In recent history, there are four major moon sighting camps that have evolved in North America or shall we call them the “The four schools of moon sighting thought”? We’ll stick with calling them the four camps for now.
Camp #1: This is the camp of the majority of the traditionalists. They firmly follow the local moon sighting position. The constituents of this camp are none other than the majority of the Deobandi ulama (scholars) and mosques, all the Barelwi ulama (scholars), until recently the ISNA and ICNA organizations (although for the month of Dhul-Hijjah they switched to Camp #2), some Shia, the Zaytuna Institute in California and other traditional leaning individuals and organizations.
Camp #2: This is the Saudi moon sighting camp. Although, they tend to portray themselves as followers of the global sighting position, in reality they only determine their Islamic dates according to the moon sighting announcements made all the way in Saudi Arabia. This group does not accept the moon sighting of any other country except Saudi Arabia therefore in essence they do not follow global sighting because as proven in the past, they have rejected the moon sightings in Morocco, Italy, and even the United States. Also, another interesting point is that Saudi Arabia follows the local sighting position. So let’s say the Saudi’s were in North America, we would place them in Camp #1. It doesn’t get more complicated than this. Actually it does. Read on.
Camp #3: True followers of the traditional global sighting position. I have personally come across only one major scholar from Syria who says he follows this position. I have yet to see any organized group or mosque in North America follow this position. If you do know of any please email moonsightingdebate[at]gmail.com to inform us.
Camp #4: This is the brand new camp. The latest edition to the world of moon fighting. In an attempt to unite the entire muslim ummah in the whole world and of course little convenient things such as being able to get a designated Eid holiday from the govenment, this camp has declared a five year pre-determined Islamic calendar based solely on astronomical calculations. They have ruled that the actual sighting of the moon which was has been practised by the majority of muslims in the 1400 year history of Islam has to be disregarded.
In a nutshell, the above four camps are leading the moon sighting debate in North America. Each claims to have the Quran and the Sunnah on their side. While the local v.s. global sighting difference is widely accepted as a valid difference, as you can easiy see Camp’s #2 and #4 clearly do not fall into this category therefore one will encounter wide spread criticism of both Camps by reputable traditional Ulama (scholars).