When Eidul Adha Begins: Explanation of ISNA's Current Position
Reported by: ISNA Headquarters
2/27/2001 (President's Office) ::
For the last several years ISNA held the position that Eidul Adha is to be celebrated according to the announcement of Hajj and not according to our local moon sighting as we do for Ramadan and Eidul Fitr. But there were many scholars who criticized this position. They said that this position was not according to the Sunnah. Eidul Adha is to be on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah according to the moon sighting. Muslims in distant lands such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Central Asia, etc., have always been celebrating Eidul Adha according to their own moon sighting. There is no report that Muslims waited for the announcement of Hajj or made special effort of find out about the Day of Hajj in order to make their own announcements.
We checked the books of Fiqh, we did not find any support for the assertion that Eidul Adha decision should be made on the basis of Hajj decision. The Hadith of the Prophet -peace be upon him-that "al-Hajj yauma yahujju al-nas" is for those who make Hajj. Of course those who go to Hajj they must go to 'Arafah according to the decision of the authorities there, even if that is contrary to the astronomical data or someone's own moon sighting. But people in far away lands do not make Hajj in their locations. They have to make Eid prayer and make Qurbani. They cannot have Eid on 9th of Dhul Hijjah, if the moon was not sighted in their location and sighted in Arabia one day before. They cannot have Udhhiyahaa day earlier.
ISNA's position was under strong criticism from the scholars. No Fiqh Scholar from any country came to the defense of ISNA's position. We have the North American Shura that brings major organizations together. ICNA and Imam Jamil al-Amin's group separated from us last Eidul Adha because of this position. We asked the 'Ulama in Saudi Arabia whether there was a special case for Eidul Adha. Do we have to celebrate Eidul Adha with the Hajjis? Their answer was that there was no special case for Eidul Adha according to the Shari'ah. If you celebrate your Ramadan and Eidul Fitr according to your own sighting then also celebrate Eidul Adha according to your own sighting. However, if your decide to celebrate Ramadan and Eidul Fitr with Saudi Arabia then you should also celebrate Eidul Adha with the Hajjis. They told us that we must be consistent and should not play with this 'Ibadah according to our own desires. There are only two positions recognized in Fiqh: Ittihad al-Matali' (if crescent is sighted in on locality, then all localities should follow it) or Ikhtilafal-Matali' (each locality should see its own moon and decide according to its sighting). The 'Ulama' told us that we should adopt one position: either Ittihad al-Matali' or Ikhtilaf al-Matali.' We cannot have both or have one for Ramadan and Eidul Fitr and another for Eidul Adha. There is no basis for this inconsistency in the Shari'ah.
ISNA invited a conference on this subject on the weekend of November 18, 2000. Many scholars presented their papers and after long discussions we came to the decision to change our earlier position. This issue is purely religious and 'ibadah issue and is based on the understanding of Fiqh. If some trustworthy 'Ulama and Fuqaha' prove from the authentic sources of Shari'ah that our earlier position was correct, we shall go back to that position. We must follow what is right and should change ourselves when know better.
May Allah bless all of us to follow the rules of Allah.
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
President of ISNA