Celebrating Eid on One Day
By Marhum Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi (One of the most outstanding of learned Alims in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent)
Many people seem to have concluded that it is necessary for a whole country to celebrate the Eid on the same day; and for this reason they are advocating that the birth of the moon be determined days in advance through the use of astronomical calculations and instruments, and as a result the whole country should celebrate the Eid on the same day, but this is not as simple and desirable as it seems at first. If one gives thought to the matter one would not fail to realise that this point has no importance at all in the religion of Islam.
The basis of the argument that Eid should be celebrated on the same day in a whole country is dependent upon the belief that Eid is a festival or a national occasion, but in point of fact the two Eids, Ramadan, or Muharram are not festivals but expression of Muslim prayers and worship, the determination of the times of which is necessarily different in accordance with the horizon of different regions. When we in Karachi perform our Asr Namaaz, in some seasons at that time Muslims in East Pakistan would be performing their Esha prayers, and of course our Asr is always the Maghrib time in East Pakistan.
In the same manner, when it is Eid in East Pakistan, it is still night in Karachi, West Pakistan. Even if we were to fix one particular date by some means, it would not be possible to apply the same time for our religious requirements at all places; especially if we take into consideration that even if the Muslims possessed empires as in olden times, extending from the East to the West, and we, by the Grace of Allah, had such vast territories, then it is evident that one day’s difference would necessarily creep in.