The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha was originally envisioned as starting Wednesday night. But that changed about 10 days ago — bringing with it major ramifications for the rent control issue in Minneapolis.

On Wednesday, a minority of City Council members were able to essentially prevent any rent control question from appearing on the November ballot because the council's three Muslim members were absent. They were celebrating Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice honoring Ibrahim's devotion to Allah.

The council meeting was initially scheduled over a year ago for Wednesday to accommodate the festival, which was then anticipated to happen on Thursday — when the council typically meets.

But here's the issue: Eid al-Adha was anticipated as being observed during the day Thursday — but not guaranteed to actually fall then.

Unlike Christian or Jewish holidays, some Muslim holidays don't have a date certain known well in advance — for some Muslims. Eid is one of them. For some followers of Islam, the date for Eid is based on the sighting — by human eyes — of a new crescent moon rising above the horizon. And yes, cloud cover can play a role in that.

Astronomical calculations of the lunar cycles can pick an exact date — and other Muslims follow that measure. That's also the basis for websites, governments and calendar-makers around the globe to mark the holiday. This year, that calculation meant the four-day holiday would begin Wednesday evening, making Thursday a day of celebration.

That's how the Minneapolis City Clerk's office determined — and the City Council adopted — a calendar that placed this week's meeting on Wednesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, some websites still listed the holiday as beginning Wednesday evening.

"But the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans follow the moon sighting," said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), noting the custom of many Muslims from East Africa who have settled here. "Most of the times the calculation version is the same, but sometimes it's different by a day."

That's what happened this year.

On June 18, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia announced that the new crescent moon had been sighted, meaning that Eid al-Adha would begin 10 days later — a proclamation that essentially set the date for most Minneapolis Muslims, including the three council members.

The relatively late-breaking nature of some Muslim holidays has prompted local governments to scramble before. In April, the Minneapolis school board canceled a day of classes on fewer than two weeks notice when the observance of Eid al-Fitr was determined to be a day earlier than anticipated.