Sunday, August 19, 2018

Video: Studies in Usul ul Fiqh | An Introduction to Legal Maxims

Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) الفقه الإسلامي is a very important and diverse discipline. its literature is very vast. In addition to the body of the legal rules, it includes Usul al Fiqh أصول الفقه (Islamic legal theory), comparative Fiqh الفقه المقارن, 'Ilm al-Khilaf علم الخلاف (studying differences among jurists and their basis) and 'Ilm al-Qawaed al-Shareyyah. القواعد الشرعية

This discipline addresses the legal maxims and their application. Muslim jurists, in the past and the present, produced huge literature addressing this aspect of Fiqh.

This is part of a video series by Sheikh Abu Tariq Iyad Hilal.

Source: Al-Arqam Institute

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


By: Iyad Hilal

‘Eid-ul-Adha is one of two Islamic holidays permitted by Allah (‘Azza wa Ja’l); the other being ‘Eid-ul-Fitr.

Aside from being occasions for celebration, the two ‘Eids that the Ummah observes conclude two distinct acts of worship: Saum (during Ramadan) and Hajj. While ‘Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the act of fasting (during Ramadan); ‘Eid-ul-Adha concludes the Hajj with its most important act that is manifested by the assembly of pilgrims (gathered) at Arafah.

‘Eid-ul-Adha (known also as ‘Eid-ul-Nahr or Yawm-ul-Nahr) immediately follows the Day of Arafah during the Hajj. To perform this Fard act i.e. Hajj, capable Muslims from all over the world visit Makkah and perform specific actions in a particular order. This visually and substantively signifies the unity of the Ummah.

It is unfortunate that some Muslims (both in the West and in the Muslim World) insist and argue about celebrating ‘Eid-ul-Adha according to our own sighting of the moon when we should be relying solely on the Day of Arafah, which is observed by the pilgrims who are completing the Hajj. Fatwas, such as the one submitted by some of the scholars from Saudi Arabia (ex. Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen as in a fatwa quoted in the link below[1]) as well as other areas, support this position that dislodges itself from the events that occur in Makkah. Apart from having no sound basis in the Shari’ah (Islamic Law), such arguments add to the many factors that lead to the disunity of our Ummah.

The only manner in which we must celebrate ‘Eid-ul-Adha is the one that has been prescribed to us by our Creator, Allah (swt).

In Surah al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 197, Allah (swt) tells us that:
الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

"The Hajj is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e., the 10th, 11th and first ten days of the 12th month of the Hijri calendar). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj, then he should not have intimate relations (with spouse), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And take a provision for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa. So fear Me, O men of understanding [2:197]!"

This ayah points out that the Hajj is performed within a set of months of the lunar year that are familiar to us and that it occurs within a specific (Hijri) calendar; making it clear that the Hajj time is well-defined by Allah (swt).

In Ayah 203 of Surah-al-Baqarah (2), Allah (swt) says:

وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَنْ تَعَجَّلَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَنْ تَأَخَّرَ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ لِمَنِ اتَّقَى وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

"And remember Allah during the appointed days. But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin upon him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin upon him, if his aim is to do good and obey Allah (fear Him), and know that you will surely be gathered unto Him [2:203]."

In this ayah, Allah (swt) orders us to remember Him (by performing a particular set of actions in a specific manner, which is established for us through the Sunnah) on days that are clearly defined and appointed by Allah. According to most scholars of Tafseer such as Al-Shawkanee, Pilgrims and non-pilgrims are addressed by this Ayah. While pilgrims should stay in Mina and throw stones within a specific order, non-pilgrims should remember Allah and have Takbeer. These days are established within the months that constitute the Hajj calendar, and are in reference to the days (of the pilgrimage) that are spent in Mina. Consequently, the order of events on their given days that are fixed within the months of the Islamic calendar, allows us to determine the days that are outlined for the Hajj itself.

Determining the Hajj Calendar (and the consequent acts of worship for each day of Hajj)
We can also identify the specific acts of worship that have been mandated and prescribed for us during the Hajj. These actions must also be performed in a fixed order.

1.Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Hajj (22), Ayah 28:

وَأَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ. لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِنْ بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ

That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice) (at the time of their slaughtering by saying: ‘Bismillah, Wallâhu-Akbar, Allâhumma Minka wa Ilaik.’). Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time [22:27-28].”

Along with outlining our actions during Hajj, in the above Ayah, Allah (swt) mentions the fact that there are specific days for the Hajj that are defined, appointed, and well-known. These days, according to most Mufassereen, are the Day of Nahr (Yawm-al-Nahr) and the following three days in which the pilgrimage takes place in Mina (Ayyam-ul-Tashreeq). There is no unknown or neglected day within this set of days.

The days mentioned in the above ayat of Suratul Baqarah and Suratul Hajj are referred to as the following:

8th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Yawm-ul-Tarweyah): On this day, pilgrims go to Mina and prepare themselves for visiting Arafah on the following day. This day is not included in the set of days mentioned in the Ayat. However, this day is within the months of Hajj.

9th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Yawm Arafah): The pilgrims assemble at Arafah on this day; its name comes from the action that takes place at Arafah.

10th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Yawm-ul-Nahr): This is the day of slaughtering that occurs after Yawm Arafah (i.e. ‘Eid). This day has many names such as: Yawm ul Nahr, Yawm ul Adha, Eid ul Adha and Yawm al-Hajj al-Akbar (Major day of Hajj).

11th, 12th, and 13th days of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Ayyam-ul-Tashreeq): These are the days spent in Mina where the pilgrims throw stones at al-Jamrat and can still perform Qurbani or Hadee (slaughter).
In order to determine the day Arafah and the day of ‘Eid-ul-Adha or Yawm-ul-Nahr (Day of Slaughtering), we need to first determine the beginning of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

Determining the beginning of Dhu’l-Hijjah is based on (authenticated) moon-sighting as is the case with the beginning of any lunar month in the Islamic calendar. Of course, if the sighting conflicts with a (conclusive) reality about the birth of the moon -- i.e. claiming that the moon was sighted but the birth of the moon has not taken place -- the report of the moon-sighting should, then, be rejected. The Day of Arafah is defined after the beginning of the month is determined (as it is the 9th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah; not the first day of the month); furthermore, it is defined being the day in which pilgrimage are assembled in Arafah. Consequently, the day of Arafah is followed by Yawm-ul-Nahr.
Regarding the actions performed during these days (of Hajj), there are specific acts that are obligatory upon the pilgrims and there are other acts that are either obligatory or recommended for the non-pilgrims. Both 2 sets of actions (for the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims) are defined by Islam and should be carried out in their prescribed order. Both sets are to be performed within a defined time frame.

Some of the mandatory actions for the pilgrims are Tawaaf (circumambulation of the Ka’bah), assembly at Arafah, running between Safa and Marwah, stoning at the Jamrat, etc. Since each of these actions is a Fard upon the pilgrims, if they are not performed correctly, their Hajj will be rendered incomplete. Details of these actions are addressed in the books for Fiqh.
For the non-pilgrims, there are some actions that are obligatory and others that are recommended (i.e. praying Eid prayer is Fard upon the community while its Sunnah upon individual to attend, the loud utterances of Takbeer, fasting on the day of Arafah, Qurbani or Udheyah, etc.). These actions must be carried out on specific days as prescribed by Allah (swt).
The obligatory (Fard) and recommended (Sunnah/Mandoob) actions for both pilgrims and non-pilgrims run parallel to each other within an established timetable (of time and day) even though each set of actions are is addressed to the 2 group of people: those who are performing Hajj and those who are not.

Fasting and the Day of Arafah

While assembling in Arafah is addressed to those who are performing Hajj, fasting on the Day of Arafah is an action that is recommended for the non-pilgrims. In addition to fasting, verbalizing the Takbeer during this day is recommended for the non-pilgrims. The pilgrims, on the other hand, are not recommended to fast on this day; in fact, fasting is Makrooh for the pilgrims on the Day of Arafah. The pilgrims are required, instead, to simply stand together in Arafah (without fasting).
The question remains: How, then, can the non-pilgrims determine the Day of Arafah in order to fast?
By default, the day in question is the one in which people stand together at Arafah (near Makkah). In fact, the name of the day “Day of Arafah” has been taken from the very action by the pilgrims, of standing at Arafah, on this particular day.

The issue of fasting on the Day of Arafah is supported by various Ahadith, which recommend that the non-pilgrims should fast on this particular day. The reason we (non-pilgrims) are recommended to fast is because it is the Day of Arafah; not simply because it is the 9th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah. There is no one single Hadith that mention that we should fast on the 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah; all such Ahadith refer to the day (we fast) specifically as the “Day of Arafah.” Therefore, it is the description of the day, and not the date itself, that warrants the act of fasting. Following are some Hadiths:

عن أبي قتادة قال: "قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم صوم يوم عرفة يكفر سنتين"
Qaal Abu Qutadah qal Rasoul Allah Alayhe aalehe Wasallm: Sawm yawm Arafah yukaffer sanatayn
Abu Qutadah said that the Propeht said: fasting the Day of Arafah removes the sins of 2 years

عن أبي هريرة قال: نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن صيام يوم عرفة بعرفات
A’n Abee Hurairah qal: Naha Rasool Allah sala Allahalayhee Wa Sallam a’n Seyam yawm Arafah bi-Arafat

Abu Hurairah said that the Propeht condemned fasting Day of Arafah at Arafat.
عن أم الفضل أنهم شكّوا في صوم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم عرفة فأرسلتُ إليه بلبن فشرب وهو يخطب الناس بعرفة
A’n Umm ul-Fadl Annahum Shakkou fee Seyam Rasool Allah Yawm Arafah Fa-Arsaltu Elayhe bilaban fasharib wahuw Yakhtub al-Naas bi-Arafah.

It was reported by Umm Alfadl that people doubted about the fasting of the Prophet (SAW) in the Day of Arafah, thus, I sent him milk and he drank it while he was addressing people at Arafah
All of these Hadiths are well known. They are addressing fasting for those who are not performing Hajj and not fasting for those who were performing Hajj. All of these Hadiths are referring to the day by its name and not by its date. From this, one can conclude that the Manaat (reality) of the day we are asked to fast is being day of Arafah and not simply being the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah.
Conversely, fasting on a day when people are not at Arafah means that we have not adhered to the Sunnah, because our actions do not comply with the recommendation that these Ahadith specify for us.

So, given the supporting evidence through the Ahadith that discuss this issue, it is inarguable that:
1. A clear and definite link is established between the act of fasting and the act of standing at Arafah.
2. The context of such ahadith demonstrates that the people being addressed are those who are not performing Hajj (the non-pilgrims), which forms a link between them and the actions performed (by the pilgrims) at the Hajj.

Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi (Maliki jurist) mentions in his book, Ahkamul Quran, while addressing the Tafseer of Ayah 203 in Surah Al-Baqarah: “And mention Allah in specific days… People of different areas are followers to the pilgrims in this issue (al-Arabi, Ahkamul Quran, Vol. 1, P. 143).”
Other jurists stated that those who are not performing Hajj are allowed to assemble at different Masjids in the Day of Arafh following those who are at Arafah. Ibn Abbas used to do so in Basra.[2]
The Day of Arafah and ‘Eid: Linking the Pilgrims to the Non-Pilgrims

After the sunset of the Day of Arafah, the pilgrims proceed to Muzdalefah where they stay for (a part or whole of) the night before they move to Mina. Meanwhile the non-pilgrims are recommended to begin their Takbeer immediately following Salat-ul-Maghrib on the Day of Arafah according to some jurists such as Imam Shafee. Again, those who are not performing Hajj are recommended to start Takbeer after praying Maghrib prayer at the Day of Arafah.

The following day the pilgrims reach Mina, where they perform specific actions such as the Qurbani or Hadeay, the shaving (or cutting) of the hair for men and cutting some hair for women, the throwing of the first Aqabah (stone) and the Tawaaf-ul-Ifadah (circumambulation), etc.: actions that are established by the Islamic Texts (the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Muhammed (saw)). On this day, following the Day of Arafah, the non-pilgrims are asked to perform the ‘Eid prayer and the Qurbani. The pilgrimages do not have to pray Eid prayer.

Furthermore, the non-pilgrims are asked to carry out the actions that are unique to them according to the same (Hajj) calendar and timetable that is followed by the pilgrims during Hajj. The Takbeer for the non-pilgrims, for instance, begins according to some jurists on Yawm-Arafh and ends with the Fajr prayer of the last day of Tashreeq of the Hajj. Those who are not performing Hajj are doing so based on Hajj calnder and not by their own dates. Ibn Qudamah (Hanbali jurist) said in his book Al-Mughni: “It is reported from Ibn Omar and Omar Bin Abdul Aziz that the Takbeer starts from Salat-ul-Dhuhr of the day of Nahr (in reference to Eid-ul-Adha) till the Fajr prayer of the last day of Tashreeq. This is what Malik and Shafi’[3] in what is most known from him said because people are followers of the pilgrims (Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughi, Vol. 2, P. 126).” Sarkhasi (Hanafi jurist) asserted more directly, in his well-known book, Al-Mabsoot, that: “People in these Takbeerat are followers of the pilgrims (Sarkhasi, Al-Mabsoot, Vol. 2, P. 43).”

All of these statements state clearly that the Hajj calendar is the reference in all of these actions and not local dates. Thus, one would ask: how can any of these actions be carried out on a day other than the one following the Day of Arafah? These actions must be carried out on the day immediately following Arafah, even though the duration for slaughtering Qurbani is extended till the end of the Tashreeq days.

As mentioned earlier, the actions of the pilgrims and those of the non-pilgrims run parallel to each other within one timetable and calendar even if the actions are unique to each group. Another example of this is given through the same example of Takbeer in Al-Shirazi’s (Shafi’ jurist) book, Al-Muhadhab, where he quotes: “The evidence for the Takbeer must be stopped after Fajr (of the last day of Tashreeq), is that people are followers of the pilgrims and Fajr prayer is the last prayer pilgrims pray in Mina (al-Shirazi, Al-Muhadhab, Vol. 1, P. 121).”

Yawm-ul-Nahr, which falls on the 10th day of Dhu’l Hijjah (after Yawm Arafah), is immediately followed by the days of Tashreeq. Ayyam-ul-Tashreeq consists of a duration of three days in which the pilgrims remain in Mina where they continue throwing the stones and slaughtering the animals, etc. During this time, the non-pilgrims continue to recite the Takbeer and are permitted to do the Qurbani if they were unable to do so on the Day of Nahr (Yawm-ul-Nahr or ‘Eid). As stated before, the non-pilgrims continue to follow the calendar and timetable of the Hajj just like the pilgrims who are completing their Hajj. These days, as well as all other related to the Hajj, are clearly defined and the actions correlating to each day of the Hajj calendar (i.e. the ‘Eid prayer, the Takbeerat, the Qurbani, and other rituals of Hajj) are supported by the Islamic Texts (Qur’an and Sunnah).
As stated earlier, no gap exists in this set of days at all (for the pilgrims as well as the non-pilgrims).
Aside from the fact that the text proves that a link between the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims exists, it is also virtually impossible to have a disconnection between the actions of each group of people considering the ease and speed of communication technology in today’s global village. There is no gap in communication that prevents us from being aware of the dates of the Islamic calendar and the events that take place in Makkah during Hajj.

In the past, when communication technology was not available, people who were remote from Makkah (geographically) relied on moon-sighting to determine the news of Hajj. If and when the news of Hajj reached such people, they would base their actions on the events that were unfolding at Hajj irrespective of the moon-sighting so that each group’s actions were implemented simultaneously. The entire Hajj season was conducted under the supervision of the Ruler (Khalifah) who led the pilgrims from Arafah to Mina. The Day of Arafah was always known to those who performed the Hajj and those who were in Makkah and in the surrounding areas (including Madinah). The only people who were unaware of when the Day of Arafah occurred were those whose means of communication was compromised. This is clearly not the case today, because no matter how far removed we are from Makkah physically, information about the Hajj timetable and calendar is readily accessible to us through various communication resources (i.e. telephones, cell phones, the Internet, electronic mail etc.).

‘Eid-ul-Adha and Moon-Sighting

Taking into consideration all the facts and details (supported by several evidences from Quran and Sunnah) surrounding the Hajj calendar and the actions of the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims that fall simultaneously under this calendar, it is inconceivable that people should still insist and argue upon when to celebrate ‘Eid-ul-Adha.

Those who advocate local sighting of the moon to determine ‘Eid-ul-Adha are not simply disputing a single date or event; they are, in fact, ignoring all the evidence pointing them in the correct direction, and creating disunity within the Ummah in the process. Furthermore, the claim to follow local moon-sighting confuses the actions of the non-pilgrims because they are not in sync with the Hajj calendar that is being followed by the pilgrims.

Consider the Day of Arafah, for example. If the local moon-sighting contradicts with the Hajj calendar, the non-pilgrims fast on a day when not a single pilgrim stands at Arafah! What, then, is the point of fasting on this day? The issue of when the non-pilgrims should fast must rely on the Hajj calendar for it to meet the requirements of the Sunnah according to the Ahadith. So, this year if some Muslims fast on the day after the Day of Arafah (in this case, Tuesday, December 18th 2007), then they are actually not fasting Yawm Arafah. In reality, they will be fasting Yawm-ul-Nahr (Day of Slaughtering), which is Haram (impermissible). In essence, the Ummah will witness three days of Nahr (Slaughtering) this year!

Fasting on Yawm-ul-Nahr

The Prophet (saw) prohibited fasting on Yawm-ul-Nahr. The Hadith that discusses this issue refers to Yawm-ul-Nahr as the day in which pilgrims slaughter their Hadee (livestock). The scope of address, in the corresponding Hadith, is not confined to those who are physically present in Makkah or performing Hajj. The Hadith addresses all Muslims and their actions in reference to one specific day -- i.e. Yawm-ul-Nahr. This fact alone, undoubtedly, demonstrates that not only is the day for all Muslims (pilgrims and non-pilgrims) one and the same; but, it is also a well-known day that is recognizable by all in the same instance. Therefore, in this Hadith the Prophet (saw) addresses all Muslims to refrain from fasting on that specific day (Yawm-ul-Nahr). The Hadith establishes yet another link between the acts of the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims by referring to the day by its name and not by its date.

Amongst those of us who will follow local moon-sighting to determine the ‘Eid celebration, the year 2007, there were some individuals who fasted on the 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Tuesday, December 18th 2007) but observed ‘Eid (Yawm-ul-Nahr) on the 20h of Dhu’l-Hijjah or even on 21st of December.
On what legal grounds did those individuals observe their fast on Tuesday (9th of Dhu’l Hijjah) if they did not consider it the Day of Arafah?

If the people fasted on Tuesday on the basis that it was, indeed, the Day of Arafah according to the Hajj calendar, on what basis the 10th day of Hajj will be skipped? What is the rationale behind declaring ‘Eid on the 11th day of Dhu’l Hijjah, in this case? What will be the 10th day (Wednesday, December 19th 2007) classified as, according to the Hajj calendar, considering there are no gaps between the days of Hajj? Why this day will be simply ignored within the specific sequence of days during this time, despite the fact that the days of Hajj are clearly defined by Allah (swt) in the aforementioned ayat? The failure to answer these questions is predictably unremarkable as it is not supported by any rationale or textual evidence. We cannot have two sets of days for each group: i.e. one set of days defined for the pilgrims and another set for the non-pilgrims. Not only does this create a break in the Hajj calendar; but it also contradicts the ayat in the Qur’an that mention one established set of days for Hajj that correspond with one specific set of actions undertaken by both groups simultaneously during that time.

Finally, the fact that Eidul Adha has names such as Yawm ul Nahr and Yawm ul Hajj al-Akbar is another evidence for linking Eidul Adha to Hajj. Muslims never understood that those names refer to different days at all. Claiming so means that Muslims have 3 Eids and not 2: Eid ul Fitr, Eidul Adha for those who are not performing Hajj and Eidul Nahr for those who are performing Hajj. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever indicates that such understanding was promoted by any jurist or even mentioned as weak opinion.

Arguments of those who promote local sighting for celebrating Eidul Adha

In an effort to defend the idea of using local moon-sighting to determine ‘Eid-ul-Adha, some argue that the Prophet (saw) did not link the Day of Arafah with the day of ‘Eid while he (saw) was in Madinah prior to the liberation of Makkah. Muslims used to observe Eid ul Adhaa in the 10th of Zhul Hijjah based on their sighting and not based on Hajj actions taking place in Makkah.
This is true. The Prophet ordered Muslims to observe Eid ul Adha based on their sighting for a reason. The Prophet (saw) did not link the two days because Hajj was not a Fard (obligation) upon Muslims at this time. Therefore, ‘Eid-ul-Adha and the Day of Arafah could not be linked to one another.

Additionally, linking it with the acts of so-called pilgrimage at that time goes against the very heart of Aqeedah Islam calls for. At that time, what Qursaih was practicing is a distorted “hajj as well known. They even refused to stand at Arafah with others. Thus, linking Eid ul Adha to such acts cannot be.
Therefore, although Muslims used moon-sighting to determine ‘Eid-ul-Adha in Madinah during this time, and both Surah al-Baqarah and Surah al-Hajj (both revealed in Madinah) addressed the Hajj, the Muslims did so only because they were unable (and not required) to perform Hajj in Makkah at the time. As mentioned, the practice of the well-known Hajj, in fact, did not exist at this time. The people who did perform rituals in Makkah were the Muskrikeen (polytheists) whose actions were not recognized as valid acts of worship or linked to the Hajj defined by Islam. Given the circumstances, there was no way to link the practice of Eid-ul-Adha to that of Hajj prior to the liberation of Makkah.[4]

After the liberation of Makkah, the Muslims were able to perform the Hajj and it became a part of their Fard actions. Subsequently, all days and actions related to ‘Eid-ul-Adha and the Hajj were linked together through the Hajj calendar (including the Day of Arafah). This fact further dismisses the notion that the Prophet (saw) observed ‘Eid-ul-Adha without linking it to the Hajj. In addition, after the Prophet (saw) passed away, when the information about Hajj was available the Sahabah (ra) fasted on the Day of Arafah in adherence to the Hajj timetable and calendar unless they were unaware of information about the Hajj (due to the lack of communication tools that would allow them to access the information). There is absolutely no evidence stating that despite their knowledge of what the pilgrims were doing at Hajj, the Sahabah (ra) observed the Day of Nahr on a different day from the one observed by the pilgrims. The Sahabah’s (ra) understanding of the Shari’ah and their conviction in it prevented them from separating themselves from the pilgrims during Hajj and ‘Eid on their own accord. The burden of proof to provide reliable evidence rests on those making a claim that argues otherwise.

The argument for using local moon-sighting to establish ‘Eid-ul-Adha, is also based on the idea that there should be consistency in the process used to determine the two ‘Eids. While maintaining consistency is not a problem and it is in fact a necessary feature in Fiqh when the concept of Mas’alah (case) is discussed, it does not apply in this situation because the two ‘Eids do not fall under the same category of Mas’alah. Therefore, the determination of the two ‘Eids can be based on different opinions as they qualify as two separate issues. Moreover, the concept of maintaining consistency is more appropriately applied to the issue of determining when the lunar month begins, i.e. when Ramadan or Dhu’l Hijjah begins, as this falls under the same category of Mas’alah. Thus, the authorities responsible on organizing Hajj should follow one opinion in both issues. If they follow Itihadul Matalea’, then they should define Eidul Adha day according to any reliable sighting report. If they follow Ikhtilaful Matalea, then it is expected to follow their local reports.

For example, Ramadan and ‘Eid-ul-Fitr may be observed by some on the basis of Ikhtilaf-ul-Mata’la although Itihad ul Matalea is the stronger opinion and have the more sound evidence.(i.e. different localities have different sightings, so each locality determines and follows its own moon-sighting), However, if the Muqallid is following this opinion (Ikhtilaf-ul-Mata’la), the Muqallid is recommended to fast with the others on one day if the grand Imam adopts Itihad-ul-Matale’ (i.e. any reliable moon-sighting determined in any locality becomes binding on all Muslims and unites them as a result).

‘Eid-ul-Adha, on the other hand, is part of a very specific process called the Hajj, which is a separate issue from Masalat-ul-Sawm. Hajj and its related issues that address the pilgrimage and the events occurring outside the pilgrimage, consist of a unique set of actions performed by each group people (pilgrims and non-pilgrims) in a specific place according to a particular method. These events and actions cannot be fragmented and left to each locality at all. ‘Eid-ul-Adha or Yawm-ul-Nahr is part of this process; which prevents us from detaching ‘Eid-ul-Adha from the process of the Hajj.
Since ‘Eid-ul-Fitr and ‘Eid-ul-Adha are completely 2 different issues (where the former is related to Fasting and the latter is linked to the Hajj), the concept of consistency cannot be used as an excuse to follow Ikhtilaf ul Matale’ in establishing the day of ‘Eid-ul-Adha.

A feebler defense for using local moon-sighting as a way to identify ‘Eid-ul-Adha, posits that there is no sound basis for making the distinction between two processes: the process used to determine Ramadan and the one used to establish ‘Eid-ul-Adha. Actually, the above mentioned evidences linking ‘Eid-ul-Adha to Hajj serves as the sound basis of forming this distinction. Claiming otherwise is a baseless argument, at best.

As a result of all the evidence that bridges an irrefutably strong connection between ‘Eid-ul-Adha and Hajj, it is clear that the two events (with their unique set of actions for each set of people) warrants us to fast on the Day of Arafah and celebrate ‘Eid on the following day (when fasting is prohibited) as an Ummah.

While it is unfortunate that the announcement of moon-sighting from Saudi Arabia (based on testimony from unreliable witnesses) often contradicts the reality and possibility of the actual sighting; because the celebration of ‘Eid remains intrinsically connected to the events and actions of Hajj according to the Hukm Shari’, it must be established on the day following the Day of Arafah in Makkah.

Finally, there should be no doubt about the need to address such an issue in the most proper way. This can only be addressed by creating the correct understanding of Islam and the unity of the Muslim Ummah.

[2] This is mentioned in Tafsir Qurtubi.

[3] As mentioned earlier, there is another opinion reported by Imam Shafi stating that Takbeer starts after Maghrib prayer of Day of Arafah. Although there are 2 different reports reported by Imam Shafi, the point here is that the reference is to the Hajj calendar and not local dates.

[4] There are reports that the Prophet performed Hajj once while other reports said that he performed Hajj twice. Both were performed after liberating Makkah. However, while the Prophet was in Makkah before he migrated to Madina, he used to witness the season and contact people attending it. He for example, contacted people of Madina in Mina. But at that time, Hajj was not mandatory yet and I was unable to find details about acts carried by Prophet at that time.