Chicagoland Muslims Prepare for a Hot, Dry Ramadan

American Islamic Association
The American Islamic Association in Frankfort. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Frankfort, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Can you take the heat? With temperatures kissing the 100 degree mark so many times this summer, could you go without all food, including water, during daylight hours this summer? With Ramadan set to begin this Friday or Saturday, many Muslims across this drought-ridden Chicagoland are preparing to do just that.

Our friends at the American Islamic Association in Frankfort issued the following statement Tuesday:

The Chicago Hilal Committee will be meeting on Thursday, July 19, 2012 (Shaban 29, 1433) to determine the start of Ramadan 1433. If the moon is sighted on Thursday night, the 1st of Ramadan will be Friday, July 20, 2012. If the moon is not sighted on Thursday night, Shaban will complete its course of 30 days and Ramadan will begin onSaturday, July 21, 2012.

The first updates on chicagohilal.org are expected to occur around 8:45 PM CDT. Updates will be made periodically after that as representatives through out North American are contacted. If the moon is not seen in the East Coast or the Midwest, the committee may wait to hear from the West Coast (whose sunset is around 10:30 PM CDT) before making a final decision.

According to the Chicago Hilal Committee’s Web site, the committee "was formed under the auspices of renowned scholars as well as representatives from the various mosques (masajid) to be able to carry out a responsibility that has been inherited by the Muslim community – especially the scholars – from the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa salam).  This responsibility is to determine the Islamic calendar through the sighting of the moon."

In Islam, the start of each month comes with the New Moon, "the phase of the Moon when it lies closest to the Sun in the sky as seen from the Earth. More precisely, it is the instant when the Moon and the Sun have the sameecliptic longitude."

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar:

It contains 12 months that are based on the motion of the moon, and because 12 synodic months is only 12 x 29.53=354.36 days, the Islamic calendar is consistently shorter than a tropical year, and therefore it shifts with respect to the Christian calendar.

Ramadan regresses approximately 10 days every year through the Gregorian calendar. So Chicagoland Muslims are in for a few summers of Ramadan for the next few years. During Ramadan, from sun-up to sunset, Muslims refrain from eating any food, including water, unless medical reasons dictate otherwise.

If you have Muslim friends, wish them a hearttfelt "Ramadan Mubarak," a Blessed Ramadan, during the next lunar month.