Once again we have come to that time of the year... Ramadan!
I am probably in a minority of one in that I really wish the beginning of Ramadan was determined by people in each town going out in their back yards, or a local playing field, or other wide open space, looking for the crescent moon.
Most Muslims want national unity or even global unity for the start and end of Ramadan. Some want to start via calculations of when the moon should be visible, as it allows for pre-planning.
To me, calculations reduce the delicious anticipation about the start of Ramadan. Uncertainty about when the fasting is to begin gives an edge of excitement to us all, that was just somewhat lacking this year, as we've known for weeks that American Muslims (at least those following the Fiqh Councils recommendations) are going to start fasting tomorrow.
Having a national moonsighting system (aside from meaning that people on the East Coast may not find out if they are fasting or not until the wee hours of the night) reduces the immediacy of it. Only a handful of people actually go out to see if they can see the moon.
I like the notion that most of us would be out looking for the moon, that we would be aware of the night cycles, the organic flux of the universe, participating in the flow of time, reminded of our place in the circle of life.
Tonight was gloomy with a steady rain. If I implement my ideas, there will be no fasting for us tomorrow. But then we'd be out of synch with the rest of our masjid. And that's not so great either.
Looks like I'll be getting up early tomorrow...