Eid al-Fitr is observed at a particular day of the
Islamic Calendar, which is based on the movements of the moon. According to this
calendar, the beginning of each month is marked by the appearance of the moon
above the horizon. This appearance can be observed by the naked eye. If accurate
mathematical calculations can help in this sighting, physically observation is
not required. Consequently, just as clocks have helped man in accurately
determining the time of the five prayers and one no longer needs to measure
one’s shadow for this, if at some point of time (if not already) scientific
advancement is able to determine the exact time of the appearance of the moon,
then, on similar grounds, one can benefit from this.
The lunar calendar was followed by the Arabs more out of
necessity than choice. In the absence of clocks, the easiest way to measure time
was through stars and the moon. The Arabs like their contemporary nations were
well versed in finding out time through the passage of the heavenly bodies.
Moreover, since the lunar calendar falls on different dates of the solar
calendar, the lunar months fall in different weathers each year making the
inhabitants of the earth experience Eid and other religious rituals (like Hajj)
in different seasons. This of course is a great advantage.
Because Eid is dependent on moon sighting, which is at
different dates in different areas, Eid day at Makkah and other places is likely
to be different.