NORTHRIDGE : Muslims Gather at CSUN as Ramadan Ends


Nearly 1,500 San Fernando Valley-area Muslims celebrated the end of the daytime fasting month of Ramadan on Friday with prayers on a Cal State Northridge lawn.

The threat of rain held the crowd of worshipers to half the number expected, said Ahmed El-Gabalawy, who was in charge of arrangements for the Eid al-Fitr prayers and delivered the main message at the gathering.

A large tent erected the night before kept the ground dry for about 80% of the faithful.

This year was the first time the sponsoring Islamic Center of Northridge had agreed to announce weeks in advance the expected dates for Ramadan’s beginning and end based on astronomical calculations.


Muslims traditionally mark the start of each lunar month for religious purposes by sightings of the new crescent moon and on reports from the Middle East as well as this country. But the trend among major Islamic centers has been to rely increasingly on the predetermined phases of the moon’s light and shadow, partly to rule out “sightings” unjustified by what is known scientifically, according to Islamic leaders.

Thus, the Islamic Center of Northridge joined 14 mosques from Orange County and the South Bay to Claremont in signing an agreement ruling out an early start and end to Ramadan.

Nevertheless, based on sightings in the Middle East, mosques in Anaheim, West Los Angeles, Culver City and Riverside ended Ramadan with Eid prayers on Thursday, said El-Gabalawy.

El-Gabalawy, who is also religious activities chairman for the Islamic Center of Southern California, said that objections have been raised in the Muslim community against dependence on astronomy rather than traditional sightings. “We expect they will get used to it in a few years,” he said.