Shaykhul Hadith Mufti Saeed Khalid Saifullah Rahmani writes: ‘One may benefit from Astronomical research to the extent that if on any day, there is no possibility of sighting, then on that day a testimony should only be accepted with great care and research, and so many people must sight the moon that it is not possible to reject their testimonies…’ (Jadeed Fiqhi Masaail vol 2, p 28)
قمرى ماه آا شروع هوناچاند دآهنے پر موقوف هے، فلكيات کے فن سے اسميں اتنى مدد تولى جاسكتى هے آہ آج چاند هونےآا امكان هے يا نہيں. (آپ کےمسائل اوران آاحل ج 3 ص 261 ، حضرت مولانا مفتى محمد يوسف لدهيانوى رحمه الله
Hadhrat Mufti Yusuf Ludyanwi ﷲا ﻪﻤﺣر write: ‘The sighting of the crescent moon is the basis of the commencement for the new Islamic month. The knowledge of Astronomy can be utilised to ascertain the possibility of sighting the new crescent on a particular day. (Aap ke Masa’il aur un kaa hal, vol 3, p261)
Every Muslim regards scientific development and instrument such as telephones, computers, telescopes etc as a favour and blessing of Allah . Using these blessings correctly, is a sign of gratitude to Allah . However, these blessings should not be used in incorrect ways or for wrong purposes:
Allah says: ‘He (Allah) it is who created for you all that is on Earth...’ (s2,v29)
Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib Uthmani حفظه الله writes: ‘Upon the issue of the moon, if there is an advancement of technology to assist in the field of Astronomy to the point where there is no deviation from the Islamic principles, then there is no reason to reject it. (Ru’yat Hilal, p10)
شهادت آى روسے چاند آى عمرآا پہلا دن پہلى تاريخ قرار پارهاهے يہ بد يہى البطلان هے اسلئے آہ اسكا مطلب تو يہ هوا آہ هلال پدائش سے بهى قبل نظرآسكتا هے. (احسن الفتاوى جلد 4 ص 418 ، حضرت مفتى رشيد احمد لدهيانوى رحمه الله
It is necessary to mention that the practise of Astronomy and Astrology are completely different spheres of knowledge. The Shariah of Islam does not prohibit the use of science and technology to support the rulings and principles of Islam, as one can clearly see that these calculations are used to establish the time of Subh Sadiq at 18 degress, and Maghrib throughout the World. However, the matter of Astrology has been prohibited through authentic Ahadith of Nabi . The matter of Astrology has many contradictions and inaccuracies. Due to this the Scholars of Islam have stated that Astrology is prohibited in all aspects.
The ruling in the Arabic texts showing the permissibility of Astronomy and prohibition of Astrology are as follows:
(لايجوز تقليد المنجم في حسابه، لا عبرة بقول المنجمين، لا عبرة بقول الموقتين، صرح به علماءنا من عدم الإعتماد علي قول أهل النجوم)
The opinions of the reliable Astronomical researchers and calculation can be used to ascertain whether it is possible to sight the crescent moon on a specific night. This information can be used to discredit and disapprove any false testimonies that may result in this age. However, the commencement of Ramadhan and the announcement of Eid will only be upon the clear sighting of the crescent moon with the naked eye (Muhaqaq Ru’yat Basari). This is the way of the Shariah and Sunnah and whosoever chooses another way is not upon the Sunnah of the Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم.
The Umm ul Qura calendar is also based upon the knowledge of Astronomy. However, they have deviated from the Shariah and Sunnah in the manner that they have disregarded the possibility of sighting the crescent in their region to establish their announcements. The issue here is that they have in fact made the ‘birth of the new moon’ their basis for establishing the new Islamic month and this is against the principles Islam. The Muslims of the rest of the world who follow the Saudi announcement for ease and unity are not acting upon the correct principles.
Due to the blind following of the Umm ul Qura calendar in some countries and not adhering to the Qur’an and Sunnah in others, on occasion Eid is celebrated over two or three different days. This causes disunity amongst the Muslims where sometimes even the husband follows a different day and the wife a different day.
There is also another form of propaganda that simple Muslims often become a victim of. This propaganda plays on the common mans reverence for the Haramain Shareefain and declares the moon sighting announcement from the Haramain Shareefain in Saudi Arabia, cannot be rejected. It is known to any moderately knowledgeable Muslim that the basis of Islam is upon: ‘And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids, abstain from it…’ (Surah: 59, Verse 7)