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The Issue Of Moon Sighting

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Fatwa by: Ustad-Ul-Hadith Hazrat Maulana Mufti Muneer Ahmad Akhoon


"Ramadaan is when all of you keep the fast, Eid-Ul-Fitr is when all of you celebrate the Eid, and Eid-Ul-Adha is when all of you do the sacrifices,…” (Tirmizi, Abu Dawud)

According to Imam Tirmizi (RA), the meaning of this Hadith is that all of us should get united in Ramadan and Eid by celebrating with the majority!


Unity in Ramadan & Eid is the aspiration of the Ahadeeth, & the verdict of the majority of the jurists of Islam – Imam Abu Hanifa (RA), & ImamAhmed Bin Humble (RA)


Global moon sighting is the exact requisite of Shariah and Sunnah and the consensus of all sects: Deobani, Bareilvi , Ahle Hadith, etc.


Muslims in America and Canada should make “Mecca” as their center and celebrate Ramadan and Eid because of the sighting of Mecca is in accordance with Sheriah.


Excerpted From a pamphlet we were given today after Friday prayer.

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The above is a short part of the pamphlet. I would've scanned the document and posted it here, alas I can't do that do to site restrictions. I had to scan the document and enable OCR so I could copy and paste the text. Here's the remainder of the full first page.




Question: Honorable Mufti Muneer Ahmed Akhoon (Damatbarakatuhum)! Asalaam Aleykum WaRehmatullah! What is the statement of the scholars of Islam and the Mufties, in this matter: Celebration of Ramadhan and Eid has become a very controversial issue in America, due to which the common people have become a victim of utter confusion and distress. The reason being, that in the matter of moon sighting three groups have formed. The first group attempts to sight the moon in North America by themselves, for this purpose they have formulated several committees. The second group uses calculations to forecast the moon, and they inform the public of their findings by specifying the dates in advance for commemorating the Ramadhan and celebrating the Eids. The third group trusts the announcements made by Saudi Arab, and base their celebration of Eids and Ramadhan on it. Now the situation has become so worse that in every city, town, community and avenue we observe an alarming condition of chaos. The conflicts have increased to such an extent that in the same household the husband is celebrating Eid and the wife is fasting, similarly a brother is fasting and the sister is celebrating Eid. On the day of happiness there is an atmosphere of discontent. Muslims of Baltimore in specific and generally all over America, the majority of the Muslims base their Eid and Ramadhan on the news from Saudi Arab. The minority tries to sight the moon locally. Now the question is that in order to unite the Muslim Ummah and save them from this conflicts, can we adopt the moon sighting of Saudi Arab or not? I am presenting to you some of the fatawa, among these fatawa the most important fatwa is from Darul Uloom Karachi, Pakistan. I kindly request you to please give a detailed response in this matter, and clarify the doubts presented against the moon sighting of Saudi Arab. This is my desire that through your fatwa, this Ummah receives a gift of unity in the celebration of Ramadhan and Eid. Ameen!, May Allah accept my dua. Yours Sincerely, Aafaz Ahmed, Baltimore, USA. March 23rd, 2011.


Answer: According to Quran, Hadith and majority of the Fuqaha-e-Islam, there is no consideration given to the differences in horizon, meaning that the method of Global Moon Sighting is the exact requisite of Shariah and Sunnah. Therefore, if moon is sighted in any part of the world and its news is transmitted to distant places according to the rules of Shariah, then Muslims all around the world should commemorate Ramadhan and Eid on the same day. Such a practice will be a glorified display of universal brotherhood and unity of Ummah, as everyone will be celebrating the joy of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha on the same day. This is exactly in accordance to the objective of Rasool Allah Sal'Aliahu Alyehe Wa'salam. The order of the same has been given in the 29 Ahahdith found in the six Saheeh Books of Hadith (Sahah Sitta). Hence, it is narrated from Rasool Allah Sal'Allahu Alyehe Wa'salam: "Sight the moon and begin fast, sight the moon and celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, and sight the moon to do the sacrifices, and if the horizon is cloudy then complete thirty days of the month." (Saheeh Bukhari, Nissai). In all of the Ahadith on this topic, Rasool Allah Sal'Aliahu Alyehe Wa'salam, has made a general order to the entire Ummah, when any of the Muslim gives the witness, you should begin the fast, celebrate the Eid, and do the sacrifices. No matter where in the world the witness is residing, whether he may be in the East or the West, the only condition is that the news of the witness should be communicated to other nations according to the rules laid down by the Shariah. Due to the advanced communication systems this process is very convenient in the current times (Kafayatul Mufti Vol.4, pg. 234). For these reasons, among the four great Imams, three prominent Imams namely Imam Abu Hanifa (RA), Imam Malik (RA), and Imam Ahmed Ibn Hunmble (RA) and in fact even among some Shafaee scholars and majority of latter Hanafia scholars, all are convinced of Global Moon Sighting (dismiss differences of Horizon). To the extent that the Fatwa of all the sects, Deobandi, Bareilvi, Ahle Hadith, etc. are convinced about it. In order to resolve the conflicts especially in America and Europe the most practical Sharaee solution is to establish Makkah as the center for declaring the global sighting of the moon, this shall suffice as the principal guide. All the four schools of thought namely Fiqah Hanafia, Fiqah Maliki, Fiqah Shafee and Fiqah Hunmbaly, unanimously agree on the rules adopted by the scholars of Makkah and Medina to declare the sighting of the moon. Hence the prominent scholars of all sects are convinced about it. It is only Alamah Subqi (RA) among the Shafaee scholars and Ibn Muqatil Hanafi (RA), who oppose to their methodology. Making Makkah as the central authority for declaring the sighting of the moon for the whole world will result in unifying the entire Ummah in celebration of Ramadhan and Eid. This will be exactly in accordance to Shariah, Sunnah and consensus of the majority of the jurists of Islam. Contrary to this, if the opinions of a few are staunchly implemented, it is bound to create conflicts. Certainly this is not the appropriate course of action. On this premises, the most prominent scholars of our times, namely the Grand Mufti of Pakistan Mufti Rafi Usmani, Shaikh-ul-Islam Maulana Mufti Taqi Usmani, the Grand Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband Mufti Nizam-ud-deen Aazmi, the President of Darul Uloom Deoband Mufti Habib-ur-Rehman, Mufti Muhammad Yahya of Mazahir-e-Uloom Saharanpoor, and a large number of renowned .scholars have ratified the rules, based on which the Saudi scholars accept the witnesses and declare moon sighting and therefore they have given complete confidence in following the moon sighting of Saudi Arab. Even more, in an international conference of Rabta Alam-e-islami held in Mecca from February 11th_13th, 2012 that was attended by a large number of Arab and Non-Arab scholars, it was declared that this method is better, whereby if the moon is sighted in the East and its evidence is transmitted to any nation in the West, then this sighting should be implemented in the western nations. (Note: Saudi Arab is on our west, hence the evidence of a witness from there should be taken into account and implementing it is not only permissible but a better method.) More than 30 highest ranking scholars and Mufties, have signed the written document that affirms the Saudi moon sighting method as completely compliant to the rules of Shariah. In fact, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arab, Shiekh Abdul Aziz bin Baz and the Imam of Kaba, Shiekh Muhammad Abdullah AI-Sabeel, have stated that the moon sighting of Saudi Arab is exactly in accordance to the rules of Shariah, and have strongly condemned all those who spread false propaganda against them. Hence, those who have objections against the Saudi moon sighting, are in reality abandoning the simple rules of Sunnah and the consensus of the four Imams, and adding astronomical calculations in the process of moon sighting. They have no proof and evidence from Sunnah or Shariah for doing so. (Kifayatul Mufti Vol. 4, pg. 224) (Fatawa Rizwiya by Ala Hazrat Maulana Ahmed Raza Khan Bareivli Vol. 18. Pg. 328) (Fatawa Usmani Vol.31 Pg.165 by Mufti TaqiUsmani) (Nawadir-AI-Fiqah Vo1.2/pg78,by Mufti Rafi Usmani) (Fatawa Shami Vol.31 Pg. 354-355 [Fiqah Hanafi)), (Sharah Mahzab Vol.61 Pg.28 [Fiqah Shafi)) (Muwahib Al-Jaleel Vo1.2/Pg.387[Fiqah Maliki)), (Kitab AI-Furu Vo1.3/Pg.11[Fiqah HunmblyJ)(Sharaee Suboot-e-Hilal Pg. 181-185)(Saudi Arab ki Royat Pg.33-39).

Edited by A-H

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Page 2:


-Endorsement of Fatwa by Grand Mufti of Pakistan: Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani-


"... Since based on the above mentioned Sharaee arguments the decisions of moon sighting of Saudi Arab are valid, therefore the Muslims residing in England and America can act upon it...."

Answer: To my respected Hazrat Maulana Yaqoob Qasmi Sahib (Hafizullahu), AsalaamAleykum Wa Rehmatullah WaBarakatuhu, I have received your correspondence in regards to the moon sighting, wherein you have addressed your dissatisfaction about the system of Saudi Moon Sighting, you mentioned that the Saudi moon sighting is not in accordance to the rules of Shariah, and for this reason it is not appropriate for those residing in England and America to adopt the Saudi sightings for declaring Eids and Ramadhan. The summary of your correspondence is that in Saudi Arab, they do not take into consideration the astronomical calculations, due to which various errors take place, for instance:

1) Announcement of the moon sighting before the birth of the new moon,

2) Commencement of Ramadhan on the doubtful day and in some cases even earlier, etc.

Hence, my honorable, your opinion is that in the process of moon sighting, consideration should be given to the astronomical calculations, and that it should be incorporated by the Saudi government in its moon sighting process.

In this matter my humble response is that, after thorough contemplation on the statements of the Fiqah, it has become evident that in the process of moon sighting there is absolutely no room to include the astronomical calculations. Neither can calculations be used to affirm nor can it become a basis to deny the sighting of the moon. In the issue of moon sighting, Shariah does not give any consideration to the use of astronomical calculations. There are only three sources for this purpose: 1) Public sighting, 2) Report from a Sharaee witness (a witness that fulfills the standards of Sharia) and 3) Completing 30 days. Therefore, just like astronomical calculations can not be used to determine the sighting of the moon, similarly it can not be used to reject the reports of moon sighting. In regards to the rejecting of the reports of moon sighting, the four schools of thought are in consensus. All the four Imams agree that astronomical calculations are not a Sharaee proof, and should not be involved in the process of moon sighting. To the extent that if there is a contradiction between the astronomical calculations and a witness, then in this case if the witness fulfils the rules of Shariah, the witness should be trusted and the results of the calculations shall be dismissed. This means that the witness will not be rejected because of the astronomical calculations. Hence, this argument is a strong rebuttal to the criticism done against the Saudi Arabians that they do not take into consideration the rules of astronomical calculations, and all the blames of erroneousness arising from disregarding astronomical calculations get wiped away. This is because the bases of all criticisms are astronomical calculations.

The conclusion of all the discussion is that if the Saudi Arabians commence the Ramadhan and Eid based on the witness that complies with the rules of Shariah then it is valid. Although it might happen that their decision to accept the witness is correct according to their Fiqh but may go against the rules of astronomy. Since based on the above mentioned Sharaee arguments the decisions of moon sighting of Saudi Arab are valid, therefore the Muslims residing in England and America can act upon it. Given that the reports of the sightings reach to them according to the well known rules of Shariah. And if they depend upon the sighting of Morocco, then that too is valid for them.

In order to eliminate conflicts and disputes, the local scholars should put aside all their differences and formulate a solution for choosing one of the two countries, for making decisions. This will end all conflicts and will rid the frustration of the masses who have started to curse against religion and people of religion, it will also save us from becoming the laughing stock in front of the non-Muslims. And if finding a common solution does not seem to be possible then, in this case, those who consider the sightings of Saudi as valid, should not be ridiculed of following falsehood. Similarly, those who rely on the sightings of Morocco should not be criticized. This method could also be a way of blocking the source of Fitna and conflicts. Note: "My honorable, you had mentioned at the end of your letter that the Saudi's do not rely on the visual sightings of the moon, and base their decisions on the non-visible moon from astronomical calculations ... " This statement of my honorable is contradictory to the criticism made in the opening of the letter that the Saudi's don't take into regards any astronomical calculations. The conclusion of all the criticisms is that the Saudi's disregard astronomical calculations and do not give any consideration to calculations in determining the Ramadhan and Eids. (Allah knows the best). Darullfta, Darul Uloom Karachi (2/ZiIHaj 1421)

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Page 3:


1) Fatwa from Fazil Barelvi Aala Hazrat Moulana Ahmad Raza Khan (RA)


Question 230: (related to moon sighting at Bahraich city in India): If the moon (crescent) of Ramadan was observed on 29th of the Sha'aban in Makkat al-Mukarramah or in the areas those are distantly located from India, for example, the moon (crescent) was not observed on the same day in Bahraich (Indian city) but it was observed on the next day (30th of Sha'aban). So the Muslims of Bahraich began fasting one day late than Makkat al-Mukarramah. In this situation when it is clearly known that Ramdhan has already started in Makkat al-Mukarramah and the other parts of the world, would it be considered compulsory for the Muslims of Bahraich that they should make a compensation for missing the 1st Fast (with respect to Makkat al-Mukarramah or other parts of the world where the moon was observed 1 day earlier) by performing a Qaza Rozah at some other time? Someone, say person "Zaid ", can argue that the evidence of sighting moon from far away areas would not be considered authentic for implementing it in the local areas, it would be acceptable only if the moon (crescent) is obse rvable in the local areas too, therefore it is not compulsory to make it up for the Qaza Rozah. Whereas the other person, say person "Urnar", contradicts with the argument of Zaid, and says that the people have to make compensation by having a Qaza Rozah (one extra Rozah at some later time) because they missed 1st day of Ramadan with respect to the countries where people started fasting one day earlier than them.


Answer: According to Aala Hazrat (RA), the person "Umar" is right. If the moon (crescent) is sighted in a distant place like Makkah Mukaramah on the 29th of Shabaan, then since the people of Barahich did not fast on the same day, it will be compulsory for them to compensate for the missed fast. According to the school of thought of our Imams', the correct verdict is that in the matter of moon sighting no consideration is given to the differences of the horizons. If the moon is sighted in the East then it is incumbent for the West to follow upon it, and if sighted in the West then the East has to follow it. But the evidence should be in conformance to the rules of Shariah. (After this) Aala Hazrat (RA) presents a reference of Dur-e-Mukhtar: "Differences of Horizons are not accountable according to our school of thought, and upon this fatwa the majority of the scholars agree... )


(It is absolutely clearly mentioned in the book of Aala Hazrat (RA) scholar of Bareili, Fatawa Rizvia Vol. 18, that if the Shariee news of moon sighting from Makkat al- Mukarramah/Harmain Shareefain is received in India or anywhere in the world be it America, Canada, or Europe then according to Ala Hazrat (RA) it is compulsory for them to act upon it, and to compensate for the missed fast. (paraphrased) (Saboot-e-HilaI65)


2) Fatwa of Mufti Habib-ur-Rehman, Grand Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband, India:


In response to a question regarding the Saudi moon sighting, the grand Mufti Darul Uloom Deoband, states that: "Since long, this humble servant has been very well aware that in Saudi Arabia the lunar months of Ramadhan and Eid are not based on any astronomical calculations. In fact these months are determined solely on Sharaee Witness, and the established method as laid out by the Shariah, and accordingly the ebadaah are done. Hence, when in 1983 the article of Zia-ud-deen Lahori, was published against the Saudi sightings, I had considered it to be wrong and doubtful. Immediately after that, numerous rebuttals were presented by the scholars of Saudi Arabia that completely clarified the entire situation. It is appropriate to say that Muslims all around the world have a special place in their hearts for Hijaz because the Haramain is located there. Similarly it will also be apt to give the due regards to the government of Saudi Arabia because it is abiding by the rules of Quran and Sunnah. And when in our localities on the eve of the 29th Shaban, if we receive the news (according to the rules of Shariah) that the Saudi's have sighted the moon, then to follow it is permissible for us." Allah knows the best.

At another place he states, "Someone from England had written to me that in Saudi Arabia the moon sighting is based on the astronomical calculation. I had replied to him, that if in reality this is the case then the moon sighting of the Saudi will be invalid. After this, the fatwa of Shiekh Abdullah bin Baz from Darul Ifta Riyadh, was published, declaring that we do not give any consideration to the astronomical calculations and in fact rely solely on the principles laid by the Ahadeeth, and take the Sharaee witness to announce the moon sighting. Because of this fa twa , I retracted my opinion and sent my new statement to those who had asked me the question earlier, now if they still continue to spread my prior statement, it will be very unjust. Anyhow your (Hizbul Ulema and Jameeyat-e-Ulema, England) unity is a very blessed step, may Allah accept your endeavors and give the ability to always stay within the limits of Shariah and continue to be united. Allah knows the best." (Note: Soon after the unity among the scholars, one of the most devious persons had tried to cause discord among the united Ulema of England by spreading a fake new fatwa photocopied from the old fa twa of Hazrat. To counter this act we approached Hazrat, who then.gave us the above mentioned reply.)


3) Barakat-tul-Asr Hazrat Shiekh-ul-Hadees Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalwi:


Just this year in Ramadhaan I (Dr. Abdullah Abbaas Nadwi) had summarised the biography of Hadhrat Moulana Zakariyya "Aap Beeti", The last ten years of Moulana's life were spent in Hijaaz and mainly in Madinah Munawwarah. Mention of the moon for Ramadhaan, Eid and Hajj is made repeatedly and in the discourses of the Honored Shaikh it is established that the declaration of any date is not based on calculations but rather on testimony on the sighting of the crescent.

The Honored Shaikh spent the first half of Ramadhaan 1389 AH in Makkah Mukarramah and the second half in Madinah Munawwarah in which he spent the last 10 nights in I'tikaaf (religiously confined) in the Masjidun Nabawi. In No.4 of Aap Beeti he had written that I'tikaaf was observed from the evening of 20 Ramadhaan .... The moon was sighted on the 29th. After Esha Salaah the Qaadhi made an announcement in an excited voice that the sighting of the moon has been established by testimony according to Shari'ah and Ramadhaan has come to an end. (Aap Beti Nol.4/Pg.294 )

In Aap Beti NO.7 whilst making mention of his stay in Madinah Munawwarah during Ramadhaan 1393 AH he states: Since the sighting of the moon was established late the Qur'aan was not commenced on the first night so was started on the second night. (Aap Beeti No!.7/Pg.31) Mentioning the Hajj of 1397 AH in Aap Beeti NO.7 he states: During Dhul Hijjah an announcement was made on TV etc that a change has occurred to the date and Hajj will be on 19th Dhul Hijjah rather than 20th. (Aap Beeti No!.7/Pg.235)

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It is obvious that the reason for this change in date was due to the fact that the testimony on the sighting of the moon a day before the start of Dhul Hijjah was only drawn-up after the month had started. If the decision of any sighting was done by computer generated calculations there would be no possibility for this sort of change in date or to draw-up the testimony so late. There are numerous other examples of this sort in Aap Beeti of the Honored Shaikh. Anyway, after these sort of things are presented there remains no doubt of the fact that the decision and announcement of the lunar dates in Saudi Arabia is based on the testimony provided on the moon being sighted which is the correct method according to Shari'ah. Allah speaks the truth and it is He who guides to the straight path. (hizbululama(dot-org-dot-uk))


4) Fatwa of Grand Mufti of Saudia: Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baaz:


The claim that a prize is offered to the person who comes forth first with a sighting of the moon in conformance to the forecast of the common calendar is incorrect and rather a lie from the lies of those who are jealous of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The start of a month in the Kingdom is based on the physical sighting of the moon and not on the forecast because those are based on astronomy-generated calculations used for administrative purposes only and when these calculations are in conflict with the physical sighting of the moon then the sighting is considered and not the forecast of the Ummul Quraa calendar. There are many famous examples to prove this.


For More Information Visit: MuftiMuneer(dot-org); Hizbululama(dot-org-dot-uk)

Edited by A-H

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