As usual, Muslims in USA are divided once again on the issue of celebrating Eid-ul-Adha. Those who belong to Middle Eastern Countries and living in USA are celebrating EID-ul-Adha according to the date of Hajj in Saudi Arabia. Others believe that the Eid should be celebrated according to the moon sighting results in USA. And it should not be celebrated based on the Hajj date in Saudi Arabia. So I am confused. When should I offer my prayers? When should I slaughter the animal? And who is right????
I would appreciate if you can throw some light on this issue.
May Allah guide us to the right path.
As a principle, the date of celebration of Eid should be decided by the collectivity of Muslims residing in the locality. In case of a difference of opinion, the Qur’anic principle of ‘their (i.e. the Muslim’s) [collective] matters are based on consultation’ should be followed. This principle of the Qur’an implies that in case of a difference of opinion, the opinion of the majority should be considered as the opinion of the collectivity.
Keeping the above principle in mind, if you have a system of collective decision making for the religious affairs of the Muslims, you should follow their opinion. However, if that is not the case, then you should follow the opinion of the majority of Muslims living in your immediate locality.
Celebration of Eid and all other collective issues should be decided by the community. Even if an individual does not hold the opinion of the collectivity to be accurate, he should follow that opinion, while trying to convince the collectivity of his opinion. However, till the time that the majority of the community is convinced of his opinion, he should follow the opinion held by the majority. It has primarily been the practical individual deviations among Muslims that have given rise to the extra-ordinary divisions of the Muslim community – which is indeed a great tragedy.
It should be remembered that the decision regarding the date on which Eid should be celebrated at places other than Saudi Arabia is an issue of Ijtihad. There can be a difference of opinion, in such issues.
11th March 2000