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Fasting / Linking the sightings of the moon with the sighting of Makkah for fasting and other i

Linking the sightings of the moon with the sighting of Makkah for fasting and other i

publish date : 2014-07-01 | Views : 2137
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Dear respected Shaykh, assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. What is the ruling of linking the sightings of the moon to the sighting of Makkah in fasting and other issues? ربط المطالع بمطلع مكة في الصيام وغيره

Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.   Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.   As to what follows:   In response to your question, we say:     The scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) have a lengthy discussion on this issue- the issue of the establishment of the start of a new Islamic month- and the principle in that is Allah the Exalted’s statement: “So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it” [al-Baqarah 2: 185], thus the ruling is linked to sighting the moon, and sighting the moon is by seeing the crescent, because of the hadith of Abu Hurairah and ibn ‘Umar which states that the  Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and give up fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal)” [al-Bukhari (1909) and Muslim (1081)]. Another hadith states, “So do not fast till you have sighted it (the new moon) and do not break fast, till you have sighted it (the new moon of Shawwal)” [al-Bukhari (1906) and Muslim (1080)]. The establishment of the start of Ramadan is also established by the completion of the thirty days of Sha’ban because of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) statement : “and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete thirty days of Sha'ban” [al-Bukhari (1909)]. These are the ways to establish the beginning of Ramadan. Are these ways specific to different places and areas, or are they general such that when the crescent is sighted in one place it will be general for all places in the world (so that the whole world fasts at the same time?). The scholars have two opinions about this issue. There are those who are of the opinion that each place should have its own sighting of the moon and this is what is known as differences in sighting points. This is the opinion of Imam Shafi’ (may Allah have mercy on him) The majority of the scholars are of the view that if the crescent is sighted in a certain place it is general and it covers all the Muslim countries. This is the opinion of the Hanafites, the Malikites, and the Hambalites. Thus , there is a difference of opinion among the scholars in the issue. In terms of reality, of scholarly reality, the issue has been determined and there is no room for independent reasoning (ijtihad) in it for individuals especially those who are in Muslim countries. These people should follow what is announced by the authorities in their countries because of what has been narrated in the hadith transmitted by at-Tirmithi and others from the hadiths of ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) and Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The fast is the day the people fast, the breaking of the fast is the day the people break their fast, and the sacrifice is the day the people sacrifice." [At-Tirmithi (697)]. The second narration states “Fasting is on the day that people fast, breaking fast  is on the day that the people break the fast, and Al-Adha is the day that the people sacrifice." [at-Tirmithi  (802)]. This indicates that a person should follow his environs, when the people start fasting, he should fast with them, and when they break fast, he should break fast with them.” Thus in terms of practical application I say, “Every country should follow the sighting that is announced or the authorities that inform people about the start of the month of Ramadan.”   The issue of uniting the Muslim countries in terms of sighting the moon is a fiqh opinion, rather, it is the opinion of the majority of the scholars. However, this opinion remains theoretical and has not been translated into practical action because each country has an authority which announces the sighting of the crescent and informs people of the start of the month and its end.

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