Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) has said in the Quran:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ ۖ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ
“They ask you (O Muhammad) about the crescent moons. Say: They are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage.” Quran (2: 189)
Based on the Tafsir (commentary) of the above verse, the Fuqaha (Muslim Jurists) have stated that it is Fardh-alal Kifaya (communal obligation) to start the Islamic lunar months by sighting of the crescent moon. That means, if a group of Muslims fulfil the above obligation, then it will be sufficient for others in the community. However, if no ones fulfil this obligation, then the entire community will be sinful.
(Tafsir Mariful Quran, p.482)
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) has said: “Do not fast unless you see the (crescent) moon, do not break your fast until you see the (crescent) moon.” (Sahi Al-Bukhari)
Therefore, even if a group of Muslims fulfil the above communal obligation, it is still a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) for all Muslims to carry out moon sighting to establish the Islamic lunar months.
Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala) has also said in the Quran:
إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّـهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا
“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year)” Quran (9:36)
Based on the above verse and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), the Fuqaha have stated that moon sighting in all twelve months of the year are just as important as for the months of Ibadah (i.e. Ramadan, Shawwal and Dhul-Hijjah). Other Fiqh (Jurespudence) issues, such as calculations of Zakah (obligatory charity), Iddah (waiting period) for divorced women, ligitamacy of a child etc, are all dependent on the twelve lunar months.
It is Sunnah to look for the crescent moon on 29th day of each lunar months. If on the 29th lunar day, the crescent moon is not sighted locally and reliable/verified news has not been obtained from an foreign authority either, then the month will be completed as 30-days. It is not permissible to start the month on a doubtful day as stated below.
Ammar said: “Whoever fasts on a doubtful day has disobeyed Abul-Qasim (i.e. the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ))”. (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
Whilst it is permissible to use scientific calculations to plan ahead when and where to sight the crescent moon, the Fuqaha have stated that it is not permissible to establish the month based purely on these calculations. In the commencement of every month, it is necessary to verify and validate the sighting of the crescent moon (Muhaqaq Ru’yat Basari).
Note that local moon sighting is the established Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), as explained in the Muslim World League (MWL) meeting resolution by renowned Muslim Scholars from different parts of the world (Arabic/English). See also: Fatwa on Moon Sighting and Following Neighbouring Countries (Darul Uloom Deoband, India) [Urdu/اردو]
Checked by: Mufti Amjad Mohammed
With the potential different start dates of Ramadan and Eid, a number of letters were sent on behalf of ICOUK members to Hazrat Maulana Yusuf Motala Sahib (حفظه الله), founder of Darul Uloom Bury, to review his current moon sighting practice and consider adopting a Regional Moon Sighting Criteria for the UK (i.e. UK to Morocco) as previously recommended by Darul Uloom Deoband (India).
All the letters have requested a response before the start of Ramadan 1438. So far, we have not received any response from Hazrat Maulana Yusuf Motala Sahib or any other scholars of Darul Uloom Bury. All the copies of our letters (with Urdu translations) are shown below for the benefit our ICOUK members (and other UK Muslims) to make an informed decision for Ramadan and Eid, InshaAllah.
|1st Letter sent, dated 10/4/2017 (12 Rajab 1438)
||1st Delivery, dated 11/4/2017
|2nd Letter sent, dated 5/5/2017 (8 Shaban 1438)
||2nd Delivery, dated 6/5/2017|
|3rd Letter sent, dated 19/5/2017 (22 Shaban 1438)
||3rd Delivery 20/5/2017|
Telephone call to Darul Uloom Bury on 7/5/2017 16:30 Hrs Audio: [CLICK HERE]MP3
Advice: Start of Jumada-II 1440 AH from 7 Feb 2019, InshaAllah. [Read more]
ICOUK has been registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), which is authorised and regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. [Read more]
Hijri Date API for NACSA criteria (Saudi Arabia)
The NACSA criteria is based on 545 observations, made by professional astronomers over a duration of 27 years (1988 - 2015) and from different locations within Saudi Arabia.The Moon Sighting UK website database has been updated with the NACSA criteria so any Website and/or Mobile App developers may use the ICOUK Hijri Date API to display the daily, monthly or yearly Hijri calendars based on the NACSA moon sighting criteria (Saudi Arabia)." [Read more]
Towards a United Eid in the UK Survey Results [Read more: https://goo.gl/HCFP7f]
Regional Moon Sighting Fatwa by Darul Uloom DeobandWhat is the basis of Global Moon Sighting in Hanafi Madhab? I wish to know if the global sighting rule is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa (رحمه الله, d. 772 CE) himself or was it decided later by other scholars of the Hanafi school, such as Imam Ibn Abedin Ash-Shami [رحمه الله, d. 1836 CE]? [Read more]
Moon Sighting by Shaykh Mohammed Ibrahim Memon
This paper/fatwa discusses the different moon sighting criteria, including: Astronomical Calculations, Universal Moon Sighting, Following Saudi Arabia, Following Saudi Arabia for Dhul-Hijjah Only, Local Sighting for All Months and then concludes with the one that has the strongest evidences from the Shariah [Read more]
Solar eclipse proves the inaccuracy of the Saudi Ummul Qura calendar
On Sunday 3rd November 2013 there was a total solar eclipse in Africa and a partial one in the Middle East, where many thousands of people witnessed the birth of the moon by the human eye, without relying on astronomical calculations. This proved beyond any doubt that the Saudi Ummul Qura calendar does not match the moon visibility! [Read more]
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