Monday, October 23, 2006

The last (lost) day

The end of Ramadan, like the beginning, is determined by the sighting of the new moon. This occasion is marked by the Eid el Fitr festival, where people visit each other, perform social obligations, go out and dine and generally enjoy the fact that they don’t need to fast any more.

Because this occasion is marked by the sighting of the moon, nobody ever knows exactly what day the Eid begins. Different states in the same region, and even different sects in the same country, might celebrate the Eid on different days.

The government last week announced a holiday beginning on Monday (today) just in case the Eid happens to fall on this day. Last night, it was announced that the Eid will actually begin tomorrow, and that today will be the last day of Ramadan.

So, everybody has a day off today, because this was decreed last week, and the Eid is tomorrow. Preparations have already been made; food and sweets for guests have already been purchased. So, people are not at work, not preparing for the Eid and are fasting. What good is such a vacation?

Of course, productivity drops precipitously during Ramadan anyway. However, this is built into the system. This one day has no functional, social or recreational value at all (except for collecting good deeds for the hereafter). It would be better for people to work (such as work is in Ramadan, especially towards the end) rather than hanging out brooding. Can this be fixed?

The beginning of Ramadan and the Eid can actually be calculated. While fundamentalist interpretations reject astronomical calculations, many respected scholars have no problem using modern approaches to this problem. The use of a semi-random approach to this simple problem runs contrary to the policy of a state purporting to advocate science and technology as a solution to our problems. What is science and technology good for if it can’t be used to plan ahead?

Happy Eid to all!

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8 Comments:

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous bakkouz said...

كل عام وأنت بألف خير ومبروك عليكم العيد
:)

 
At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Khalidah said...

Wallah ya Khalaf, the more important question is: is anyone listening?

Yalla .. kol 3am w inta b alf kheir :)

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Bakkouz and Khalidah: Kul 3am wa antum bil 6i77a wa al sallameh.

 
At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Iman said...

Khalaf, hope you and your family had a beautiful Ramadan..kol 3am winta bkhair!

All along, the islamic centers across the chicagoland area have said Eid was going to be 'most likely on Tuesday.' Yesterday, tarawee7 prayer was held - meaning that Eid is for certain on Tuesday. Just a bit after midnight, I received 5 msgs from friends saying that the masjids declared Monday as the first day of Eid! This is basically the story of every single Ramadan and Eid that follows...Why can't we rely on astronomical calculations and the calendar?
perhaps maybe because, in a way, it hints of unity?! I have no clue!

Kol 3am wil kol bkhair!

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Iman: Only Arabs and Muslims could declare with a straight face that failure to agree on when the Eid starts is a sign of unity :)

Happy Eid to you and your loved ones.

 
At 5:13 AM, Anonymous Iman said...

Khalaf, I am not so sure I quite understood your comment?

 
At 5:44 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Iman: I just reread your comment and I think I initially misunderstood it. Never mind :)

 
At 12:42 PM, Anonymous kinzi said...

Khalaf,a blessed Eid to you and your family.

Don't feel too bad about the unity and Ramadan thing, my Catholic in-laws told me one of the supposed prophecies from our lady of Fatima was that Mary cries over the fact Catholics and Orthodox don't celebrate Easter the same day. :)

 

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