By: [Shaykh] Mustafa Umar

“You who believe, fasting is prescribed for you the way it was prescribed for those before you, so that you might become pious.” Qur’an 2:183

The criteria for beginning a new lunar month differs according to three main scholarly views:

  1. (local sighting) The new crescent moon must be seen in your locality. So if it is seen in Chicago but not in Houston, they will observe Ramadan or Eid on different days. This view is followed quite a few scholars and a few countries.
  2. (global sighting) The new crescent moon must be seen anywhere on Earth. So if it is seen in Yemen, all other countries in the world will also observe Ramadan or Eid on the same day. This view is followed by the AMJA (Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America). AMJA waits for actual sighting reports the night before to determine the month of Ramadan.
  3. (calculation method) The new crescent moon must be “sightable” anywhere on Earth according to astronomical calculations. This can be determined decades in advance. So if it is visible in Argentina, even if you are not able to contact the Muslims living there whether or not they saw it, Ramadan or Eid will be observed. This view is followed by the FCNA (Fiqh Council of North America) and the European Council of Fatwa and Research.

Note: There is no view that Ramadan begins or ends with the “new moon” or “conjunction”. The “new moon” is not visible from Earth to the naked eye. The sightability of the first crescent is a long time after the new moon so do not confuse the two.

The Islamic Center of Irvine (along with the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California) follows the calculation method where Ramadan begins when somewhere on earth at sunset, the moon must be at least five degrees above the horizon with at least an eight-degree elongation (or distance from the sun), ensuring visibility. The Astronomical New Moon for Ramadan 1445/2024 is on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at 9:00 Universal Time. On that day, the criteria is met everywhere in North America., therefore Ramadan begins on Monday March 11, 2024. The Astronomical New Moon for Shawwal (Eid) is on Monday April 8 at 18:21 Universal Time. There is no place on earth where the criteria is met. So Eid is on Wednesday April 10, 2024.

Disclaimer: People who follow sighting opinions may claim to see the crescent even if the sightability criteria is not met. This is almost impossible, but not entirely. Therefore, they could possibly begin one day earlier. If sightings are not reported or properly communicated, according to the sighting opinions, they will begin one day later. Therefore, it is common to have Eid in the world on two or three different days due to these three different views on how the month is established. This is not new and has existed for centuries.

The expected date for Eid ul-Adha 1445/2024, based on the Saudi Ummul Qura Calendar is Sunday, June 16, 2024. Both FCNA and AMJA determine this Eid based on the announcement of the time of Hajj by the government ruling over Makkah.