Question 1: What 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]? Dated 3 June 2017 (8 Ramadan 1438 AH)
Answer 1: Considering the geographical situation of the world, it is understood that unity in the whole world is not possible, for example, if in the United States of America and Canada there is night, it is day in India. therefore difference (of moon sighting or Ikhtilaf e Matale) is unavoidable. Some scholars and jurists have preferred this view. "صُومُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ وَأَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْدُرُوا ثَلاَثِينَ"[Hadith]
It means that begin fasting and pray Eid salat on sighting the moon. If the moon is not sighted on 29th, complete 30 days of the month. If a Shariah-compliant witness comes from outside in a proper way, it should be accepted and acted upon. If this principle of Shariah is put into practice, there shall be no dispute.
Mufti Habibur Rahman, Mufti Waqar Ali, Mufti Mohammed Noman Sitapuri, Darul Iftah, Darul Uloom Deoband, 13/1/1439 [Ref: Fatwa: 1132-1547 / B = 2/1439] (Received: 4 November 2017).
Question 2: Please clarify what you mean by, “If a Shariah-compliant witness report comes from outside, it should be accepted”. Reports from how far outside is considered to be Shariah-compliant? Note also that the first day’s crescent moon (Hilal) goes below the horizon before Isha time, which is between 1 hour to 1.5 hours after Maghrib, depending on the season (summer or winter). Therefore, if the moon is not sighted in the UK due to adverse weather conditions, then [we propose that] any news of foreign countries must not exceed 1.5 hrs time-zone difference to the East (e.g. Germany) or to the West (e.g. Western Sahara). And to avoid moonset before sunset and change of seasons, we must limit the locations to above the equator (i.e. Tropic of Cancer - see attached map). If this suggestion is approved, it will be consistent with your previous fatwa (i.e. UK to follow Morocco) and could also form the basis of greater unity for the UK Muslims, InShaAllah. Dated 9 December 2017 (20 Rabi ul Awwal 1439)
Answer 2: The reply with the blessings of Allah.
(1) News from distant countries will not be admitted if it would result in our [lunar] month being 28 or 31 days (as it would be against teachings of Quran and Hadith). News (of the crescent moon) from countries where there is not much difference in sunrise and sunset times to us, can be accepted if it is received in a prescribed way.
(2) Previously it was stated by your people [Muslims of Britain] that Morocco is the closest country in respect to sunrise and sunset times and only those people can verify [sighting reports]. Then we did write that you can accept the news from Morocco if it is received in a prescribed way. According to you, Germany and [Western] Sahara are also close to Britain and there is not much difference in sunrise/sunset times so news from those countries can also be accepted [if it is received in a prescribed way].
Mufti Habibur Rahman, Mufti Waqar Ali, Mufti Mohammed Noman Sitapuri, Darul Iftah, Darul Uloom Deoband, 21 Rabi ul Awal 1439 [Ref: 1943 / B=450/1439] (Received: 27 January 2018).
[Note that by accepting moon sighting reports from Morocco, we are automatically accepting it from Western Sahara, because whenever there is a negative sighting report from the mainland of Morocco, the Moroccan Awqaf Ministry would wait until they receive the report from the Moroccan Army/Navy in Dakhla (Western Sahara) - Editor]