Home > Fiqh issues, Ibaadah > The ‘ulamaa on blindly following the Saudi hilaal sighting for people in other places

The ‘ulamaa on blindly following the Saudi hilaal sighting for people in other places


Crescent moon 4

The ‘ulamaa on blindly following the Saudi hilaal sighting for people in other places

Blindly following the Saudi hilaal sighting for people in other parts of the world while ignoring other countries or their own local sighting

Al-‘allaamah al Faqeeh Muhammad ibn saalih al-‘Uthaimeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about some people who worked in the Saudi embassy in a foreign country, who said that they were having a problem concerning the fast of Ramadaan and the fast on the day of ‘Arafah. The brothers there had split into three groups:

One group said: we will fast with Saudi and break the fast with Saudi.

Another group said: we will fast with the country where we are living and break the fast with them.

The last group said: we will fast Ramadaan with the country where we are living, but we will fast the day of ‘Arafah with Saudi.

They asked the Shaykh to provide them with a detailed answer concerning the Ramadaan fast and fasting the day of ‘Arafah, whilst noting that for the past five years, in the country where they were living neither Ramadaan nor the day of ‘Arafah had been observed on the same days as in Saudi; their Ramadaan started one or two days after it had been announced in Saudi, and sometimes three days after.

He replied:
In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) differed concerning the issue when the moon is sighted in one part of the Muslim world and not in another: do all the Muslims have to act on the basis of that, or only those who sighted it and the people who live in the same region, or only those who sighted it and the people who live under the same government? There are many different points of view.

The most correct view is that the matter should be referred to those who have knowledge of it. If the moon rises at the same point for two countries they become like one country, so if it is sighted in one of them that ruling applies to the other. But if the rising points differ, then each country has its own ruling. This is the view favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him); this is the apparent meaning of the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah and what is implied by analogy.

In the Qur’aan it says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allaah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” [al-Baqarah 2:185]

What is implied by this verse is that whoever does not see it is not obliged to fast.

In the Sunnah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you see it (the new moon) then fast, and when you see it, break your fast.” What is implied by this hadeeth is that if we did not see it we are not obliged to fast or to break the fast.

With regard to analogy, the times for starting and ending the fast each day should be worked out in each country on its own, according to the local times of sunrise and sunset. This is a point on which there is scholarly consensus. So you see the people in east Asia starting their fast before the people of west Asia, and breaking their fast before them, because dawn breaks for the former before the latter, and the sun sets for the former before the latter.
Once this is established with regard to the times for starting and ending the daily fast, it also applies to the start and end of the monthly fast. There is no difference between them.

But if many regions come under the same government, and the ruler gives the command for the fast to start or end, then his command must be followed, because this is a matter of scholarly dispute but the command of the ruler dispels that dispute.

Based on the above, you should fast and break your fast along with the people of the country where you are living, whether that is in accordance with your country of origin or not. Similarly on the day of ‘Arafah you should follow the country where you are living.

by Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, 28/8/1420 AH. Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 19.

Narration:
Saheeh Muslim Book 6 Hadeeth 2391

CHAPTER: THERE IS A SIGHTING OF THE MOON FOR EVERY TOWN; THE SIGHTING AT ONE TOWN CANNOT BE HELD VALID FOR THE OTHER TOWN SITUATED AT A CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE FROM IT

Kuraib reported that Umm Fadl, daughter of Harith, sent him (Fadl, i. e. her son) to Mu’awiya in Syria. I (Fadl) arrived in Syria, and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to Medina at the end of the month. Abdullah b. ‘Abbas (Allaah be pleased with him) asked me (about the new moon of Ramadan) and said: When did you see it? I said.: We saw it on the night of Friday. He said: (Did) you see it yourself? -I said: Yes, and the people also saw it and they observed fast and Mu’awiya also observed fast, whereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. So we would continue to observe fast till we complete thirty (lasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sighting of the moon by Mu’awiyah not valid for you? He said: No; this is how the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) has commanded us. Yahya b. Yahya was in doubt (whether the word used in the narration by Kuraib) was Naktafi or Taktafi.”

Shaikh Abdul Azeen bin Baaz, raheemahullaah, commendted on this narration:

“It was proven from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that when Kurayb told him that the people of Syria had started fasting on a Friday, Ibn ‘Abbaas said: We saw it on Saturday, and we will carry on fasting until we see the new moon or we complete thirty days. He did not follow the sighting of the people of Syria because Syria is far away from Madeenah and there may be a difference in moonsighting between the two. He (may Allaah be pleased with him) thought that this was a matter that was subject to ijtihaad. You have a good example to follow in Ibn ‘Abbaas and the scholars who followed him and said that you should fast with the people of your country and break the fast with them. And Allaah is the Source of strength.” Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanwwi’ah (15/100-102)

Today we see many masaajid and organizations throughout the world that restrict themselves only to Saudi Arabia’s hilaal announcement, ignoring other countries’ sightings or even ignoring their own local sighting. There is no evidence in restricting to the sighting of one specific nation unless one is in that nation, as Shaikh Ibn Baaz raheemahullaah and others have mentioned. If a community is following the international sighting (wahdatul mataali’), any country’s sighting could be used, not just Saudi’s. Yet we have those who only wait for only the Saudi decision, even in other countries like USA or Canada.

If one day the moon is not sighted in Saudi, but on the same day it is seen in USA, will these people in the USA ignore their own sighting where they are, and go with Saudi Arabia?

Another excellent bayaan by shaikh ibn Uthaimeen, who had vast knowledge of deen and modern science

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen:
al-Aqalliyaat al-Muslimah – Page 84, Fatwa No.23

Question: Should we fast and end our fast according to the sighting of the new moon in Saudi Arabia or should we do it according to the sighting of the new moon in the country where we are

Response: There are as many as six different opinions amongst the scholars concerning this issue. However, there are two main points of view. The first is that everyone should sight the moon in their own country and those countries where the moon rises at the same time should follow them. The reason for this is that the time at which the moon rises, varies from place to place. The second opinion is that the beginning of the new month need only be confirmed in any one of the Muslim countries. If the sighting of the new moon is confirmed in any Muslim country, it is then obligatory for all Muslims to use that sighting to begin the fast of Ramadhaan or end it. According to this last opinion, if the new month is confirmed in Saudi Arabia it is obligatory upon all Muslims, in all parts of the world, to fast if it is the beginning of Ramadhaan and to end their fast if it is the beginning of Shawwaal. This is the most common opinion held by the followers of the madhhab of Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.
However, the first opinion is more correct because of the evidence in the Qur.aan, Sunnah and because of analogy. With regards to the Qur.aan, Allaah

(Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) says:
{The month of Ramadaan in which was revealed the Qur.aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever witnesses the month should fast it…}, [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 185].

This last sentence is a conditional sentence, and the ruling contained in a conditional sentence is established for whomever the condition applies to and it is annulled for anyone for whom the condition does not apply. So the sentence: «Whoever witnesses the month should fast it» implies that whoever does not witness it does not fast it.

It is well known amongst astronomers that the time the moon rises differs from place to place. The moon might be seen in one place and not in another.

Therefore, according to the verse, whoever does not see it is not obliged to fast.

With regards to the Sunnah, the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:
«If you sight it (the new moon of Ramadaan), then fast and if you sight it (the new moon of Shawaal),then end the fast. And if it is obscured from you, then complete thirty days (of Sha’baan»).
He (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:
«If you sight it».

He therefore linked the ruling to the sighting and if a ruling is linked to an effective cause, then that ruling is annulled in the absence of that cause.
With regards to analogy, we say that in as much as the times for beginning the fast and breaking the fast every day vary from place to place so, in the same way, the times for the beginning and ending of the monthly fast also vary. We here in Riyadh, for example, begin our fast every day before the people in Al-Hijaaz and we also break our fast before they do. It is, therefore, obligatory upon us to start fasting while they are still eating. On the other hand, at the end of the day we are eating while they are still fasting. If, therefore, each place has its own ruling due to the variation in the time that the sun rises and sets, the same also applies due to the variation in the time that the moon rises and sets.

Therefore, the answer to the question is clear. It is obligatory for you to follow the sighting of the new moon in the place where you are.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen
al-Aqalliyaat al-Muslimah – Page 84, Fatwa No.23
Published: 9 October 2000

reposted from http://aloloom.net/vb/showthread.php?t=9541&p=37723

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