the start date is already known for the CFCM

the start date is already known for the CFCM

The dates of Ramadan change every year and Muslim federations disagree on how to set the calendar. But the CFCM has already announced a definitive start date for the month of fasting for 2024.

When does the month of Ramadan start? This is the question that all Muslims following the injunctions of the month of fasting ask themselves every year. And often there is uncertainty about how to set the date, which changes every year.

However, it is a certainty for the French Council of Muslim Faith: the first day of Ramadan of the year 2024 takes place Monday March 11, 2024. According to this institution bringing together several associations representative of Muslims in France, the dates of the month of Ramadan ( ninth month of the year according to Islamic tradition) can, in fact, be known in advance thanks to astronomical calculations which anticipate the lunar phases and therefore the new moon which marks the start of a new month. The date of March 11 is therefore considered a scientific fact, it is clearly stated in a press release published on February 14.

But Islam has many traditions including that of the Night of Doubt, which confirms by observing the sky and the Moon the change of month and therefore the beginning and end of Ramadan. Muslim federations are divided over the method to be used to definitively establish the dates of Ramadan, also the Great Paris Mosque requires that the Moon be seen in the sky. The announcement from the Parisian religious body is therefore authentic and is expected by all Muslims in France every year. The Grand Mosque of Paris has set the date for the “Night of Doubt”: it will take place on Sunday March 10, which means that Ramadan will begin either Monday March 11 or Tuesday March 12. It is very likely that a consensus will be found by March 11, 2024.

The fourth pillar of Islam is respected by many practicing Muslims in France: according to INSEE, 5 million believers practice Ramadan each year in France. Worldwide, more than 1.5 billion people are affected. During the month of Ramadan, practicing Muslims observe fasting between dawn and sunset. And as the year continues to move towards summer, the days get longer, making the deprivation of food and drink more and more difficult.

The traditional method of the “Night of Doubt” takes place at the Grand Mosque of Paris twice for Ramadan, before and at the end of the month of fasting. The institution then brings together the country’s Muslim federations for an observation of the moon which determines entry into a new month in accordance with the lunar calendar. If the crescent moon (hilal) is seen by Muslims in the sky, the month of Ramadan begins the next day, otherwise it begins the day after.

We therefore only know the start and end dates of the month of Ramadan on the 29th day of the month, in this case on the 29th day of the month of Chaabane (eighth month of the Muslim religious calendar) for the start and 29th day of month of Ramadan itself for the end. The Grand Mosque of Paris therefore reminds on its site “that a one-day delay is possible”, from the Night of Doubt, for the entry into the month of Ramadan. The same goes for the end of the month and the entry into the following month, synonymous with the end of deprivations. “This day of difference is due to the observation or not of the crescent moon which marks the beginning and the end of each of the twelve months which make up the moon calendar on which Islam is based.

The Eid el-Fitr holiday is one of the most important for practicing Muslims. The month of Shawwal (tenth month of the Muslim calendar) begins precisely with the feast of the end of the fast of Eid El Fitr. Every year, the breaking of the fast is celebrated on this occasion by Muslims, among friends, families and close relatives and marked by an important prayer in the morning. During Eids in recent years, it was recommended by the Paris Mosque that Zakat, i.e. the alms for breaking the fast, be 7 euros. In 2024, Eid is scheduled to take place around April 10.

There umrah constitutes a form of pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca (Saudi Arabia). Contrary to hajj, the great pilgrimage, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, umrah is not obligatory. Also note that if the hajj can only be done during the last month of the Muslim year, the umrah is possible throughout the year. However, it is recommended to practice it during the month of Ramadan.

While receiving members of the French Islam Forum (Forif), a new discussion space, on Thursday February 16, Emmanuel Macron declared that he had “decided to put an end to the French Council of Muslim Worship” (CFCM). Since 2003, this body has been responsible for dialogue between the State and the Muslim faith. “The previous instances presented limits that I have already had the opportunity to name. There was a dialogue that existed, there was real progress. I do not want to underestimate what had been done, for example, with the CFCM”, specified the head of state. “But the State often also discussed with other States, within the framework of a form of afterglow, not simply diplomatic but which also embodied a whole story from which we had to gradually emerge”, he continued, concluding: “This is why we decided to put an end to the CFCM. Very clearly. And to his activity.”

Made up of federations attached to different countries of origin (Algeria, Turkey, Morocco, etc.), the CFCM was shaken by powerful internal disputes. In December 2021, the executive chose to prefer Forif – a body bringing together field stakeholders designated by the prefects – as its interlocutor. It is this same Forif which met on Thursday, after a year of existence, to present its first work. Several federations of mosques split from the CFCM in March 2021. At the beginning of January 2023, the French Council of Muslim Worship decided to continue its existence.