Qamr al-Deen

Moon over San Francisco
I have been known to chase sunsets, or rather have somebody speed through San Francisco traffic to catch the sun as it dips into the Pacific Ocean. But increasingly, I’ve become interested in the phases of the moon and learning more about moon sighting. Part of it is because I want in to understand the ebb and flow of Islamic time and gain a better sense of the Islamic calendar. I’ve always enjoyed astronomy, one of my favorite memories in Kuwait was gazing at the moon through a telescope at with the kids. As a graduate student, I was thoroughly steeped in the postmodern critique of narratives of linear time and the march of progress. I have often pondered writing a paper on Islamic conceptions of time, of our understanding of the day divided by Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Isha, of the increasing ebb and flow of time as you move through space away from the equator, of the shifting months, of the convergence and divergence of lunar and solar calendars that Muslims have used to plant their crops, to begin their fasts, commence their feasts, convene at the House of God. We wait to calculations or reports from Saudi, but how many of us go out in anticipation of the new moon? Forget the endless debates during Ramadan on when the month really begins or when are we starting Eid. How often do we go out and gaze at the moon and the stars and reflect on our Lord’s signs? Here’s your chance. According to this article, the Brightest Moon of 2009 will be tonight. So if you have clear skies, go out just after Maghrib and look East for the biggest Brightest moon of the year.

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6 thoughts on “Qamr al-Deen

  1. Aw shucks I missed it!

    Yet, I get what you mean about learning to see with our own eyes. What of the most powerful experiences I had was being 12 years old standing on the ocean with my dad at sunset, the sound of the waves crashing, and him really explaining to me about the power and majesty of Allah. In fact, I think that is the moment that I really understood.

    I just moved out to a house in the country and when you walk out the sky is just so open it is unbelievable.

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  2. As Salaamu Alaikum Sis:

    We have almost a foot of snow today (10th), but the moon was bright and awesome last night. Even more so than usual. I watched it all the way home on my drive from work.

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  3. Asalaamu alaikum,

    I know this is off subject but MAAAABROOOOK! Alhamdulillah on your marriage to Brother Marc! Mabrook, mabrook, MABROOK. May Allah bless you both with a sweet and happy marriage! 🙂

    Oh, yeah, I saw the moon the other night. Subhan’Allah, it was beautiful. I wish I had a telescope.

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  4. I have been known to chase sunsets, or rather have somebody speed through San Francisco traffic to catch the sun as it dips into the Pacific Ocean.

    I have a distinct memory of this, too 🙂

    One of the last conversations I had with Dr. Khalid Blankenship as well as Imam Anwar, was to develop an indigenous study of astronomy purposely for the sake of determining times and so forth for ‘Iyd and fasting. Also as a means to help us feel more connected in a disconnected age.

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