I celebrated Eid on October 24. My brother and his family celebrated the festival the day after, on October 25. In Aligarh, some family members celebrated it the day before yesterday, while others did so on October 24. So I figured that I would wait till October 26 to wish everybody Happy Eid, as by then, everybody would have celebrated it.
I cannot understand what is going on. At the same time, I wonder why I am surprised? For I have always believed that Indian mullahs are shortsighted. So how could I expect them to sight the moon so easily?
A couple of weeks ago, a Shia cleric had suggested that the date for Eid be fixed according to lunar calculations. All hell broke loose. Every maulana worth his salt had an opinion — obviously the controversy died a natural death. But I think the confusion over when was Eid exactly will revive the debate.
I suspect that this has more to do with a politics and one-upmanship within the maulana community than anything else. But as a member of the ummat, I have to register my protest.
The maulana community must decide the day of Eid by at least 8 p.m. of the previous day so that everyone can celebrate Eid in India together with family and friends. The special sevian and biryani for guests can then be prepared well in time for the next day. This time, the confusion led women in some homes having to enter the kitchen as early as 3 am in order to get the food and goodies prepared. I quite share their outrage. Kitchen stints from 3 to 6 in the morning are unnecessary only if the dear maulanas were to unanimously decide when we should offer our prayers.
Why is it that there are no two opinions on when Eid is in the UAE and Saudi Arabia? It may be worth a thought. The only good I can see coming out of this is that it shatters the myth that the Muslims are one. And that they follow the diktat of the Shahi Imam.
My friends in the Sangh parivar can now be reassured that the Muslims are now divided as never before.
Kumkum Chadha’s column, So Familiar, will appear on Monday