NWMI Eid on Wednesday, June 5, 2019
As we enter the last week of this blessed month, we pray that this message finds you in a state of deep faith and elevated spirit. In light of the unusual circumstances surrounding the expected sighting of the moon this year, we would like to inform you about NWMI’s plans to celebrate Eid al-Fitr and the rationale for setting the date.
NWMI uses the Common Night criterion to determine the start of the lunar month. (An explanation of different methods for determining the start of lunar months and NWMI’s rationale for using the Common Night criterion can be found here.) According to the Common Night criterion, there is a small possibility that the first day of the month of Shawwal – that is, Eid al-Fitr – may fall on June 4th for the Washington, D.C. area. This is because the earliest possible naked eye sighting of the crescent moon is predicted to be in the Pacific islands or western Australia in the early pre-dawn hours of June 4th (Washington, D.C. time). However, viewing conditions will need to be nearly perfect in order to see the crescent moon in those areas. Additionally, by the time such sightings are verified and announced by our fellow Muslims abroad, we may not receive word until close to Fajr or even afterward. At that time, it would be unfeasible for NWMI to announce congregational Eid salat and celebrations later that same morning.
By the same token, if one makes the intention to fast but then learns after Fajr that Eid has begun, one may break the fast and perform Eid salat before Dhuhr salat. Eid salat can be performed either in congregation or individually. A description of the procedures NWMI uses for Eid salat can be found here.
In light of these considerations, NWMI plans to hold congregational Eid salat and celebrations on Wednesday, June 5th, insha’Allah. We will continue to monitor moon sighting information and inform the community of any sightings that occur before our Fajr on June 4th so that members of our community can make informed decisions based on sighting data and the criterion that they used to begin the month of fasting. For community members following the Common Night criterion, a moon sighting in the areas that share the night with Washington, D.C. before our Fajr on June 4th will mark the first day of Shawwal on June 4th.
While this year presents an unusual circumstance, moon sighting predictions for next year suggest more timely and certain confirmation of the first day of Shawwal.
We wish you heightened blessings in these closing days of Ramadan and look forward to celebrating Eid together with you on June 5th.
NWMI executive director