1) The head council of the various Muslim organizations in Germany (“Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland – ZMD”) does not rely on actual sighting of the moon for declaring when Ramadân begins, instead they use “calculations”. Thus they already declared Ramadan 1431 AH to begin on 11th August 2010 CE, even if Ramadan would begin on another day they would not change this announcement.
Question: What should I do as lay Muslim? Where/how can I find out what the correct date for the beginning of Ramadân is?
2) There is great confusion amongst Muslims in Germany about correct prayer times and especially in Ramadân the additional confusion is about when to stop eating. Basically each Muslim organization has its own calendar with own prayer timings, as everything is Turkish I cannot tell you about the method they use to calculate these prayer timings.
Example: Prayer timings for August 3rd, 2010 CE
4:24 5:54 _ 13:37 _ 17:39 _ 21:07 _ 22:27 (DIYANET, Turkish Government)
4:04 5:54 _ 13:36 _ 17:36 _ 21:05 _ 22:35 (IGMG, Erbakan Hoca’s party from Turkey)
3:11 5:53 _ 13:34 _ 17:39 _ 21:08 _ 23:21 (VIKZ, Turkish Sufis)
3:55 5:54 _ 13:31 _ 17:36 _ 21:03 _ 22:52 (ZMD, Head council of Muslims in Germany)
As you can see there are huge differences between some of them.
Question: What should I do as lay Muslim? Where/how can I find out what the correct prayer times are?
Note that the people heading these organizations do not fulfill the criteria of a trustworthy scholar. They have no real scholarly qualifications and are open-sinners. And also please don’t tell me “ask your local scholars” because we have none.
Jazâk Allâhu khayran for your help.
Wa’alaykum as Salām wa raḥmatullāhi wa barakātuhu,
1) After discussing with ‘Ulamā here in South Africa, the conclusion reached was that if the entire country is relying on calculations, then you too should follow them. You should not rely on the sighting of the moon.
2) Calculating the correct times for ṣalāh is rather simple (eg, determining the correct time of sunrise, sunset etc). Thus, you could calculate the times yourself and pray accordingly.
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)
Euro-Sunni & Islamic Research and Welfare Academy