sin and puts one in grave danger of corruption, hypocrisy and even Kufr.  It is a "slippery slope" to all manner of corruption and a character flaw from which it is difficult to return.  Fellow Muslims, search within yourself and rid yourself of all forms of lying, deception and falsehood.  Make sure that truthfulness is victorious over falsehood in your heart at all times.  Allah does not guide one who is a liar. 

Middle East Realities (MER)

MER Flashback to December 1997:  E V E N T O F T H E     Y E A R

"The 'Arab world' remains miserably divided and confused, its institutions backward and feeble. Most Arab governments and elites have been compromised and co-opted, infiltrated and rendered impotent, many times over."   (

Eid ul Adha Problem

Every year the Saudi Authorities announce the day of Arafat one day earlier than its true day. They never sight the Hilal of Dhul Hijjah in determining the day of Arafat and Eid ul Adha.  Many Muslims living in North America have a personal opinion that we should celebrate Eid ul Adha the day after day of Arafat in Mina, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Alim Asks Muslims in N. America NOT to pray Eid on Day after Arafah.

Famous Saudi Alim and Faqih, the late Shaikh Mohammad Ibn Salih Al-Uthaimeen tells Muslims about the correct date of Eid al-Adha in N. America to be on 10th Zul-Hijjah of North America, and not the day-after Arafah in Makkah, as the ISNA and others claim.

When a question was asked, “ Should we abide by the local sighting in determining the Eid-al-Adha or should we follow the pilgrims' schedule, knowing that North America sighting of crescent may come a day before Saudi Arabia's sighting?”

The learned scholar replied, "You should abide by the city you're living in."

To another question  “Should we fast on the 9th day of Zul-Hijjah of North America and pray Eid on the 10th day Zul-Hijjah of North America?”

Again the respected scholar replied "Yes, and this is what you should do without any (Haraj) or mental anxiety."

The Saudi Government never says that other countries should follow them.

Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia are the home to more than half of all the Muslims in the world. How do they celebrate Eid ul Adha? They sight the moon of Dhul Hijjah and on the 10th day they celebrate Eid ul Adha.

ISNA ANNOUNCEMENT ON Eid ul Adha 1425 (January 2005)

"ISNA is pleased to announce that Eid ul Adha will be on Friday, January 21, 2005.  The Hajj Authority in Mecca as well as the Moon Sighting Committee in North America have both announced that Wednesday 12 January 2005 is the beginning of Zul Hijjah, and Friday 21 January 2005 will be Eid ul Adha (Eid of Sacrifice) with Muslims around the world celebrating the day of Eid in solidarity.

We pray Allah will accept and bless the Hajjis (pilgrims) as they fulfill this most beautiful religious obligation, joining together with millions of other Muslims to worship Allah, The One Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of us all.  We pray for those who have perished in the recent tsunami, and for the many people who are suffering around the world.  We encourage everyone to donate generously to the tsunami relief efforts to help the survivors rebuild their lives and their communities.  We encourage every Muslim to pray for and to make great efforts to bring peace and justice as well as relief from suffering for all of humanity.  Eid Mubarak.”  (

Saudi Announcement To Change Eid ul Adha Date

“Today, January 14, the Hajj Authority of the Saudi Government have announced a change in their earlier statement, saying that according to Ummul Qurrã calendar, the standing at Arafat will be on January 19 and Eid ul Adha on January 20. 

Moon sighting on January 10 was astronomically ruled out in Saudi Arabia.  The new moon was born at 12:03 Universal Time on January 10 and was only 3 hours old in Saudi Arabia.  It set 3 minutes before the sunset.  Therefore, sightability on January 10 was totally impossible.

ISNA stands by its earlier decision that Eid ul Adha in North America will, Insha’Allah, be on Friday, January 21, as announced earlier.”  (

ICNA's (Islamic Council of North America) Announcement, read “ Alhamdulillah, Zul Hijjah moon has been sighted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005. Therefore, Eid ul Adha will be on Friday, January 21, 2005.”


The Islamic Voice, a monthly Islamic publication of Bangalore, India wrote in their January 2001 issue “As such there is panic and commotion all over the world in our community each time we go for the moon-sighting. The biggest problem is created by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries since they depend on a phantom Hilal rather than physical sighting of the Hilal that is Fard e Kifaya. Saudis often announce moon sighting even before the birth of the new moon.”


The Crescent International, of Toronto December 1-15, 2002 writes1:

“Why have the Saudis announced Eid a day earlier than the probable sighting date? While claiming to be following the sighting criterion advised by the noble Messenger of Allah (saw), the Saudis actually follow the birth criterion. This is bid’ah (innovation in deen), which is condemned in Islam. The Saudis started fasting on Wednesday November 6 not because the new moon was sighted in Saudi Arabia the previous evening, but because they claimed to have "completed" 30 days of Sha’ban. It was not possible for them to have completed 30 days of the previous month, but because they had started that month a day early, based on the birth rather than the sighting criterion, they had to start Ramadhan on November 6 (Islamic calendar months are either 29 or 30 days). Thus, once 30 days of a particular month are complete the next month starts automatically, but the condition is that the previous month should have been started on the correct date. The Saudis habitually violate this principle, leading to much confusion in the Ummah.

It may well be asked what the Saudi regime achieves by creating this fitna. The House of Saud covers itself in the garb of religion to make up for its lack of political legitimacy. Muslims have immense respect for Islam’s two holy places in Makkah and Madina, so there are millions of Muslims worldwide who defer to the Saudis’ Judgement simply because of the location of the Haramain in the Arabian Peninsula. Thus when the Saudi regime announces a date for the start or end of Ramadhan, many Muslims instinctively follow them out of respect for the Haramain. ……. The Saudi regime also takes pleasure in claiming that it is the "leader" of the Muslim world. Thus, when some Muslims follow it in matters of Ramadhan and Eid, they derive satisfaction from this. They have an advantage over the question of Hajj because the Saudi regime is in physical control of the Haramain, and even if Muslims were to protest their commemoration of Hajj on the wrong day there is nothing anyone can do about it. This is a grave violation of Islam’s principles, as Allah’s Messenger (saw) has stated clearly that the Day of Hajj is the Day of Arafat, which is the ninth of Dhul Hijjah; the Saudis habitually violate this command, depriving Muslims of the true barakah of Hajj.

Muslims need to guard against such machinations by the Saudis and their agents worldwide who have ensconced themselves in various Masajid, especially in North America and Europe. They create dissension in the community at a time when Muslims yearn for unity.”

Saudi Calendar 2

Dr. Zaki Al-Mostafa (The Institute of Astronomical & Geophysical Research at King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology, which is the official Saudi authority which prepares Umm Al-Qurah Calendar) mentioned in his paper presented at the 2nd Islamic Astronomical Conference that starting from the year 1423 AH Saudi will adopt another new criteria to start the lunar months. The new criterion says: If on the 29th day of the lunar month these two conditions are satisfied, then the next day is the first day of the new lunar month:-

  1. The geocentric conjunction  (or birth of the new moon) occurs before Sunset.
  2. The Moon sets after the Sun.

Notice that the new criteria still ignores the visibility of the crescent.

Meaning of  "Birth of New Moon" 3

Moon goes around the earth in about 29.5 days. During this cycle there is a moment when moon comes in line with the sun and earth. This moment is called "New Moon Birth". At this moment the sunlight falling on the moon cannot come to the earth, and the moon face to the earth is completely dark. In other words new moon is "No Moon". No one can see this "New Moon" even by most powerful telescopes.

How can one declare the New Moon (the dark night) when the crescent or Hilal is not visible? Moon, sun and earth are on a straight line or in conjunction. Hence the Hilal is not visible during New Moon night.

For the Hilal to be visible the age of the moon should be 20-24 hours old and the moonset lag should be at least 50 minutes (the time difference between sun set and moon set). Minimum separation (elongation) for visibility, statistically known, is about 10.5 to 11° for naked eye, and about 7.5 to 8 for powerful telescopes. Elongation is the angular distance between the moon and the sun. At the Astronomical New Moon this angle is zero and all the sunlight reflected by the moon’s surface is directed back towards to the sun. With passage of time, the moon in its circular motion around the earth moves away from the alignment with the earth and the sun. The angular distance between the moon and the sun increases, and some 18 to 24 hours after the Astronomical New Moon, the moon will have moved sufficiently for the sunlight reflected off its outer edge to be directed towards the earth. The new crescent moon can now become visible on earth. Today our main criterion depends on the Moon's angular distance from the Sun at sunset (elongation) and the Moon's altitude (in degrees) above the horizon after sunset. Elongation at sunset, the Moon / Sun angular separation, should be not less than 9.7°
The Crescent must be well above the horizon when the sun has dropped 5° below the horizon. Crescent age at sunset is normally not less than 20 hours.

Use Astronomy to Negate Erroneous Sighting, Not to Replace Sighting

As  Muslims, we believe that all knowledge is from Allah, who is the ultimate source. Thus we find that the Qur’an has no contradiction with established facts of science. In fact the description of the embryo in the womb of the mother, the stability provided by the mountains, the hydrology / water cycle, composition of living matter mostly with water, origin of the universe and the movement of both the sun and the moon are among the amazing examples of how accurately the Qur’an revealed about 1400 years ago describes scientific facts discovered recently. The Qur’an states in Sura Ar-Rahman #55,Verse 5: (Yusuf Ali translation): The sun and the moon follow courses (orbits) (exactly) computed.  There are over 1100 verses or one-fifth of the Qur’an pertaining to scientific phenomena. Inna fee thalika laayatin liqawmin yatafakkaroona, Surah Rad,  13: 3

Muslim Astronomers excelled in Astronomy and advanced the knowledge of Astronomy to a great extent. Since ancient times, astronomers and civilizations have attempted to predict crescent visibility using mathematical models of varying levels of sophistication. For example, the ancient Babylonians had a simple moonset lag 48 minutes rule. The Muslims also did much work in this area, e.g.: Yaqub Ibn Tariq (767-778), Habash (740-840), Al-Khwarizmi  (830), Al-Battani (850-929), Al-Farghani, Thabet b. Qurra (826-901), Al-Sufi ( -986),  Al-Biruni ( 973-1048), Ibn Sina,  Maimonides (actually a Jew, aka Moses Ibn Momen) ( 1135-1204)  and Nasir Al-Din Al-Tusi (1258-1274 ).


In modern astronomy there are many stars that bear an Arabic name, like Al-dabaran.


Concerning the Dates for Eid-ul-Adha and Hajj 4


“Concerning the different rituals of worship of Salah and fasting in Islam, one may not be made to depend on the other. Similarly, Eid-ul-Adha and Hajj are two separate rituals of worship, not dependent upon each other. “

“Looking at the history of the prescription of the two rituals, Hajj was made Fard in the sixth year of Hijrah (lam’at commentary on Mishkat), whereas, Eid-ul-Adha was instituted since the first year of the Hijrah. “

“Reported on the authority of Ibn Umar (RA): Rasoolallah (SAW) lived in Medina for ten years and made sacrifice each year. (Tirmidhi) “

The aforementioned make it abundantly clear that Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha and their respective sacrifices are two separate and independent forms of worship. One is neither contingent nor linked to the other. Yet, some still speak of these two independent forms of worship as if they were interrelated. There is no evidence to support this view other than the fact that Hajj falls on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah and Eid-ul-Adha on the tenth. Based on this fact, it is advanced that Eid-ul-Adha must follow Hajj on the following day. By way of analogy, they claim that Eid-ul-Adha must be performed by people all over the world the very next day after the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah. In which authentic Hadith and book of jurisprudence can we find a ruling that supports this view? This is a question that remains to be answered.

Determination of Eid al-Adha 5

In the year 2000 (1421 AH), The Shura Council of North America (which includes ISNA) has unanimously agreed to base Eid al-Adha determination on local moon sighting in North America. It was hoped that this welcome decision should end all controversy on this subject and bring about the same unity on Eid al-Adha that we have been witnessing on Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr.

However, in the year 2002 Islamic Society Of North America (ISNA) had widely circulated a paper (an article published in Islam Horizons) regarding determination of Eid al-Adha. It strongly suggested that all over the world Eid al-Adha determination should follow the announcement of Hajj dates in Saudi Arabia.

The following is a refutation to ISNA’s suggestion, by Justice Mufti Taqi Usmani.  The mufti is the only one who can issue a fatwa, which gives him the power of handling cases where there is doubt among other Muslim learned.

Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani is one of the leading Islamic scholars living today. He is an expert in the fields of Islamic Jurisprudence, Economics, Hadith and Tasawwuf. Born in Deoband in 1362H(1943 CE), he graduated par excellence form Dars e Nizami at Darul Uloom, Karachi, Pakistan. Then he specialized in Islamic Jurisprudence under the guidance of his eminent father, Mufti Muhammad Shafi, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan. Since then, he has been teaching hadith and Fiqh at the Darul-Uloom, Karachi.

He also holds a degree in law and was a Judge at the Shariah Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan till recently. He is the deputy chairman of the Jeddah based Islamic Fiqh Council of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). He has been writing on various Islamic topics and is author of more than 60 books and numerous articles. He wrote 17 Books in English, 6 Books in Arabic and   43 Books in Urdu on various aspects of Islam.

Presently he is the Vice-president of Darul-Uloom, Karachi, Pakistan,

Mufti Usmani wrote, “I have gone through the article of ISNA and with the utmost respect for their sentiment for Muslim unity, I am forced to say that the view expressed in the article (Eid al-Adha on next day of Arafat) is in total disagreement with the teachings of Quran and Sunnah, and with the Shari'ah position recognized throughout the centuries. This is an unprecedented view, which has never been adopted, by any of the Muslim jurists during the past 1400 years, and it has a number of intrinsic defects and anomalies, some of which are summarized here.”

“The ISNA article admits that the celebration of Eid al-Fitr should be tied to the sighting of the moon in each country and should not be linked with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, however, the article calls for celebration of Eid al-Adha according to the Saudi Calendar regardless of the local dates, which means Eid al-Adha will be celebrated in North America on 8th or 9th of Zul-Hajjah. It is thus clear that the theory proposed in ISNA's article is impractical.”

“The ISNA article has laid much emphasis on the concept of unity of the Muslim Ummah, which no one can deny. At the same time, however, one must appreciate that unity does not mean that the entire Muslim Ummah throughout the world should perform their acts of worship at one and the same time, because it is physically not possible. It is evident that when people in Saudi Arabia are performing their Fajr prayers, those in North America may still have not completed their Isha prayers of the previous day. Similarly, when Muslims in Los Angeles offer their Fajr prayers, those in India and Pakistan are offering their Maghrib or Isha prayer of the same day.”

“If it is made obligatory on all the Muslims in the world to offer their acts of worship at one and the same time for the sake of unity, such unity can never materialize (because of the time differences). It is, therefore, obvious that offering one's acts of worship at different times do not affect the concept of Muslim Unity.”

What does the Muslim unity mean?

“It means that all Muslims should treat each other with brotherly sympathy and affection and should not spread disorder and dissention among them. Nor should they invent new ideas foreign to the teachings of Quran and the Sunnah, which may lead to division and conflict among Muslims.

It is also astonishing that the article views the celebration of Eid al-Adha on different days as being against the concept of Ummah while in the matter of celebration of Eid al-Fitr, this concept is dispensed with. If the celebration of Eid al-Fitr on different days does not affect the concept of unity, how can it be said to harm unity in the case of Eid al-Adha.

It is true that Eid al-Adha falls immediately after the day of Arafat in Saudi Arabia, but it is not necessary that the Muslims in every country should follow the same dates in their respective areas. Hajj, no doubt, is tied with a particular place but the celebration of Eid al-Adha is not confined to that place alone. It is celebrated everywhere in the world and cannot be tied to the Saudi calendar.

The article admits that the celebration of Eid al-Adha in other countries was never linked with its celebration in Saudi Arabia throughout the past 14 centuries. This, the author's claim was because of a lack of communication facilities. With vastly improved communication today, they argued that everyone almost anywhere can find out the day of Hajj, and should celebrate Eid al-Adha based on Saudi calendar.

There is a clear admission in this argument that it is not obligatory according to Qur’an or the Sunnah to celebrate Eid al-Adha according to Saudi calendar. Had this been so, Muslims would have tried their best to find the exact date of Hajj in Saudi Arabia. It is not correct to say that it was not possible in those days for people living outside Saudi Arabia to know the exact date of Hajj, because this date is normally determined on the first night of Zul-Hijjah. There is a nine-day period until Eid, which is more than sufficient to acquire this information. However, no jurists has ever stressed that such information be collected in order to celebrate Eid al-Adha according to Saudi dates.

Further, if the argument of the article is accepted and it is held that the real intention of Quran and Sunnah was to link the celebration of Eid al-Adha with the Saudi dates, as a mandatory provision for all Muslims in the world, it means that the Shari'ah has stressed a principle, which was not practical for 1400 years. It is not against the Qur’anic declaration that Allah does not make a thing mandatory unless it is practical for the human beings.

If the authors argue that the celebration of Eid al-Adha was not linked with the dates in Makkah in the past but it has become a mandatory requirement of the Shari'ah now, then the question arises, who has abrogated the previous principle and on what basis? There is no provision in Quran or the Sunnah, which orders the Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Adha according to their local dates up to a particular time and to link it with the dates in Makkah thereafter. Whoever considers this and similar questions arising out of this unprecedented theory advanced in the article can appreciate its fallacy.

Finally, I would like to inform you that the question of sighting the moon for each lunar month including Zul-Hijjah was thoroughly discussed at the annual sessions of the Islamic Fiqh Academy (held in Jordan, October 11-16, 1986) attended by more than a hundred outstanding scholars of Shari'ah. The academy adopted the resolution recommended that all Muslim countries should determine all the lunar months including Zul-Hijjah on the same basis for both Eid al-Fitr as well as Eid al-Adha.

This resolution represents the consensus of Muslim jurists throughout the world. The proposal contained in the ISNA article, however, goes totally against this consensus.

Before parting with the subject, I would like to emphasize that such unprecedented proposals can never advance the cause of Muslim unity. Rather, they may create a new point of disunity and dissention among Muslims. Before venturing such opinions as definite "Fatwa", these should be discussed at some responsible international forum of contemporary Muslim jurists like the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah.”

Moon Sighting Analysis 6

It is to be noted that during the time of our prophet (saw) AND the time immediately after his departure (Khulafaa-e-Raashideen) Eid was often not celebrated on the same day even within the relatively small region of Arabia. Instead each region was to follow their own moon sighting and start month accordingly. No efforts were made either to force such cohesion and unity (as far as Eid is concerned) - therefore it is another testimony that no such action is compulsory from Shariah point of view and should be fully understood that it is neither meant to be nor CAN be possible.

Eid on '10th day of Dhul Hijjah' 7

Following information may help understand that Eid-al-Adha is only to be celebrated on 10th of Dhul Hijjah (which in many parts of the world may or may not necessarily be the day after Arafat in Makkah because crescent sighting is dependent on many factors including age, angle, visibility, and time window etc.)

- The Messenger (SAW) stayed in Medina ten years offering his sacrifice. (Tirmidhi).

- The Messenger (SAW) sacrificed on the tenth day in Medina. (Sunan Baihaqi)

From the above, we note that Eid al-Adha celebration started nine years before Allah made Hajj obligatory on the Muslims. Therefore Eid-al-Adha is not dependent on Hajj in Makkah. In Medina the Messenger (SAW) prayed and sacrificed for ten years on the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah. The Messenger (SAW) and the Muslims followed this tradition of sacrificing on the tenth day of Dhul Hijjah in Medina or wherever they were on the tenth day.

During his ten years stay in Medina there is no evidence that the Messenger (SAW) ever tried to follow the "Day of Arafah in Makka", even after victory over Makka. The Messenger (SAW) made no attempts to know or to inform the Muslims in areas surrounding Medinah about when the Hajj was in Makkah. The Muslims celebrated Eid-al-Adha according to whenever and wherever they saw the crescent. Accordingly, all the scholars of Islam are unanimous that Eid ul Adha is on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, which is determined by the sighting in each locality, and NOT ON THE 10th OF DHUL HIJJAH IN MECCA. The Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) opposed every attempt to impose the moon sighting in one town over the others, even in close proximity, when it was not seen on a clear horizon, or when the horizon was cloudy on the 29 day of the Islamic month.   

Umar's Inaugural Address

After the assumption of office as the Caliph, Hadrat Umar (RA) addressed the Muslims who had assembled in the Prophet’s mosque. In the course of the address, Umar said: 

In the performance of my duties, I will seek guidance from the Holy Book, and will follow the examples set by the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr. In this task I seek your assistance. If I follow the right path, follow me.  If I deviate from the right path, correct me so that we are not led astray. 

O servants of God, continue to fear God. Suppress your selfish motives and work for the solidarity of the Muslims as a whole. In running the State, you are my partners. Help me with your sound advice. If I follow the right path laid down by God and His Prophet follow me. If I deviate, correct me. Strengthen me with your advice and suggestions. Let us pray for the glory of Islam."

During the Salat, if an Imam who may be even an Aalim and Hafiz makes a mistake in reciting the Surah, the Muktadee in the Saff (row) behind the Imam can correct him.


1. Crescent International.: Ummah likely to be split over Eid as Saudis announce the wrong date as usual.

2. The Actual Saudi Dating System,

3. Crescent Sighting.:

4. Maulana M. Abdullah Saleem.: Concerning the dates for Eid ul Adha and Hajj    (November 1999)

6. Justice Mufti Taqi Usmani.: Determination of Eid ul Adha

6. M. A. Baig.: Moon Sighting Analysis,

7. Eid on 10th day of Dhul Hijjah.:


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