Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala, with nearly one-third of population practicing Islam, lies on the western coast of India. The state usually embraces Ramzan and Eid a day ahead of the rest of India. According to observers, the dates of Ramzan and Eid in Kerala coincides with Saudi Arabia, the centrifugal point of Islam. As per the popular myth, the dominant Shafi school of thought in the state follows the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia. Such assumptions are far from truth, claim clerics.
“The reason behind Kerala celebrating Eid before rest of India purely geographical. There is no allegiance towards Saudi Arabia. We do not follow their lunar calendar,” said Kochi-based preacher Fazlur Rahman. He further claimed that Kerala being a coastal state sights moon on the 29th day of lunar calendar. “And yes, sometimes the date coincides with Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Maulana Fakhrul Qazi, associated with Sunni Dawat-e-Islam, also rubbished the claims of Kerala following the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia. “This is absolutely wrong. Whether it is Ramzan or Shawwal (the subsequent Islamic month), we follow the moon. As per the traditional method, if moon is sighted with naked eye, we embrace the next month,” he said.
Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated on first day of Shawwal. If the moon would be sighted in Kerala today, Eid will be celebrated on Sunday. The crescent sighting process would be undertaken in almost 33 Muslim-majority nations today, including the Gulf countries.
Although there is likelihood of Eid to be celebrated by Kerala as well as Saudi Arabia tomorrow, Maulana Qazi claims it would be a mere coincidence. “In the past (Islamic) month, which was Shabaan, moon was sighted in Saudi Arabia, Kerala and rest of India on the same date. This shows that there is no particular trend,” the cleric added.
Apart from Kerala, other parts of India, including the neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh would aim to sight the crescent tomorrow to celebrate Eid on Monday. In case the moon is not spotted, the region would celebrate the festival on Tuesday.