Manya Brachear Pashman of The Chicago Tribune is reporting that most of the Chicago area’s 400,000 Muslims will begin their sacred fast Wednesday instead of Tuesday — when North American Muslim authorities declared the start of Ramadan.
“The break from the nationally accepted standard fuels a longstanding feud among Muslims around the world that scholars have been trying to resolve for decades. Even though authorities have ruled that astronomical calculations are enough to determine the monthlong fast of Ramadan can begin, many Muslims insist it cannot until a physical sighting of the new moon, a sacred ritual initiated by Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
‘It’s fulfilling the prophetic tradition,’ said Sayeed Shariff, webmaster for the Chicago Hilal Committee who stayed up late Tuesday to help Chicago Muslims know whether to wake up early and fast or to wait
The decision by the Chicago Hilal Committee and other Muslim leaders goes against a ruling by the Fiqh Council of North America, a panel of scholars who interpret Islamic law for American and Canadian Muslims. In 2006, that panel assured Muslims that a physical sighting of the new moon was no longer necessary to commence the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar.”
During Ramadan, Muslims are commanded to fast from dawn to dusk as a show of self-discipline, gratitude and piety. The fast prohibits eating and drinking during daylight hours. It also forbids smoking, sex, profanity and anger.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.