The aim and focus being that believers might develop a constant state of awareness of God which converts into righteousness and good conduct. It’s in the same month that the Qur’an was revealed and the most important and holiest of nights, Laylatul Qadr. So the importance of Ramadan cannot be underestimated as a vehicle of self-transformation for every Muslim.
One of the issues that confront Muslims with the arrival of this blessed month is the problem of the moon sighting. Disputations of not fasting on a single day beset the ummah. But at the root of this is an ignorance of the foundations of the Islamic legal system regarding differences of opinion. Islam never had a problem with people fasting on different times. Based on a narration from Ibn ‘Abbas who was considered a scholar among the companions of the Prophet: “Kuraib narrates that Umm Al-Fadl bint Al-Harith sent her son (Al-Fadl) to Mu`awiyah (may Allah be pleased with him) in Sham. Al-Fadl said, “I went to Sham and fulfilled her need. Then Ramadan was about to begin while I was there. I saw the new moon on Saturday night.
Then I returned to Madinah by the end of the month. `Abdullah ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) asked me about the moon saying, ‘When did you sight the new moon?’ I replied, ‘We sighted it on Saturday night.’ He asked: ‘Did you sight it yourself?’ I said, ‘Yes, and other people sighted it too. They observed fast and so did Mu`awiyah.’ He said, ‘But we sighted it on Sunday night and we will continue fasting until we finish thirty days or sight the next moon.’ I asked, ‘Do you not depend on the sighting of Mu`awiyah?’ He said, ‘No, that is what the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) commanded us to do.’”
So based on this hadith Muslims are open to differences of opinion and fasting on a global level is not a binding necessity, even as some scholars hold that possible. So the differences doesn’t warrant any form of sectarianism or separation from each other. If some choose to sight the moon themselves as opposed to following Saudi Arabia, then that is fine and is a part of the Islamic tradition.
Another problem is the skyrocketing of prices for goods that Muslims rely heavily during this month. The business people should really stop such things from happening, considering that most of the people fasting are poor and cannot afford sky high prices for basic goods. Ramadan is a month of mercy in which God opens all the gates of paradise and closes the gates of hell according to a sound prophetic narration.
So if that’s the case, how are the slaves of God supposed to act except to reciprocate mercy. In fact in a famous narration, the Holy Prophet said: “If you have mercy on those on the earth, the One on high will have mercy on you.” Bearing that in mind, traders should reduce the prices of basic goods and make Ramadan a beautiful experience for all fasting believers. We wish every Muslim a very successful and blessed Ramadan. May all our sins be forgiven and turned into rewards.