The fundamental problem arising from the sighting of the crescent for Shaban or Ramadan would be avoided if we adhere to the call of Allah for CONSENSUS BUILDING.
Any literate on consensus building theory, even in a worldly or any secular matter, will tell you that once seven out of ten learned people arrive at conclusion, the rest of the three are either obliged, in many instances, to follow for peace and progress or to deviate from the majority decision for their parochial interests.
Islam gives us the best solution when it comes to consensus building. For instance, in the FIQH of Maliki – as it is the case in many other schools of thought in Islam – respect for majority decision is a cardinal principle.
Abdullahi Ibn Umar (RTA) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said “Allah never unite my Ummah over falsehood and Allah’s Hand is always with United People, and whoever deviates, does so in his journey to hellfire”. This Hadith is in Sunnah Thirmidhi, Thabarani and Baihaqi.
Fasting on the day of doubt in Islam never renders anyone a KAFIR or NON -MUSLIM. This is just by the way.
We are very lucky in Ghana to have a group of emminent Imams and scholars who come together annually to observe one of the fundamentals of Islamic practice in a form of a Committee, the Hilal Committee. In so doing, those whose opinions and perhaps technical advice do not attract the majority acceptance always want to blame the Committee.
Let’s take a pause and think wisely. The fact that your technical advice is not taken by the majority of the Imams and scholars does not mean you should divide the Ummah.
It baffles my mind that a group of people would wish or set out on a journey to destroy the hard earned unity or consensus building that His Eminence the National Chief Imam of Ghana attained for all of us by bringing together under one Muslim Community; the Sufis (Tijjaniya and Qadiriya), Salafis (Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamat), Shia and Ahamadiyya Muslims.
We come together under One Umbrella and One Ummah as Ghanaian Muslims to meet Governments and to discuss national assignment or program, yet we disperse and divide the Ummah when it comes to sighting the crescent of Ramadan annually, what a pity and hypocrisy.
Don’t be deceived that some Muslim groups in Ghana do not believe that one or two other Muslim groups are not Muslims. It is never true otherwise they would not sit together with those groups as a Community of Muslims to discuss some other issues but leave the group when it comes to Ramadan and celebration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
The National Hilal Committee comprises the following groups and sects; Tijjaniya Muslims, Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamat (ASWAJ), Shia, Ahamadiyya Muslims and the Regional Chief Imams. Although the ASWAJ have declared their intention to break away from the committee on a social media, the committee is yet to receive a formal notification of their unfortunate breaking away.
The unity of the Muslim Ummah is far bigger than any piece of expert advice from any quarters. In fact, it is far more important for public discourse than the so-called committed sins of fasting on the day of doubts.
Although this is just a layman’s point of view, I hope it would engender progressive thinking and attitudinal change in the supreme interest of Islam.
Alhaji Khuzaima Osman, PA to the National Chief Imam and Director of Youth Development and Interfaith Programs, ONCI