Monday, 29 December 2008

Shiites, Sunnis on rare moment of agreement

It is a really rare moment of agreement between Iraq's two main Muslim sects, Shiites and Sunnis, when both agreed on marking the beginning of the Muslim lunar calender on the same day which is Monday.

The 12-month calender, or Hijri calender as Muslims call it, is used to date events in Muslim countries such as celebrating Islamic holy days and festivals. It is called Hijri after the prophet Mohammed's Hijra (emigration) from Mecca to Madina before nearly 1430 years ago.Since then the calender started.

Sighting the crescent moon is essential to mark the beginning of this year and then each month in it.Some Muslim countries use astronomical calculations and observatories while others and particular sects in some countries, like Iraq's Shiites, rely on the naked eye alone beside having their own interpretations on how the crescent's shape should look like.

This has led, since ages, to different starting times between Iraq's Shiites and Sunnis to Muslims events especially the two major Eids (festivals), one marks the end of holy month of Ramadan and the second marks the end of Haj. And this has added more to the differences and tensions between them which exist since ages but have come to surface since the U.S. -led occupation started in 2003.

For me, this thing is a good omen which I hope that both sects to come together and renounce all their differences...Happy New Year Muslim World.