Monday, September 18, 2006

The obligation of beginning of Ramadhan when the moon is sighted in any country

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِوَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ

"Ramadhan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and as a criterion (al-Furqan)" [TMQ Al Baqarah: 185]

Unfortunately the reality today is that people begin Ramadhan on different days and have Eid on different days even in one country and one city. We must understand the reasons why people differ on this matter, the arguments they put forward and the hukm shari regarding this matter according to the Islamic evidences.

It is important to understand that the sources of Shariah for us are the Quran & Sunnah fundamentally. Our emotions, public opinion, the view of the majority, norms, customs, etc do not determine the shariah rules. The Prophet (saw) said: "Whoever speaks about the Qur'an without knowledge, then let him prepare for himself his seat in the fire." [Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Nisai & Ibn Jarir]

We need to remember the statement of Ibn Masud (ra): “The Jama’a is Haq (truth) even if it is one person”.

The unification of the day in which the fast begins and the day in which Eid begins for all the Muslims world-wide is a duty which Allah has prescribed upon them and one of the aspects of their unity. Allah (swt) has clearly and specifically determined in the Shari'ah texts the day of fasting and the day of Eid.

Allah (swt) says:

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَنْ تَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهَا وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَى وَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهَا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

“They ask you about the crescents. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in the affairs of men and for pilgrimage.” [TMQ 2:189]

فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ

“Whoever witnesses the crescent of the month, he must fast the month." [TMQ 2:185]

Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Abdullah Ibnu Omar (may Allah be pleased with them) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) mentioned Ramadhan and said: "Do not fast till you see the new moon, and do not break fast till you see it; but if the weather is cloudy complete it (thirty days)."

Muslim also reported on the authority of Abdullah Ibnu Omar (R) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) made mention of Ramadhan and with a gesture of his hand said: "The month is thus and thus. (He then withdrew His thumb at the third time indicating 29). He then said: Fast when you see it, and break your fast when you see it, and if the weather is cloudy do calculate it (the months of Shaban and Shawwal) as thirty days."

Bukhari reported on the authority of Ibnu Omar (R) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "The month consists of 29 nights, so do not fast till you have sighted it (i.e. the new moon), and if the weather were cloudy, then complete it as thirty days."

In the narration of Muslim, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "The month of Ramadhan may consist of twenty-nine days. So do not fast until you have sighted it (the new moon) and do not break fast, until you have sighted it (the new moon of Shawwal), and if the sky is cloudy for you, then complete it (thirty days)."

Muslim also reported on the authority of Abdullah Ibnu Omar that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “The month of Ramadhan may consist of twenty-nine days; so when you see the new moon observe fast and when you see (the new moon again at the commencement of the month of Shawwal) then break it, and if the sky is cloudy for you, then calculate it (and complete thirty days)."

These Ahadith are very clear and unequivocal, in them the Messenger of Allah (saw) orders us to fast when the sighting of the new moon of Ramadhan is confirmed, and orders us to break fast when the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal is confirmed; these orders are binding and their violation is a sinful act just like the abandoning of any other duty or the committing of an unlawful act.

The command of fasting and breaking fast is general: "Do not fast till you see it and do not break fast till you see it." - "Do fast when you it is sighted and break fast when it is sighted." The verb ‘Sumu’ ‘Do fast’ is in the plural form includes all Muslims all over the world. Furthermore, the word ‘Ruayateh’ 'sighting' has also come in a general form: "When it is sighted" or "If it is sighted."; this means that it includes any sighting, and it does not merely apply to the person who sights the new moon, nor does it specifically apply only to the people of his own country, for the address which orders the fast and the breaking of the fast is general and comprehensive, as is the address concerning the sighting, therefore, the rule is undoubtedly general.

The command is not for individual Muslims to sight the moon and then begin fasting or to make Eid based upon their personal sighting. Even the Prophet (saw) used to begin fasting when he had not personally seen the moon but a Muslim had reported to him that they had seen it. Ibn Umar (ra) reported, "During the time of the Prophet (saas), the companions went looking for the new crescent. So I told the Prophet (saw) that I saw it. So he fasted and told the companions to fast." [Abu Dawud & Hakim]

Therefore, the command of fasting and of breaking the fast when the new moon is sighted is a command which addresses all Muslims all over the world. So for example if the new moon was sighted in Rabat on Friday night, and was not sighted in Jakarta on Friday night but on Saturday night, the people of lndonesia must act upon the sighting of the new moon in Morocco, they must therefore begin the fast on Friday if the new moon was that of Ramadhan; if they did not fast that day they should compensate for that day because the obligation to fast has been confirmed by the sighting of the new moon by any Muslim anywhere in the world. Also, if the new moon was that of Shawwal, they should break their fast when news about the sighting reaches them even if they did not sight it themselves, for the moment the sighting is confirmed, they must break their fast, and it would be sinful for them to continue fasting.

Therefore, the Shari'ah rule states that if the people of one country sighted the new moon, it would be exactly as if all the Muslims have sighted it as well, therefore they should all fast if it is the new moon of Ramadhan, and they should all break fast if it is the new moon of Shawwal. This is the rule of Allah (swt) according to the Shari'ah texts.

During the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (saw), the Muslims used to begin the fast on the same day and break it on the same day despite the fact that they lived in different areas, and this serves as another Shari'ah evidence that the sighting of the new moon in one area obliges all the Muslims to fast together on the same day and break fast together on the same day.

As for the Shub'ha (controversial evidence) of those who claim that the beginning of the fast and the end of the fast i.e. the day of Eid could be different, this can be summarised in two points:

1- The first Shub'ha: They claim that to each people living in one country their sighting, for each people should follow their own times just like the times of prayer; this is why they said: The precept lies in the Matali', i.e. the time of rising (of celestial bodies). In answer to this claim we say the following: The times of prayer are subject to their scheduled times and these are different even in the one region, for the signs which the Shari'ah has specified would occur at different times; as far as fasting is concerned, this difference also applies at the time of Imsak (beginning of fast) at dawn and at the time of Iftar (end of fast) just after sunset, this is so because the text has indicated this difference: Allah (swt) says:

"And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread; Then complete your fast until the night appears" [TMQ 2:187]

The Imsak and the Iftar times differ from one place to another just like the times of prayer, which also differ from place to place, this difference happens in the one single day, however, the beginning of the month of fasting must begin on the same day all over the whole world, and the difference occurs only in the parts of the single day. This is what the texts of the Ahadith have clearly indicated; and this is what is confirmed by the understanding deduced from the Shari'ah rule. The difference in the rise of the new moon between the farthest two points in the world does not exceed twelve hours; and the classical Mujtahids (learned scholars) are excused for not understanding this deduction from the Shari'ah rule, for at the time, they were not in a position to clearly realise the movements of the earth, sun and the new moon. And now that the deduction made from the rule is understood, there are no pretexts or excuses left for those who claim that the difference in the time of rising could exceed one day, let alone those who claim that it could be even a few days. Therefore, the month of fasting begins for the Islamic Ummah all over the world on the same day and the end of the month of fasting and the beginning of Eid also occurs on the same day for all the Islamic Ummah all over the world.

2- The second Shub'ha: The second Shub'ha of those who claim that the beginning of the fast and the break of fast vary, is deduced from the narration reported by Muslim on the authority of Kurayb who reported that Umm-ul-Fadhl Bintu-l-Harith sent him to Mu'awiya in Al-Sham; he said: “I arrived in Al-Sham and did business for her (Umm-ul-Fadhl Bintu-l-Harith). It was there in Al-Sham that the month of Ramadhan commenced. I saw the new moon of Ramadhan on Friday. I then came back to Madina at the end of the month, Abdullah Ibnu Abbas (R) asked me about the new moon of Ramadhan 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 observed the fast and Mu'awiya also observed the fast; whereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. Some would continue to observe fast till we complete thirty (fasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sighting of the moon by Mu'awiya not valid for you? He said: No, this is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) has commanded us."

Those who claim that the beginning of fasting and the break of fast may vary, use this Hadith as evidence; they argue that Ibnu Abbas ignored the sighting of the people of Al-Sham and said at the end of the Hadith: This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) has commanded us. This indicated that Ibnu Abbas learnt from the Messenger of Allah (saw) that the people of one region are not obliged to act upon the sighting of another region; they also argue that this Hadith serves as a specification and an explanation of the Hadith of the sighting. They therefore claimed that the people of each region are commanded to act upon the sighting of the new moon in their region only and not in other regions, thus the beginning of fast and the beginning of Eid vary from one region to another and according to the times of rising.

The answer to this claim lies in the fact that this report is not a Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (saw) but the Ijtihad of a Sahabi, and the Ijtihad of the Sahabi is not comparable to the Hadith of the Prophet (saw). The fact that Ibnu Abbas (R) did not act upon the sighting of the people of Al-Sham reflects an Ijtihad and it cannot be used as a Shari'ah evidence; and besides, the Ijtihad is always nullified by the general Shari'ah evidence, thus the Hadith must be acted upon ahead of the Ijtihad which has to be abandoned. Furthermore, the Ijtihad of the Sahabi cannot specify the general term of the Hadith. As for the saying of Ibnu Abbas at the end of the report: "This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded us.", it is not a Hadith but merely the way Ibnu Abbas understood the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (saw) in which he (saw) said: "Fast when you see it and break fast when you see it." This indicates that Ibnu Abbas understood the Hadith as such; though he did not say:This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) reported it, nor did he say: This is how we learnt it from the Messenger of Allah (saw), but he said: This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded us.

Imam Al-Shawkani explained the Hadith as follows, he wrote in his book entitled Nayl-ul Awtar the following: "I realise that the evidence is derived from the report of Ibnu Abbas and not from his Ijtihad (exertion) which people understood as such, and what is referred in his saying: "This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded us.", is his saying (i.e. Ibnu Abbas): So we are still fasting until we complete thirty days; and the command of the Messenger of Allah (saw) lies in the Hadith extracted by the two Sheikhs (i.e. Bukhari and Muslim) among others with the following wording: "Do not fast till you see the new moon and do not break fast till you see the new moon, and if the sky were cloudy, then complete it as thirty days." And this does not specifically apply for the people of one region to the exclusion of others but to all the Muslims." [Nayl ul- Awtar, volume 4, page 268]

Therefore, what Kurayb has reported does not qualify as a Hadith, but remains as it is, i.e. an opinion of Ibnu Abbas; it does not qualify as evidence and cannot be used as such; it also cannot be used to specify the general term of a Hadith, i.e. the general evidence. Therefore the Shub'ha is nullified and its use as evidence is incorrect.

As these two Shub'has are no longer valid there remains no other Shub'ha, and only the evidence derived from the real meaning of the texts would stand, which implies that all the Muslims are commanded to fast when the new moon is sighted anywhere in the world as indicated by the clear-cut meaning of the Hadith of Allah's Messenger (saw) : "Do fast when it is sighted."

And all the Muslims are commanded to break fast when the sighting of the new moon is confirmed in any part of the world, and to make that day their Eid day as clearly indicated in the Hadith of Allah's Messenger (saw): "Do break fast when it is sighted."

Many of the classical scholars have stated this view, Imam Kasanee of the Hanafi Madhab said in his book Bada as-Sana’i that following other than one sighting for the whole Ummah is Bid’a (innovation). This indicates how weak he felt that the other Ijtihad is. Imam Juzairi said in Fiqh al Madhahib al Arba’a (The Fiqh of the four schools of thought) Volume 1 gives two views of the Hanafi’s regarding this: 1) The sighting of the moon by any Muslim should be accepted whether slave, free, man or woman without inquiring whether they are just or not, 2) The justness should be verified by a Qadi.

Darra-Mukhtar, the famous book of Hanafi Fiqh states: "If people living in the West sight the moon, it becomes obligatory for the people living in the East to act on that." [Darra-Mukhtar, Volume 1, page 149]

Ibn Taymiyyah concluded: "To summarize: a person who learns about the sighting of the moon in good time to be able to utilise it for fasting, for ending his fast, or for sacrifice, he must definitely do so. The texts [of Islam] and the reports about the Salaf point to this. To limit this to a certain distance or country would contradict both the reason and the Shar` (Islamic law)." [Al-Fatawa, volume 5, page 111]

Some people may argue what if the news reaches us late that the moon has been sighted. This has also been answered in the ahadith.

The famous Hanafi scholar Imam Sarkhasi (died 483 A.H.) in Al-Mabsoot quotes the narration from Abu Dawud (2333, 2334) that the Muslims did not begin fasting since they did not see the moon. Then a man, from out of Madinah, came and told the Prophet (saaw) that he had seen it (the moon). The Prophet (saaw) asked him if he was a Muslim to which the man answered in the affirmative. The Prophet (saaw) then said: “Allahu-Akbar! one is enough for all Muslims” The Prophet (saaw) fasted and asked the people to stop eating and start fasting. [Al-Mabsout by Imam Sarkhasi; 3-52]

It is also reported in a Saheeh hadith: Abu ‘Umayr ibn Anas reported from his paternal uncles among the Ansaar who said: “It was cloudy and we could not see the new moon of Shawwaal, so we started the day fasting, then a caravan came at the end of the day and told the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that they had seen the new moon of Shawwaal the day before, so he told the people to stop fasting, and they went out to pray the Eid prayer the next day.” [Reported by the five. It is sahih; al-Irwaa’, 3/102, Abu Dawud 1153]

Even more comtemporary scholars like the founding and well known scholars of the Deobandi and Barelvi movements of the Indian subcontinent have clearly stated this as the correct view in their Fatawa. It is unfortunate that today many who claim to follow them ignore following this hukm.

The co-founder of Dar al-Uloom Deoband, Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi said: “If the people of Calcutta sighted the moon in Friday, whereas it was sighted in Makkah on Thursday itself, but the people of Calcutta did not know of it (the sighting on Thursday); then whenever they come to know of this, it will be obligatory for them to celebrate eid with the people of Makkah and make up (Qada’) for the first fasting.” [Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Sharh Tirmizi (Explanation of Tirmizi), Kaukab un Durri, pg 336 Urdu edition].

“Wherever the sighting is confirmed, however far off it may be, even if it were to be thousands of miles; the people of this place will have to abide by that.” [Fatawa Dar ul Uloom Deoband, Vol. 6 page 380, Urdu edition]

“Question: There has been some dispute in Amritsar etc. regarding sighting of moon for Ramdhan and Eid ul fitr. So should we the residents of Mandla (CP), which is located very far off, follow that sighting or not?
Answer: In the maslak of Hanafiyyah, there is no consideration of Ikhtilaf al Matale’ (difference in sighting); the sighting of the people of east is binding upon the people of the west and vice versa. This is also demanded by the hadith (soomoo li ru iyatihi we aftaroo li ru iyatihi) “Fast when it is sighted and stop fasting when it is sighted”, because the address ‘soomoo’ and ‘aftaroo’ is ‘aam (general) and for everyone. In conclusion, when sighting is confirmed in whichever place, everyone is supposed to start his fast and break it in accordance with it, i.e when the sighting is confirmed.”
[Fatawa Dar ul Uloom Deoband, Vol 6 page 385 & 386, Urdu edition]

“Irrespective of how far the news of sighting came from, it is to be relied upon. For instance if the people of Burma did not sight the moon, and a person from Bombay testifies to them of having sighted the moon; it will be incumbent upon the people of Burma to make up for the (first) fasting i.e. Qada’.” [Mufti Kifayat ullah, Ta’leem ul Islam, vol. 4, section sighting of moon: Urdu edition]

“When the moon is sighted in one place it is not just for that region but for the entire world.” [Maulana Amjad Ali, Bahar e Sharee’at, Vol 2 page 108, Urdu edition]

The founder of the Barlevi's said: “In the correct and authentic mazhab of our Imams, with regard to the sighting of moon for Ramdhan and eid, distance of the place of sighting is of no consideration. The sighting of the east is binding upon west and vice versa i.e. the sighting of west is similarly binding on east.” [Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan, Fatawa Rizwi; Vol 4 page 568, Urdu edition]

Using calculations

It is worth mentioning here that the astrological calculations used to determine in advance when the month of Ramadhan starts and ends do not serve as a substitute for the actual sighting, for the texts mentioned the "sighting"; there is however no harm in using the calculations to help determine the appropriate time to start monitoring the new moon. As for the governments who use these calculations instead of the sighting, their actions contradict the clear texts, and therefore their actions are unlawful and the Muslims are forbidden from relying on their announcements.

All the Ahadith connected to the sighting of the moon contain the word “ru’yatehe” which is derived from the word “ra’a”. People who support the idea of calculating the birth of the moon for Ramadan misuse the word “ra’a”. While the word ra’a could mean knowledge, it is not correct to apply this meaning here because of the following reasons:

1. Ra’a, when referring to a single object, means to visualize that object through the eye, i.e. he saw the moon. However, if ra’a refers to two objects, it could mean to know, i.e. he knew the correct opinion.

2. If ra’a is used in reference to a tangible object, it means to visualize the object through the eye. However, if it is used to present an idea or an abstract thing, then it could mean knowledge. Thus, since the Ahadith refer to the moon, which is a tangible object, ra’a here means to visualize sight.

Umar (ra) reported that the Prophet (saaw) said: (in translation): “We are ummiyah (unlettered) people, we neither write nor calculate. The month is this way and that, sometimes 29 days and sometimes 30.”

Those who calculate say that the command in this Hadith, i.e. to sight the moon, is accompanied by a reason (illah) which justifies the command. This justification being that the Ummah was unlettered (“We neither write nor calculate”). The ruling in terms of its validity goes only as far as its justification. If the Ummah has emerged from its “unlettered state” and is able to write and calculate, it becomes essential to rely on calculation alone. However, this argument is incorrect due to the following:

1. The description of the Ummah in this Hadith, “Ummiyah”, does not imply an illah (legal reason). “Ummiyah” could mean “Arab”. [TMQ 62:2]. “We neither naktub (write) nor nahsib (calculate)...” “Nahsib” in the Hadith carries several meanings such as: we do not use astronomical calculations to determine the legal Shari’i beginning and end of the month; nor do we practice astrology, etc. “Nahsib” does not mean general calculations because Muslims are commanded by the Shar’iah to follow the laws of Zakah, inheritance etc. which do involve extensive calculations.

The claim that the Hadith describes the condition of the Ummah at the time of the Prophet (saaw) is false. Further, the claim that this condition serves as an illah is also preposterous.

2. Further, even if this “condition” is considered an illah (reason), Qiyas on this issue is invalid. Firstly, there can be no Qiyas in Ibadaat (ritual worships). Secondly, it contradicts the definite meaning in texts of the numerous Ahadith which clearly illustrate that the “sabab” (cause) for fasting is the sighting of the moon (like the setting of the sun is the sabab for maghrib prayers).

Therefore, it is quite clear that the arguments presented to “justify” the beginning of Ramadan through the use of calculations are invalid and haram. The only way to determine the arrival of Ramadan is through sighting the moon.

In the Tafseer of Al-Qurtabi, Ibn Nafi'e (ra) reported that Imam Malik bin Anas (ra) said: "If you see an Imam who does not begin and end fasting by way of sighting, but begins fasting by calculation, he should not be followed in prayer or emulated." The renowned scholar Ibn Al'Arabi said, "Some of our people erred when they reported that Imam Shaf'i relied on calculations." Ibn Al-'Arabi commented, "The report is baseless and falsehood." [Tafseer Al-Qurtabi]

What about the majority?

Today some people argue that we must follow what the majority are practicing, they attempt to misquote Islamic texts about “Holding on to the Jama’a” and they misinterpret these to mean the ‘Jumhoor’ ‘majority’. Islam has obliged sticking to the jama'ah of Muslims under an Imam (Khalifah) not to the majority.

Al-Bukhari narrated about Bisr ibn Obaydellah al-Hadhrami that he heard Abu Idrees al-Khoolani say that he heard Huthaifah ibn al-Yaman saying: "The people used to ask the Prophet of Allah (saw) about the good and I used to ask him about the bad in fear that it might catch me. So I said: O Prophet of Allah! We were in times of jahilliyah and mischief then Allah brought us this good, so is there any mischief after this good? He (saw) said: Yes. I said: Will there be any good after that mischief? He said: Yes, and it has smoke. I said: What is its smoke? He said: (Some) people guide without any guidance, you recognise some (from them) and deny some. I said: Will there be a mischief after that good? He said: Yes, (some) people who invite at the doors of hell, whoever accepted their invitation they throw him in it (hell). I said: O Prophet of Allah, describe them to us. He said: They are of our own skin (of our people) and talk our language. I said: What do you order me to do if that (matter) caught me? He said: Adhere to the jama'ah of Muslims and their Imam. I said: What if the Muslims have no jama'ah nor an Imam? He said: Then you abandon all those groups, even if you have to grab with your teeth the trunk of a tree till death comes to you as such."

This hadith is clear in its expression that the Prophet (saw) orders Muslims to adhere to the jama'ah of Muslims and to adhere to their Imam, and to leave those who invite people to the doors of hell. When the questioner asked him that in case the Muslims have no Imam and no jama'ah what he has to do in regard with those who call at the doors of hell, the Prophet (saw) ordered him to abandon these groups, not to disassociate himself from the Muslims nor to abstain from the action for establishing an Imam. So his order is clear, disassociate yourself from all those groups, and he emphasised the dissociation of those groups even to the extent that his isolation from them would make him clench to the trunk of a tree until death comes to him. It means adhere to your deen by staying away from the misleading callers who are at the doors of hell. In this hadith there is no excuse or permission (for anybody) to abandon the work for establishing a Khaleefah, it is, rather, confined to the command of adhering to the deen and abandoning the callers at the doors of hell, and the sin will remain on him if he does not work to establish a Khaleefah. So he is ordered to abandon the misleading groups in order to save his deen from the callers of the misguidance, even if he had to clench to the trunk of a tree, but not to distance himself from the Muslim community and abandon the work for establishing the laws of the deen and establishing an Imam for Muslims.

The concept of following the majority rather than following Islam is not based on evidence from the Quran and Sunnah and contradicts many evidences about enjoining the good and forbidding the evil even in the face of hardship, the Prophet (saw) said: "The master of martyrs (sayyid al-shuhada) is Hamza, and a man who stands up to a tyrant ruler and gives him nasiha (advice). And so the ruler kills him"

The disease of Nationalism has affected us

Why is it people follow only the sighting in their nation, who has created the borders between these nations? The Kuffar. Why is it that in Delhi people will follow the sighting in any other part of India but not of Pakistan when it is geographically closer than many parts within India itself like Kerala or Tamil Nadu. In Pakistan people will not follow the sighting of Bangladesh but before 1971 when it was East Pakistan they would, why?

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “He is not one of us who calls for ‘asabiyyah, (nationalism) or who fights for ‘asabiyyah or who dies for ‘asabiyyah.” [Abu Dawud]
O Muslims! When you hear that a Muslim country, any country, no matter how near or how far, declares that it has been confirmed according to the lawful way that the new moon of Ramadhan has been sighted, you must begin your fast, and you are forbidden to wait for the ruler or the Mufti in your part of the world to give you permission to fast, and when you hear that a Muslim country, no matter how near or how far, has declared that the sighting of the moon of Shawwal has been confirmed, by relying on the method recognised by Shari'ah, you must break your fast and celebrate the Eid, you are forbidden from waiting for the ruler's or the Mufti's permission to celebrate Eid. You fast and you break fast by the command of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw), not by the command of those disbelieving mischievous rulers, and not by the command of those Muftis who are more anxious to please the rulers rather than to please Allah (swt). . Mu'az narrated: I said: O Messenger of Allah. What do you think if we had leaders who do not follow your Sunnah and do not adopt your order; in what do you order regarding their affair? The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: There is no obedience to the one who does not obey Allah 'azza wa jall.'

Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah: that “The Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade fasting on two days, the day of al-Adha and the day of al-Fitr”.

24 comments:

Ramaddan said...

Al Salemu Aleikum

I commented earlier that I could not find this hadith anywhere:
The Prophet (saw) said: "He who adopts an opinion based on his Aql, he will reserve for himself a place in the hell-fire." [Bukhari & Muslim]

Could you please direct me towards it in Arabic?

Jazekum al Llahu Kheir
Wa Aleikum al Salam

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

Wa alaikum as-salam

The earlier translation was a translation of the meaning but had missed some words, so I have ammended the article and included a better translation. The hadith was reported by Ibn Abbas (ra):

"He who adopts an opinion related to the Qur'an based on his 'Aql he will reserve for himself a place in the hellfire."

I only have the arabic of it in PDF format which is unfortunately not pasteable on here. It is available on the PDF file, Pg. 181 of Shaksiyyah Islamiyya Volume 1 by Sheikh Taqi ud-deen an-Nabhani. If you don't have the PDF let me know and I will post a link to it so you can download it.

Ramaddan said...

Al Salemu Aleikum

Jazekum al Llahu Kheir for the reply.
Sorry to be a nuisance, but I still can't find it.

Under which section? Maybe the page numbering in the book I got is different.

The only thing that I know which is close enough is the hadith: "Whoever lies on my tongue, then let him prepare for himself a seat from the hellfire." [Bukhari, Muslim]

Wa Aleikum Salam

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

It is in the Chapter about Fiqh, under the sub-heading 'The effect of disputes and debates on Islamic jurisprudence', after point 4, when it talks about ahlul-ra'i. The page number I mentioned is according to the English page no in the PDF file, not the Arabic page no written in the book.

Anonymous said...

Assalam-o-Alaikum,

I heard someone claim that the Prophet (saws) never attempted to unify the whole ummah (even just makka and madina) concerning the beginning of new months. Do we have any evidence that he (saws) did try to do that, for example by sending messengers to different cities or using smoke signals or anything? What about the early khulafaa? So far, I haven't seen any sources that mention these topics. It seems that it would have been possible to send messengers between makka and madina in the first 10 days of dhul hijja to correspond the day of eid al adha, for example, and I was wondering if that ever happened.

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

Assalam wa alaikum

If someone wants to argue this the onus is on them to bring the evidence from the Islamic sources of law. We have clear texts from the ahadith of the Prophet (saw) about this matter.

We know that there are general texts indicated that the Prophet (saw) asked the companions to look for the moon and ordered the Muslims to fast when it had been sighted, these texts are general and someone needs to bring an evidence to restrict them. For example, Ibn Umar (ra) reported, "During the time of the Prophet (saw), the companions went looking for the new crescent. So I told the Prophet (saw) that I saw it. So he fasted and told the companions to fast." [Abu Dawud & Hakim]

I am not aware of texts from the Prophet (saw) in terms attempting to convey the matter to other places. However this does not change the hukm as the hukm is based on actual evidences and cannot be based upon suppositions. This is why the scholars which were quoted in the article were clear in their expression and sometimes even harsh like Al-Kasanee the Hanafi Madhab who said in his book Bada as-Sana’i that following other than one sighting for the whole Ummah is Bid’a (innovation).

The actions of the Khulafah are not daleel unless their is an Ijma of the Sahaba upon them. We know on this matter there is no Ijma because of the opinion of Ibn Abbas which is explained in the article.

Wassalam

Anonymous said...

Please disregard my previous comment.

The answer to my question primarily lies in "reaching of the news from trustworthy Muslim".

Wa'Salam Alaikum.

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

Someone sent the following question:

"It seems that it is ok for Muslims to follow local moon sighting because on one hand we have hukm shar'ie to start/stop fasting at the sight of the new moon (which is a local event) and on the other hand we do not have example from the seerah of the Prophet (saw) as well as from Ijma' of sahabah that when the Prophet (saw), the sahabah or any Muslim saw the new moon, an effort was made to unify the Muslims on this sighting (except for who ever was present at that locality)."

The following is my response:

Please re-read the article, it is HARAM for the Muslims to rely on the local sighting alone as all the texts from the Hadith of the Prophet (saw) make it clear that the sighting is not local rather it is the sighting of ANY Muslim irregardless of locality - so the sighting by any Muslim anywhere in the world must be accepted by Muslims in all countries.

What you mentioned in the question is incorrect when you said, "the sight of the new moon (which is a local event)". There is no text that indicates that the sighting of the moon is a local event, the wording is general in the Arabic language which the article discusses and therefore it applies to the sighting by any Muslim in any locality. Furthermore the Prophet (saw) accepted the sighting of a Muslim who came from outside the locality and ordered the Muslims to begin fasting.

We do not use logic in Fiqh, whatever the evidence indicates must be followed.

There are many classical scholars who have explained this hukm including the scholars of the Hanafi Madhab and even others like Ibn Taymiyyah and Ash-Shawkani.

Many of the scholars and da'wa carriers today also adopt this view and propogate it, including:
- Sheikh Ata Abu Rashta
- Sheikh Abdul-Qadeem Zallom (rh) also clearly espoused this view in an official leaflet in the past.
- Sheikh Mahmoud Abdul-Latif al-Uweida (Abu Iyas), who has published a book on the Ahkam of Siyam (fasting) in Arabic where he discusses this issue in detail.

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

For those who can understand Arabic you can download the book which discusses the Ahkam of fasting including this issue together with its evidences by Sheikh Mahmoud Abdul-Latif al-Uweida (Abu Iyas) from:

http://sharabati.org/siyam.pdf

Anonymous said...

I see the error in my thinking process, especially how I am linking various pieces of information to reality.

JazakumAllah Khair for pointing out the error and clarifying the point.

Wa'Salam Alaikum.

Khalid S Mujahid said...

Mashallah this is a very informative article. I was wondering if you could have a look at www.moonsighting.com and answer their objections to starting and ending Ramadhan on the same day. In particular the FAQ section shown:

http://www.moonsighting.com/faq_ms.html#Ittihad

The main point of contention i've pasted below is:
" Question: Is it not possible have Eid on the same day throughout the whole world after the actual sighting of the crescent?

Answer: IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO HAVE EID ON THE SAME DAY THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE WORLD AFTER THE ACTUAL SIGHTING OF THE CRESCENT, because, when the moon is sighted in Hawaii around 6:00pm, it will be 2:00pm of the next day in Japan, and 4:00pm of the next day in New Zealand."

Jazakalla khair

Islamic Revival said...

It is still the same day even if someone is before in time. So in the example you gave if theoretically someone sighted the moon in Hawaii at 6pm then in Japan at 2pm you have to begin fasting as soon as the news reaches you. The following hadith mentioned in the article also indicate this:

The famous Hanafi scholar Imam Sarkhasi (died 483 A.H.) in Al-Mabsoot quotes the narration from Abu Dawud (2333, 2334) that the Muslims did not begin fasting since they did not see the moon. Then a man, from out of Madinah, came and told the Prophet (saaw) that he had seen it (the moon). The Prophet (saaw) asked him if he was a Muslim to which the man answered in the affirmative. The Prophet (saaw) then said: “Allahu-Akbar! one is enough for all Muslims” The Prophet (saaw) fasted and asked the people to stop eating and start fasting. [Al-Mabsout by Imam Sarkhasi; 3-52]

This means the day had already started and the Prophet (saw) and the Sahaba were not fasting, when the news reacherd them, the Prophet (saw) ordered them to stop eating and start fasting from that point onwards.

It is also reported in a Saheeh hadith: Abu ‘Umayr ibn Anas reported from his paternal uncles among the Ansaar who said: “It was cloudy and we could not see the new moon of Shawwaal, so we started the day fasting, then a caravan came at the end of the day and told the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that they had seen the new moon of Shawwaal the day before, so he told the people to stop fasting, and they went out to pray the Eid prayer the next day.” [Reported by the five. It is sahih; al-Irwaa’, 3/102, Abu Dawud 1153]

In this incident when the Prophet (saw) got the news he told the people to stop fasting, as it is haram to fast on the day of Eid. Of course the time for the Eid prayer had already gone, so they made the Eid prayer the next day.

Anonymous said...

Assalam o alaikum!

why the meaning of the verses are twisted so that they suite your point of view, For example:

"Whoever witnesses the crescent of the month, he must fast the month."

Is this the right meaning of the verse. the meaning of "shahr" and "minkum" are not reflected correctly.

moinuddin said...

We need to remember the statement of Ibn Masud (ra): “The Jama’a is Haq (truth) even if it is one person”.

Assalam u Aliakum,
It will be great if you can provide me the reference of the above mentioned statement.

ALLAH-HAFIZ.

moinuddin said...

Assalam u Alaikum,
I would like to know the complete reference for the above mentioned statement of Ibn Masud(ra).

Please let me know as early as possible.......


ALLAH-HAFIZ.

Anonymous said...

Salaams Brother,

Ramadhan Kareem all. Unfortunately, the whole of SA is not fasting as they have not sighted the moon last night. Unfortunately for me as well, I am not fasting because I was ill & fell asleep & only realised late this morning that toady is in fact the first fast. My question is still the same...can I make up for todays fast after Ramadhan. I am highly upset at the moment as I will most likely be the only one in this country fasting seperately from others here but with the global Ummah...I need ur advise desperately.

Jazakallah Khair

Was salaam

Farhana

Islamic Revival said...

Your Question: Can I make up for todays fast after Ramadhan.

This is my response-
Finding out late of sightings due to time differences, which is quite possible, can be accounted for by making up a day if it is missed or, if the news of sighting of the Shawwal moon arrives late, breaking the fast and praying Eid the following morning.

As it is reported in the hadith:
The Muslims did not begin fasting since they did not see the moon. Then a man, from out of Madinah, came and told the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم that he had seen it (the moon). The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم asked him if he was a Muslim to which the man answered in the affirmative. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم then said: "Allahu-Akbar! One is enough for all Muslims." The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم fasted and asked the people to stop eating and start fasting. (Abu Dawud & al-Sarakhsi in al-Masbut).

For you second point

I am highly upset at the moment as I will most likely be the only one in this country fasting seperately from others here but with the global Ummah

The following is my response:

Please re-read the article, it is HARAM for the Muslims to rely on the local sighting alone as all the texts from the Hadith of the Prophet (saw) make it clear that the sighting is not local rather it is the sighting of ANY Muslim irregardless of locality - so the sighting by any Muslim anywhere in the world must be accepted by Muslims in all countries.

So you should be proud instead of being upset that you are following the global sighting and being a part of a single ummah.

Anonymous said...

As-salamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullah



Although the article is essentially correct, there are some issues to bear in mind:

1. There is no ijma' that "all Muslims are obliged to start fasting on the same day, no matter where the moon is sighted" with the Shafi's saying (and they have strong evidences for it) that the commencing of fasting is with local sighting (and they have strong evidences for it), therefore it's not permissible for us to condemn the actions of other Muslims based on the stance of one's own madhab. Seeing that he author quoted from Imam Al-Juzayri's book I assume that he would have come across this point.

2. The original opinion with the Hanafi's and the Maliki's are of the view that if the skies are clear then fasting needs to be established by a large group of people sighting the crescent moon, not just one or two, or because one "Muslim" country announces it.

3. The majority of contemporary scholars hold the view that calculations can be used to negate an erroneous sighting, but not to establish the crescent. However, a minority hold the view (not that I agree) that it can be used to establish Ramadan.

4. The statement that "there's no analogy in ritual worships" is erroneous, if one reads the books of the fuqaha, there are numerous instances when "qiyas" is used in 'ibadat.

5. Is it such a big deal? If somebody wants to start fasting with the majority, then let him do so, and if not, then leave him to it. The important thing is that are hearts are united in implementing common goals to in order to elevate the word of Allah.

Please forgive me if I've said anything wrong, I usually wouldn't reply to something like this and I know that the article was written with good intentions, but it could effectually make things worse between Muslims. One of the salaf said that the difference of opinion of the Ummah is a mercy.

May Allah unify our hearts and make Ramadan a means for us to increase us in taqwa.
إنّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بالنِّيّاتِ
Verily actions are with intentions.

Anonymous said...

JazakAllah khayr. But still, the report of Ibnu Abbass (ra) means that his opinion is valid; meaning that fasting according to local sighting is valid even if the local sighting is on another day to other Muslims around the world. Please explain your response. Wasalaam

Anonymous said...

Assalamu-alaykum.

1. Can someone reply for the above 5 points made by some brother?

2. Now Eid-ud-duha is near and when should we fast the Arafah day, is it by the calender of Saudi since the Haj is done according their Calender or should we fast according to our local calender or the global?

3. And supposedly if a person from america starts his journey for Haj and when he left it was 1st of dhil-hijjah, but in Saudi it will be 30th of Dhul-Qada. So, the man left america when it was 1st of dhil-hijja but in Saudi were he needs to perform all the rituals of Haj is lagging 1 day behind. So, what one should do in such situation?

Anonymous said...

The problem is that today people are not following the legitimate although weak opinions of the shafi' madhab in this matter. Let us take the example of the Indian subcontinent home to nearly half of the whole Muslims Ummah. Do we seriously believe that they are following the opinion of Imam Shafi', although before 1947 the Muslims of India would accept the sighting of the moon in Lahore and Dhaka and after it they would not? Do we believe that they follow this opinion although the distance between Lahore and Delhi is less than Delhi and Chennai, but if the moon is sighted in Chennai the committee in Delhi would accept it but if sighted in Lahore they would reject it.

The same is in the Arab world, do you think the government scholars and regimes are really following an Islamic view or adhering to the kufr concept of nationalism?

It is a big deal due to people, scholars, committees and regimes following nationalism rather than Islam.

Anonymous said...

The view of using calculations alone to determine the beginning of Ramadhan although espoused by some who have the title of scholars is not legitimate and is baatil (invalid), it is like the view of some scholars who permit the taking of riba, permit alliance with kuffar against the believers, etc. It is not a legitimate ijtihad. Therefore it is also a serious matter as is leads people to sin.

Anonymous said...

The beginning of the Hajj and the day of Arafah in origin should be determined by sighting. The authority in Saudi Arabia currently follow the sighting in this matter as they follow the scholars they rely follow the zahiri (literalist) school who are strict on this issue.

As the organisation of the Hajj is a practical matter determined by the authority there if effect we are bound by it even if a scenario was to occur when they did not follow a legitimate sighting, then the sin would be theirs and not of the hujjaj. The Prophet (saw) said, "When I order you with an obligation do of it as much as you are capable of".

Regarding the example you gave about the man leaving from the US, he must follow the timing according to the land of 2 haram's upon entering it.

Anonymous said...

Jazakallah for the above explanation. And it would be better if you can put some more light on the issue. And what we i.e., those leaving in the Indian sub-continent should do? whether they should follow the Saudi in this matter i.e., haj or should we follow our locality?