This is the picture of the crescent of Ramadan sighted in the Polynesian Islands in the Pacific Ocean, on Monday, July 8th at 6:08 PM, local time. As we share the night with these islands, it was proper for Muslims living in North America to fast on Tuesday, July 9th. Historically, whenever the moon sighting report had arrived before Fajr, i.e. Suhoor time, the Muslim communities had been required to observe fasting on that day. Sacred time of Ramadan starts with the arrival of the new moon. The knowledge of the beginning of the month of Ramadan obligates fasting of Ramadan. That's what is stated in the Qur'an in surah Al Baqarah, that "whomsoever witnesses the month of Ramadan, let him fast". The people in North America gained knowledge, through scientifically authenticated astronomical calculations, of the Ramadan Moon as it was in the American horizon for hours and stayed in the horizon minutes after sunset. For instance, the new moon stayed after sunset in California for 11 minutes. It must have stayed a lot longer in Hawai and in the Polynesian Islands. That's where this picture (http://www.makkahcalendar.org/en/photoGallery.php) of the sighted moon was taken as the moon was visible to the naked eye. Therefore, the Fiqh Council is very comfortable with its decision of fasting on Tuesday, July 9th as it was the first day of Ramadan for North America. We do not find faults with those who chose not to fast on Tuesday, and we request the community to follow their local Masaajid and truly benefit from the blessings of Ramadan Al Mubaarak. The first and foremost objective of Ramadan is Taqwah leading to Muslim unity. The Prophet (SAW) said "Your fasting is when you collectively fast and your Eid is when you collectively celebrate Eid". Therefore unity and collectivity of action is more significant than any individual or organizational point of view. Islam is based upon collectivity and Allah's hand is upon Jamaa'ah as stated in the Qur'an. Let us focus upon our relationships with Allah SWT and our fellow human beings, and bring unity to our communities.
May Allah SWT make it a blessed month for all of us.