Saturday, September 23, 2006

When the moon hits the Islamic sky. Conservative Muslim scholars, both Sunni and Shi`ites, insist on declaring the beginning of the months of the Muslim (lunar) calendar by on insisting on physically spotting the moon in the sky. To his credit, Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah has fought against that, and now declares the months on the basis of science. In Saudi Arabia, the Mufti (who is blind and who sets the standards for the pro-Saudi Sunni clerics in the Arab world) waits until somebody tells him that he (he does not accept the testimony of women) has actually spotted the moon before declaring the beginning of the month.