Every year, Muslims in America lament over how we don’t have unity in the community relating to when we start and end the month of Ramadan.
For instance in Detroit, the masjid of the Bohra community had ‘Eid prayer today, many will hold prayer tomorrow and some may also hold it on Friday. This would not be the first time that we’ve had ‘Eid prayer on three different days in Detroit.
To me, this is not an extremely important issue relating to unity; it’s a fiqh difference. Some go by set calculation, some go by moon-sighting anywhere on earth while others go by sighting in this hemisphere as to when lunar months start.
We have day to day differences relating just to prayer, over hundred in fact, beginning with how to make wudu’, how the adhan and iqamah are called, where to hold hands during prayer, how and when du’a qunoot is prayed, prayer times for Fajr, ‘Asr and Jumu’ah, etc. Those day to day fiqh differences, however, don’t seem to be as problematic as a sign of lack of unity.
I can think of more substantive issues in which lack of unity plays itself out. We have Muslims who pronounce takfeer over others or quickly label others as deviants. We have ethnocentric masaajid where communities won’t have a resident imam, who is from a different ethnicity of the dominant ethnicity on the board of directors. We have issues of where Muslims born and raised here can’t get the blessings from families as to whom they wish to marry because of different ethnicities; sometimes it gets down to if a person’s skin color is “too dark” or if the parents come from different villages “back home!” We also have a major gap in social interaction between “indigenous Muslims” and “immigrant Muslims” as well as socio-economic divides, which spawn paternalistic attitudes and resentments.
I’m all about discussing how to bring more unity among Muslims. When we celebrate ‘Eid, however, is superficial to me in comparison to the bigger issues, which we face as an Ummah. Let’s talk about some real unity is what I’m saying.
May Allah (SWT) accept of siyaam, qiyaam, tilaawah and good deeds from Ramadan, and may He (SWT) guide the Ummah towards having a more authentic sense of unity. AMEEN.