In the first place, we wish all Muslims throughout the world a happy and blessed `Eid. May Allah Almighty accept our good deeds, fasting, and all acts of worship in these blessed days.
All Muslims should do their utmost to achieve unity in all aspects, especially in such joyous occasions. Undoubtedly, it is against the spirit of Islam to see Muslims divided in their rituals and their Islamic dates and events.
To put an end to the dilemma you have referred to in your question, we can say that Muslims everywhere should fast Wednesday as the Day of `Arafah. As for the `Eid prayer, the principle is that every community should unite around one of the two opinions of either Thursday or Friday.
Dr. Salah Sultan, President of the American Center for Islamic Research, Columbus, Ohio, and Manager of the Center for Fatwa and Islamic Education in Columbus, Ohio, states the following: After researching the Islamic texts and the religious opinions from the scholars in Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2005, and the opinions of the scholars in America, I have reached the following conclusions:

1. Fasting the Day of `Arafah should be done on Wednesday, January 19, 2005.
2. It is permissible to perform the `Eid Prayer on Thursday, January 20, 2005 or on Friday, January 21.
These conclusions are based on the following evidence:
1. Even though I have more to say about how my fellow scholars and brothers in Saudi Arabia establish the sighting of the new moon, particularly in that they don’t consider astronomical evidence to the contrary, I believe that we should all follow Saudi Arabia regarding the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah. This is because they determine when people stand at `Arafah, and Hajj is the stand at `Arafah, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated.
2. We must fast Wednesday as the Day of `Arafah for the following reasons:

a. It is clearly haram (forbidden) to fast the `Eid day. There is conflicting evidence as to whether the `Eid should be Thursday or Friday. So based on the juristic rule “certainty is not removed with doubt,” we should fast Wednesday so that if we happen to be wrong we don’t accidentally fast the `Eid day.


    • Since we all believe that the millions of Muslims who are at `Arafah will have their Hajj accepted, we should also consider the fasting of Muslims on Wednesday correct. Remember that being at `Arafah is a


    or a basic pillar of Hajj, while fasting on that day is encouraged. Remember also that in the beginning and end, acceptance of good deeds is up to Allah Almighty.

As for the `Eid Prayer, the principle is that every community should unite around one of the two opinions of either Thursday or Friday, based on the following evidence:
1. The authentic hadith reported by At-Tirmithi that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), is reported to have said, Iftar [`Eid Al-Fitr] is when the people break their fast and [`Eid Al-]Adha is when the people make their sacrifice.”
2. It is permissible to perform the `Eid Prayer on the second day. This is based on the following narration: Some travelers came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) (in the afternoon) and they testified that they had seen the hilal (new moon) (for the end of Ramadan) the previous night. So the Messenger of Allah “commanded everyone to break their fast and go out to the `Eid Prayer the next morning” (An-Nasa’i, Abu Dawud, and Darqutni with a good chain of narration).
For this reason the majority of Muslim jurists, with the exception of the Malikis, see that it is permissible to have the `Eid Prayer on the second day if there is an excuse. Others, like the Hanafis, even held the opinion that it is permissible on any of the Days of Tashreeq (the two or three days after Dhul-Hijjah 10) because it is permissible to throw the stones and make the sacrifice on those days.
There is complete agreement among scholars that the Muslim community is required to remain united.
1. As for the ruling regarding the two `Eid Prayers (i.e., `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha), scholars differed about it. The Hanafi opinion is that the two `Eid Prayers are required for everyone who would normally go to the weekly Friday Prayers. The Hanbali School takes the opinion that it is a communal obligation so that if a few do it, it drops the requirement on everyone else. As for the Maliki and Shafi`i schools, they consider it only a sunnah. In fact, Ibn Rushid said that those who considered it obligatory meant that it is an obligatory sunnah and not that it is obligatory.
2. Some Muslims have already rented halls and scheduled days
off, expecting the `Eid to be on Friday, and they are unable to change it at this time. So there is nothing wrong with them making their `Eid Prayer on Friday.
Based on the above, I believe that fasting the Day of `Arafah should be done on Wednesday. I also believe that the `Eid Prayer is valid if it is done on Thursday or Friday, but it must be done without fighting or splitting the community. Remember that Allah will not accept a recommended good deed (the `Eid Prayer) until the required deeds are done (keeping unity in the community).