In 2009, a meeting was held in Batley, UK between Wiqaf ul Ulema and Jamiat Ulema Britain for Uniting the Moon Sighting Announcements of the UK:
In Batley, there was a meeting held of 70 Scholars from the UK to unite the moon sighting announcements of the UK regions before Ramadhan 2010. This meeting was held for the Scholars specifically associated to the teachings of Darul Uloom Deoband. It was unfortunate that the representatives of Hizbul Ulema UK refused to turn up for the meeting. Mufti Aslam stated: ‘Our companions at Hizbul Ulema UK have failed to turn up, at the same time, they sought to prevent us (Jamiat Ulema Britain) from attending also. However, we seek a resolution to this problem (moon sighting announcement), for this reason we are here.’
A meeting was called on 5 different occasions. There was an agreement on a number of points of the criteria to establish the moon sighting announcements. The points that were left to be discussed included: Jame Ghafeer, Muhqaq Ruy’at e Basari etc. It was agreed that these points would be decided by sending letters to the large centres of the Deoband Scholars throughout the World. In all, 19 centres were chosen. Alhamdulillah, letters were prepared by the 3 large groups which represent the Scholars of the UK (Jamiat Ulema Britain, Wifaq Ul Ulema, Batley Ruy’at Hilal Committee). These 3 letters were prepared and days before they were due to be sent out, Mufti Aslam of Jamiat Ulema Britain phoned Mufti Yusuf Sacha Sahib in Batley requesting that no letters be sent out. Mufti Aslam stated that Jamiat Ulema Britain will continue with the current situation. Due to this, the entire Muslim Ummah in the UK has suffered again this year. This proves that the representative of Jamiat Ulema Britain and Hizbul Ulema UK are in no way inclined to follow a united moon sighting criteria for the UK Muslims. These are the very same groups which, after making a promise and oath, by signing their names to an agreement of 350 Scholars in 1984 they broke it. And in 2010, the promise they made in front of 70 Scholars was also broken. Their only desire is to follow the moon sighting criteria of the birth of new moon (Umm Ul Qura calendar) and make others act upon it also. The reality in the UK is that there apart from the moon sighting criteria and announcements there are numerous issues to be tackled. Even in these additional matters the groups of Jamiat Ulema Britain and Hizbul Ulema UK do not come forward for the sake of the Ummah.
A Sincere Advice to the Muslims in the UK from the Scholars of Darul uloom Deoband:
عن عمر رضى الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلم إذا أقبل الّليل من ههنا وأدبرالنّهار من ههنا وغربت الشمس فقد أفطر الصّا ئم (متّفق عليه
Sayyidina Umar (رضى الله عنه) narrated that The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) stated: ‘When night falls from this direction (pointing to the eastern horizon) making it dark and the day break finishes from that direction (pointing to the western horizon). And the sun has completely set, then the fasting person should (with certainty) break his fast.' (Jami Tirmidhi, Vol 1, p150 also in Saheeh Bukhari).
As the Arabian Peninsula consists of mountainous regions (the Two Blessed Cities of Makkah and Madinah lie within mountainous areas) some doubt is created for observers on when the time of sunset actually occurs. Due to this, the Prophet has given us the criteria to observe the darkness setting in from the eastern horizon and the daylight receding from the western horizon for the fasting person to break his fast. Shari’ah states the issues in which doubt is created, according to Islamic jurisprudence should not be adopted. The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) has stated ‘Leave that which is doubtful for that which has no doubt.’ (Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Nasaíi).
On the basis of this Hadith, today in the UK in order to remove all doubts, the Ulama of Deoband have put forth this guidance. When Saudi makes an announcement regarding the sighting of the moon, we should not as a matter of convenience follow them. Instead of deciding upon the matter in haste we should rather be patient and observe the condition in our Country and those near to us geographically. This is because; as the sun sets observers around the world especially in the continent of Africa can clearly sight the moon straight after the Saudi sunset. If the information received from the African continent is reliable (Muhaqaq Ruy’at e Basari) and in line with the Saudi announcement then it is acceptable for us to adopt this sighting in the UK. However, usually after Saudi has made their announcement the moon is neither sighted in the entire African or American continents as well as the Indian sub continent. Sometimes the period between Saudis sighting and that of other countries differ by up to 12 hours or a whole day whereby no sighting of the moon is witnessed in nearby lands and continents, whereas the moon should be sighted the next day. There are also known reports of Individuals living within Saudi Arabia who testify to seeing the moon two days after the Saudi announcement has been made. It is also reported and encouraged by the Sahih Hadith that ‘Ruy’at e Aamah’ (sighting by a large group) is a condition of accepting a sighting of the crescent moon. This criterion of sighting by a large group is never found in Saudi Arabia. In such a situation, those who do not live under the authority of Saudi Arabia’s Islamic jurisprudence should not destroy their fast, Eid and Qurbani/Adhiyah.