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Prior to the advent of electricity, every night held the possibility of a celestial light show. People in even the most urban environments were exposed to the awe and majesty of the heavens, which clearly "proclaim the glory of God." The contemplation of the celestial orbs and their movements provided early man with the most direct connection to his Lord. In the Qur'anic story of Abraham, it is his observance of heavenly phenomena that leads him to his certainty of God's unity and transcendence. Since the time of the Seljuq Turks, the crescent moon has been a sign of Islam.
For Muslims in North America, there has been much confusion regarding when Ramadan begins, when to fast, and when to break the fast. Hamza Yusuf provides clarity through this detailed and scholarly work that decisively makes the case for sighting the crescent moon with the naked eye, as has been the Islamic tradition for 1400 years. This is essential reading for anyone seeking guidance on this important and sacred matter.
Born in Washington State and raised in Northern California, Hamza Yusuf became Muslim in 1977, after which he traveled to the Muslim world. He studied for ten years in the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, and in North and West Africa, and received teaching licenses in various Islamic subjects. He then returned to the United States and earned degrees in Religious Studies and Health Care. He has traveled all over the world giving talks on Islam. In 1996 he founded the Zaytuna Institute, which is committed to presenting a classical picture of Islam in the West and reviving traditional study methods and the sciences of Islam. In 2009 he co-founded Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California, America's first accredited Muslim institution of higher learning. Yusuf is the first American lecturer to teach in the Qarawiyin, Morocco's most prestigious and oldest university. In addition, he has translated into modern English several classical Arabic traditional texts and poems. He currently resides in Northern California with his wife and five children.