Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau Clarification Regarding Eid al-Fitr 2020 AnnouncementWritten by Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau
Shawwal 10 1441/June 1st, 2020
All praise is for Allah Almighty. May the peace and blessing be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, the faithful companions, and all those who follow them.
Dear Community Members.
Assalamu'alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
We are confident that this communiqué reaches you all in the finest of well-being and Iman insha-Allah. The intent of this message is to clarify with the community the subject of Eid al-Fitr 2020/1441 and the decision of the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau to announce the Eid al-Fitr celebrations for Saturday 23, May 2020.
To support the growing population of Muslims in the Ottawa/Gatineau region, a need was identified by the local Imams representing the major Masajid that they should come together to support the social and religious matters of the community. With the continued growth of the diverse community base, the need to unify the community through a formal Imams Council became increasingly critical. At first, a more urgent task was to accommodate various schools of thought for the purpose of achieving higher objectives and gain mutual trust. This unity could further prove beneficial to manage the declaration of the main Islamic dates such as the beginning and end of Ramadan, Dhul Hijjah, and the two Eids.
Therefore, with the intention of maintaining harmony and unison within our community and prioritizing the consideration of higher objectives of the Shari'a the Imams Council of Ottawa adopted the Global moonsighting process for determining the dates for the Islamic months.
By adopting the Global moonsighting position, it became easier to accept reports of the new crescent from anywhere across the world. This position made it simpler to harmonize various viewpoints so as to easily allow the members of our community to observe major Islamic dates together on the same day.
The Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau recognizes that there are various views on determining the Islamic months which are all acceptable from the point of Islamic jurisprudence; however, the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau felt that a perspective which unites all opinions was needed for the unity of our community, especially regarding the beginning of the months of Ramadan, Dhul Hijjah and the two Eids. We strongly believe that this is easily achievable through the Global sighting viewpoint.
Hence the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau, while utilizing science, astronomical data and moon visibility maps, but also prioritizing testimony (shahadah) over astronomy (hisab), accept the testimony and declarations from any reliable Muslim organization, moon sighting committee, or Islamic judiciary council of any Muslim country that has declared the sighting of the first moon (hilal).
CONTEXT OF HOW EID AL-FITR 2020 WAS DECIDED
Keeping the above in mind, on the evening of Friday 22, May 2020 (29th Ramadan 1441) the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau received credible reports from Mauritania which met the Global moonsighting criteria that the Imams Council of Ottawa/Gatineau follows for moonsighting. As such, the announcement for Eid al-Fitr was made.
The moon for Shawwal was sighted in 9 different regions throughout Mauritania by approximately 40 people. One of the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau members is from Mauritania and verified this information, and therefore the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau made a collective decision that Saturday 23, May 2020 was Eid al-Fitr.
It is also worthwhile to note in addition to the above there were moonsighting reports from several countries including Somalia, Senegal, Niger, Mali, Chad, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Ethiopia, Gambia, Tanzania, Hawaii, and even Arizona USA.
The possibility of the birth and sighting of the hilal after sunset on Friday 22, May 2020 in some of these regions, in particular, Honolulu Hawaii, and Phoenix Arizona USA was consistent to astronomical calculations and was also verified by the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Based on these reports many institutions throughout Canada also celebrated Eid al-Fitr on Saturday 23, May 2020 such as:
1. Islamic Foundation of Toronto
2. Masjid Al-Farooq Islamic Center– Mississauga
3. Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre – Mississauga
4. Abu Huraira Center – Toronto
5. Thunder Bay Islamic Center – Thunder Bay
6. Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque – Toronto
7. Masjid Al-Salam – Brampton
8. Al-Abrar Centre – Aurora
9. All major Masajid and Islamic Centers in Nova Scotia
Having said that, the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau appeals to all community members to practice patience, forbearance, and tolerance, and to refrain from all avenues that lead to divisions, disunity, discord, and the fragmentation of the community. We must respect, tolerate, and love each other.
In conclusion, The Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau would like to reiterate that it is trying its utmost best to serve the community and its interests first and foremost. Thus, it is important to have faith in the decisions the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau makes on behalf of the community.
Your kind dua’s are requested so that Allah may continue to allow us to serve the Muslim community. May Allah accept our efforts and endeavors as moonsighting is also an act of worship (Ibadah).
We are extremely grateful for your understanding and continued support. We also appreciate the input and encouragement we have received from the community, and ask Allah to guide us to that which is best.
Moving forward, the Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau is considering further considerations and improvements to the moonsighting criteria while upholding unity on this important matter.
The Council of Imams of Ottawa-Gatineau (CIOG)
Signed by the Council members (in alphabetical order):
Imam Ahmed Limame – The Outaouais Islamic Centre
Imam Anver Malam – Jami Omar
Imam Ismail Al-Batnuni – AMA (Masjid Al-Rahmah)
Imam Mohammad Badat – Masjid Bilal
Imam Muhammad Suliaman - OMA
Imam Mohsen El-Nadi - SNMC
Imam Owais Tilly – Jami Omar
Imam Samy Metwally - ISG
Imam Sikander Hashmi - KMA
Imam Zijad Delic – SNMC