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Do Saudi Scholars impose Saudi moon sighting on Non-Saudi residents?

crescent-new-moon-1-2

Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) made a mention of the new moon and (in this connection) said: Observe fast when you see it (the new moon) and break fast when you see it (the new moon of Shawwal), but when (the actual position of the month is) concealed from you (on account of cloudy sky), then count thirty days. [Muslim]


The blessed month of Ramadhan is around and we should prepare ourselves to immerse in the Barakah and tranquillity which is exclusive to this great month and ensure that not a moment of it is wasted without us distancing ourselves from the fire of hell and gaining proximity to Jannah. This isn't a month of bickering or time wasting, rather it should be viewed as a colossal opportunity to get close to Allah (SWT).

Unfortunately in the west, this month will also bring controversies about its start and end dates and a primary factor in this confusion is our sincere brothers and sisters who will simply turn on their TV sets (to check for Taraweeh Salah in Haram) or contact their friends and acquaintances or receive email or SMS notifications from certain websites and portals; for them the start and end of Ramadhan, Eidul-Fitr and Eidul-Adha has become inseparable from Saudi Arabia.

We write this to appeal to the conscious of all those who wish to follow the noble Sunnah of Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam). The command in the Sunnah is for Muslims to observe the crescent locally and it is explicit in the Authentic Hadeeth of Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam):


حدثنا آدم، حدثنا شعبة، حدثنا محمد بن زياد، قال سمعت أبا هريرة ـ رضى الله عنه ـ يقول قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أو قال قال أبو القاسم صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏"‏ صوموا لرؤيته، وأفطروا لرؤيته، فإن غبي عليكم فأكملوا عدة شعبان ثلاثين ‏"

Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) made a mention of the new moon and (in this connection) said: Observe fast when you see it (the new moon) and break fast when you see it (the new moon of Shawwal), but when (the actual position of the month is) concealed from you (on account of cloudy sky), then count thirty days. [Muslim]

The practise of imposing moon sighting of one location (be it Makkah) has never been the practise of the Muslim Ummah for 1400+ years, an important consideration is obviously the time difference i.e. by the time its sunset in Makkah there are Muslims around the world who are already in bed because its past midnight in their locality. But, more importantly we have the explicit practise of Sahaba (RA) which expressly shows us that the Sahaba (RA) followed local moon sighting.

عَنْ كُرَيْبٍ أَنَّ أُمَّ الْفَضْلِ بِنْتَ الْحَارِثِ بَعَثَتْهُ إِلَى مُعَاوِيَةَ بِالشَّامِ قَالَ فَقَدِمْتُ الشَّامَ فَقَضَيْتُ حَاجَتَهَا وَاسْتُهِلَّ عَلَيَّ رَمَضَانُ وَأَنَا بِالشَّامِ فَرَأَيْتُ الْهِلَالَ لَيْلَةَ الْجُمُعَةِ ثُمَّ قَدِمْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ فِي آخِرِ الشَّهْرِ فَسَأَلَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الْهِلَالَ فَقَالَ مَتَى رَأَيْتُمْ الْهِلَالَ فَقُلْتُ رَأَيْنَاهُ لَيْلَةَ الْجُمُعَةِ فَقَالَ أَنْتَ رَأَيْتَهُ فَقُلْتُ نَعَمْ وَرَآهُ النَّاسُ وَصَامُوا وَصَامَ مُعَاوِيَةُ فَقَالَ لَكِنَّا رَأَيْنَاهُ لَيْلَةَ السَّبْتِ فَلَا نَزَالُ نَصُومُ حَتَّى نُكْمِلَ ثَلَاثِينَ أَوْ نَرَاهُ فَقُلْتُ أَوَ لَا تَكْتَفِي بِرُؤْيَةِ مُعَاوِيَةَ وَصِيَامِهِ فَقَالَ لَا هَكَذَا أَمَرَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَشَكَّ يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى فِي نَكْتَفِي أَوْ تَكْتَفِي

Kuraib reported that Umm Fadl, daughter of Harith, sent him (Fadl, i.e. her son) to Sayyidina Mu'awiya (RA) in Syria. I (Fadl) arrived in Syria, and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to Medina at the end of the month. Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (RA) asked me (about the new moon of Ramadan) and said: When did you see it? I said.: We saw it on the night of Friday. He said: (Did) you see it yourself? -I said: Yes, and the people also saw it and they observed fast and Mu'awiya also observed fast, whereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. So we would continue to observe fast till we complete thirty (lasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sightidg of the moon by Mu'awiya not valid for you? He said: No; this is how the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) has commanded us. Yahya b. Yahya was in doubt (whether the word used in the narration by Kuraib) was Naktafi or Taktafi. [Muslim]

The purpose of this article is to show that it is neither the Fatwa nor the practise of Saudi Scholars to impose Saudi sighting on Western Muslims, in fact their opinion is quite the opposite which is to follow local sighting!

What is the Saudi system of moon sighting?

The following video is a recording of a meeting with British Muslim Scholars and Shaykh Abdullah Munea (member of Saudi Royal Courts) and Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Saleh Al-Hamid (member of the Saudi Supreme Court) and the two clear statements can be heard directly from the Saudi Scholars who are responsible for moon sighting in the country:

1Saudi Arabia does not sight the moon every month, rather they rely on the civil "Ummul-Qura Calendar" for all months other then Ramadhan, Shawaal & Dhul-Hijjah.

 

2Calculations are taken into consideration i.e. when the moonset is before sunset; since it is not possible to establish the month the sighting is not considered.

 

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

There should be no illusions or misunderstanding in anyone's mind after watching the video above that Saudi Arabia actually uses moon sighting for all 12 months or that calculations are not considered during the moon sighting process in Saudia, the later may have been the case previously but it is no longer true.

Do the Saudi Scholars give Fatwa for Western Muslims to follow Saudi moon sighting?

Absolutely not!

The advice and Fatwa of the Saudi Scholars has always been for the Muslims (globally) to establish sighting of the moon locally and to follow their own local sighting, we will now attempt to give opinions of major and well known Saudi Scholars who unanimously advise Muslims to follow local sighting.

Shaykh Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah ibn Baz (RA) negating setting of Makkah for global sighting:


فأما قول من قال إنه ينبغي أن يكون المعتبر رؤية هلال مكة خاصة ، فلا أصل له ولا دليل عليه

"As for those who say that it is necessary to follow the sighting of Makkah, then let it be known to them, that there is no proof or basis for this in the Qur'aan and Hadith". (Sheikh Abdullah bin Baz RA AlBa'ath ul Islaaami Zil Hijjah 1399 Hijri).

Shaykh Salih al-Uthaymeen (RA) on negating setting of Makkah for global sighting:

... Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about those who call for the ummah to be united in fasting and for the moon sighting to be based on its sighting in Makkah. He said:

This is impossible from an astronomical point of view, because the sighting of the new moon, as Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said, differs, according to the scientists who are well-versed in this field. Because it differs, then each country should have its own ruling, according to the reports and according to science.The evidence from reports is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month" [al-Baqarah 2:185]

Shaykh Adil Salahi (ArabNews):

...These people are well meaning. They think that Islam is practiced in its best form in Saudi Arabia and they want to follow it. But their practice is wrong because it does not have a solid basis. If we were to extend their practice to its logical conclusion, we should offer prayers according to the timings in Saudi Arabia, rather than our own timings. Thus, we should import Saudi calendars and follow the timings indicated in them. Similarly, we should fast the same number of hours as fasting is indicated in Saudi Arabia. This is easy nowadays, because of satellite television. We can always watch the time in Saudi Arabia and follow it. Needless to say, no one will agree to this although some logical argument could be presented in its support, such as the unity of all Muslims.

Yet the practice of all Muslims is that each locality has its own timings. The difference in prayer time between Jeddah and Dammam, at the two coasts of Saudi Arabia is around an hour. No one suggests that it should not be observed. In fact if it is not observed, we run the risk of having our prayers rendered invalid.

The difference in starting Ramadan has always been known, and the Prophet's (peace be upon him) companions accepted it. Abdullah ibn Abbas asked someone who had traveled from Damascus to Madinah about the day they started Ramadan...

Dr Ahmed Ibn Saifuddin (HA):

...Muslims should follow their own local sighting except for the month of Dhul-Hijjah..

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Shaykh Saud Al-Shuraim (Imam of Makkah) in his Friday Khutbah on 22nd of July 2011:

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The sheikh said sighting the moon is established in the Sharia, and this principle does not preclude benefiting from modern science and technology as these do not violate the principle nor contradict it. Examples of this include the usage of binoculars and mathematical calculations which assist in realising the sighting of the moon, or tahqeeq al-ru'yah. By this means, conflicting points of view can be unified and disputation lessened. He then quoted the following Hadeeth from Saheeh Muslim in favour of following local sighting:

عَنْ كُرَيْبٍ أَنَّ أُمَّ الْفَضْلِ بِنْتَ الْحَارِثِ بَعَثَتْهُ إِلَى مُعَاوِيَةَ بِالشَّامِ قَالَ فَقَدِمْتُ الشَّامَ فَقَضَيْتُ حَاجَتَهَا وَاسْتُهِلَّ عَلَيَّ رَمَضَانُ وَأَنَا بِالشَّامِ فَرَأَيْتُ الْهِلَالَ لَيْلَةَ الْجُمُعَةِ ثُمَّ قَدِمْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ فِي آخِرِ الشَّهْرِ فَسَأَلَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا ثُمَّ ذَكَرَ الْهِلَالَ فَقَالَ مَتَى رَأَيْتُمْ الْهِلَالَ فَقُلْتُ رَأَيْنَاهُ لَيْلَةَ الْجُمُعَةِ فَقَالَ أَنْتَ رَأَيْتَهُ فَقُلْتُ نَعَمْ وَرَآهُ النَّاسُ وَصَامُوا وَصَامَ مُعَاوِيَةُ فَقَالَ لَكِنَّا رَأَيْنَاهُ لَيْلَةَ السَّبْتِ فَلَا نَزَالُ نَصُومُ حَتَّى نُكْمِلَ ثَلَاثِينَ أَوْ نَرَاهُ فَقُلْتُ أَوَ لَا تَكْتَفِي بِرُؤْيَةِ مُعَاوِيَةَ وَصِيَامِهِ فَقَالَ لَا هَكَذَا أَمَرَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَشَكَّ يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى فِي نَكْتَفِي أَوْ تَكْتَفِي

Kuraib reported that Umm Fadl, daughter of Harith, sent him (Fadl, i.e. her son) to Sayyidina Mu'awiya (RA) in Syria. I (Fadl) arrived in Syria, and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to Medina at the end of the month. Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (RA) asked me (about the new moon of Ramadan) and said: When did you see it? I said.: We saw it on the night of Friday. He said: (Did) you see it yourself? -I said: Yes, and the people also saw it and they observed fast and Mu'awiya also observed fast, whereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. So we would continue to observe fast till we complete thirty (lasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sightidg of the moon by Mu'awiya not valid for you? He said: No; this is how the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) has commanded us. Yahya b. Yahya was in doubt (whether the word used in the narration by Kuraib) was Naktafi or Taktafi. [Muslim]

Shaykh Salih al-Uthaymeen (RA) negating the concept of global Eidul-Adha after Hajj:


فقد اطلعنا على فتوى سماحتكم في كتاب «فتاوى إسلامية» حول رؤية الهلال في بلد لا تلزم جميع البلاد بأحكامه. فهل ينطبق هذا على رؤية هلال عيد الأضحى (شهر ذي الحجة) أفيدونا مأجورين
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته


الهلال تختلف مطالعه بين أرض وأخرى في رمضان وغيره، والحكم واحد في الجميع، لكني أرى أن يتفق الناس على شيء واحد، وأن يتبعوا ما يقوله أمير الجالية الإسلامية في بلاد غير المسلمين؛ لأن الأمر في هذا واسع إن شاءالله، حيث إن بعض العلماء يقول: متى ثبتت رؤية الهلال في بلد الإسلام في أي قطر لزم الحكم جميع المسلمين في جميع الأقطار الإسلامية. - كتبه محمد الصالح العثيمين في  15/2/1421

The answer by Dr Ahamed Ibn Saifuddin (HA) might confuse some Muslims so here we present the unequivocal statement of Shaykh (Qadhi) Salih al-Uthaymeen (RA):

Q: Should we abide by the local sighting in determining the Eid-al-Adha or should we follow the pilgrims' schedule, knowing that North America sighting of crescent may come a day before Saudi Arabia's sighting?

A: "You should abide by the city you're living in."

Q: This means that we will fast the 9th of Zul-Hijja of North America and pray Eid on 10th Zul-Hijja of North America!

A: "Yes, and this is what you should do without any (Haraj) or mental anxiety."

 

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) on the verification of moon sighting:

The ultimate test of moon sighting is wherever on the globe the moon is sighted as you move westwards is it incumbent on the people to see the moon because due to time differences sunset will be later which means that the moon will be more luminous. To explain this phenomenon more clearly if the moon is sighted in London then in New York the sunset will be at least 5 hours later, in Chicago the sunset will be at least 6 hours later and in Los Angeles the sunset will be at least 8 hours later thus making the moon brighter and easier to be sighted.

This concept was explained by Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) as follows:

قال ابن التيمية: أحدها: ان الرؤية تختلف باختلاف التشريق والتغريب، فإنه متى رؤي في المشرق وجب ان يري في المغرب ولاينعكس، لأنه يتاخرغروب الشمس بالمغرب عن وقت غروبها بالمشرق، فإذا كان قد رؤي ازداد بالمغرب نوراً وبعداً عن الشمس وشعاعها وقت غروبها، فيكون أحق بالرؤية، وليس كذالك إذا رؤي بالمغرب، لأنه قد يكون سبب الرؤية تأخرغروب الشمس عندهم، فازداد بعداًوضوءً، ولما غربت بالمشرق كان قريباً منها. (مجموعه الفتاوى جلد13 ص62)

“...One of them being that If the hilal has been sighted in the east then this will necessitate sightings in the west. However this is not true the other way round. This is because the time of sunset in the west is after the time of sunset in the east. If the moon has been sighted (in the east) then one will observe a much brighter and a more illuminated moon in the west...[Majmu‟ Al Fatawa Volume 13, Page 62]"


Then affirmed by Shaykh Uthaymeen (RA) using very precise wordings as follows:

ولهذا قال أهل العلم: إذا رآه أهل المشرق وجب على أهل المغرب المساوين لهم في الخط أن يصوموا؛ لأن المطالع متفقة، ولأن الهلال إذا كان متأخراً عن الشمس في المشرق فهو في المغرب من باب أولى؛ لأن سير القمر بطيء كما قال الله تعالى: {{وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا تَلاَهَا *}} [الشمس].

"...It is thus that the people of knowledge have said: If the people of the East see it (the crescent) it is incumbent on the people in the West who are level with them to fast, because their sighting zone is the same. And because the crescent, if it is after the Sun in the East, it will be more so in the West, because the orbit of the Moon is slow, as He (Most High) said: ‘And the moon when it follows it’. (Al-Shams]...Shaykh al-Uthaymeen in his commentary entitled ‘Sharh al-Mumti‘ on the Hanbali fiqh text ‘Zad al-Mustaqni‘"

Who is attempting local sighting in UK & North America?

Alhumdolillah there are many Muslims who have been blessed to follow the Sunnah and sight the moon every month and report on the progress. We request all British Muslims to register with ICOP-UK:

1 All Muslims are encouraged to revive the Sunnah and sight the crescent locally and co-ordinate their efforts in a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood.

 

2All moon sighting attempts are broadcast on the web

 

3All moon sighting reports are co-ordinated with countries east of UK (Morocco, South Africa etc)

 

4All moon sighting reports can be sent via email or SMS

 

5 ICOP-UK is collection of well intentioned Muslims and all Services are provided free of charge for the benefit of Muslims with the expectation of reward on the day of judgement.

We request all Muslims to register free and play a crucial role in reviving the Sunnah.

In the US Hilal Sighting of North America is a similar organisation working along similar lines to revive the Sunnah of local moon sighting.

TV or Sunnah?

In conclusion we pose a simple questions to all Muslims in the West who fear Allah (SWT) and want to follow the Sunnah:

--> Would you turn on your TV in a few days time to obtain your news of moonsighting OR would you follow the Sunnah?


Addendum: We are an illiterate community – we do not write or calculate?

Shaykh (Mufti) Sajid Patel (HA)

Imam Bukhari in his Sahih has narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Umar (May Allah pleased with them both) from the Prophet (May Allah send benedictions and peace on him) that he said, "We are an illiterate community – we do not write or calculate. The month is like this and this", i.e. sometimes 29 [days], and sometimes 30."

في صحيح البخارى ( باب قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم -: لا نكتب ولا نحسب ) ، ( عن إبن عمر – رضي الله عنهما – عن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أنه قال : إنا أمّة أميّة لا نكتب ولا نحسب ، الشهر هكذا و هكذا : يعني مرة تسعة وعشرين ومرة ثلاثين ).

This hadith has been utilised as a foundation for excluding a role for astronomy and calculation in guiding the timings of the lunar months. Advocates of this view suggest, based on their interpretation of the meaning of the aforementioned Hadith, there being no role for calculation in confirming or ratifying lunar sightings. However when considering the explanation of our pious predecessors on the subject, it would seem that such an inference is inaccurate.

 

 1 Al-Subki (RA) writes on page 4 of his treatise [العلم المنشور]

 

"Chapter regarding the meaning of his statement (May Allah send benedictions and peace on him) "The Month is like this, this and this" rolling his thumb in the third [round], "and the month is like this, this and this" i.e. the full 30

It is an authentic narration reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim from the narration of 'Abd 'llah bin 'Umar (May Allah pleased with them both).

In its beginning is "We are an illiterate community – we do not write or calculate." Its meaning – and Allah knows better – that the month is sometimes 30 and sometimes 29 with no third option.

It is not like what the astronomers say, as for them, it is always 29 days and a fraction [of a day], as the lunar year is 354.37 days. The number of months is twelve as Allah (Most High) said. When these days are divided over twelve months, every month would be 29 days and a bit. The moon aligns with the sun once a month, and when it parts from [the sun], it would be the beginning of the [lunar] month according to them until it [returns] back to this state. That may happen in during the day or the night.

So the Prophet (may Allah send benedictions and peace on him) nullified the consideration of that [method], and assigned as part of the first month [the duration of] when [the moon] parts from the sun up to the full 29 days if [the moon] is seen, or up to the full 30 if it is not seen, regardless of whether we see it on the night of the 30th or we complete 30 [days]. And thus, sunset on either night would be the beginning of the month. This was gained from His (May Allah send benedictions and peace on him) indication and the statement of the one narrating from him "ten, ten and nine", as that requires the inclusion of [preceding] nights under the ruling of days, because the removal of Ta' is indicative of the consideration of nights, and [that] is the founding principle in [the annals of] dates.

His (May Allah send benedictions and peace on him) statement "We" means the Arabs, as that [illiteracy] was the predominant [state] for them despite some knowing how to write and count. The fact that they did not write or count was an honour for them, as had passed in the knowledge of Allah that they are community of the illiterate Prophet, which was a miracle for Him (may Allah send benedictions and peace on him) and honour for them, as they were ascribed with one of his attributes. He assigned that to be a sign for the month in the Shariah, so that it may be coherently aligned with an apparent matter that is known to everyone and cannot be mistaken in, as opposed to calculations as only a few people would know it and mistakes therein would occur frequently due to a lacking in its knowledge and its premises. Sometimes, some [premises of calculation] are tentative.

Divine Wisdom and the straight, easy Shariah wanted to lessen the burden from the servants and connect the laws to sight or the completion of 30 [days], which is easy for the people. The narration does not mean the prohibition of writing or calculation, not does it condemn or belittle them; rather they are a virtue for us. It is also not the meaning of the narration that the astronomer's [calculation for conjunction], [sun-moon] separation, or the possibility or impossibility of seeing [the moon] is nullified or to declare him a liar in that; rather what the narration only contains is not to connect the legal ruling or [starting off] the month based on [his statements]."

وقال السبكي في العلم المنشور صفحة 4 : فصل

في معنى قوله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – (( الشهر هـكذا و هـكذا و هـكذا – وعقد الإبهام في الثالثة – والشهر هـكذا و هـكذا و هـكذا ، يعني تمام الثلاثين )) وهو حديث صحيح رواه البخاري ومسلم من حديث عبد الله بن عمر– رضي الله عنهما – ، وفي أوله : (( إنا أمّة أميّة لا نكتب ولا نحسب )). ومعناه والله أعلم : أن الشهر تارة يكـون ثلاثين ، وتارة يكـون تسعة وعشرين ، لا يخرج عن هـذين الأمرين ، وليس كما يقوله أهل الحساب والنجوم ، فإن عندهم دائما تسعة و عشرون وكسر ، لأن السنة القمرية ثلاثمائة وأربعة وخمسون يوماً وخمس يوم وسدس يوم ، وعدة الشهور اثنا عشر شهرا ، كما قال الله تعالى . فإذا قسمت هـذه الأيام على اثنى عشر كان كل شهر تسعة وعشرين وشيأ . والقمر يجتمع مع الشمس في كل شهر مرة ، فإذا فارقها فهو أول الشهر عندهم إلى أن ينتهي إلى مثل تلك الحالة ، وقد يكـون ذالك في أثناء النهار ، وقد يكـون في أثناء الليل ، فأبطل النبي - صلى الله عليه وسلم – إعتبار ذالك وجعل ما بعد مفارقته الشمس إلى تمام تسعة وعشرين ، إن رئي ، أو إلى تمام ثلاثين إن لم ير من الشهر الأول ، وسواءٌ رأيناه ليلة الثلاثين أو أكملنا ثلاثين فأول الشهر غروب الشمس من إحدي الليلتين ، واستفيد ذالك من إشارته - صلى الله عليه وسلم – وقول الراوي عنه : عشرا عشرا وتسعاً . فإن ذالك يقتضي دخول الليالي في حكم الأيام ، لأن حذف التاء يدل على إعتبار الليالي وهي الأصل في التاريخ ،

( وقوله - صلى الله عليه وسلم – :- إنّا ) يعني العرب ، لأن الغالب عليها ذالك ، وإن كان قد يعلم بعضهم الكتابة والحساب ، وكـونهم لا يكتبون ولا يحسبون شرف لهم ، لما سبق في علم الله من أنهم أمّة النبي الأمّي ، فذالك معجزة له - صلى الله عليه وسلم – وشرف لهم ، لاتصافهم بصفة من صفاته ، وجعل ذالك علماً في الشريعة على الشهر ليكـون ضبطاً بأمر ظاهر يعرفه كل أحد ولا يغلط فيه بخلاف الحساب ، فإنه لا يعرفه إلا القليل من الناس ويقع الغلط فيه كثيراً للتقصير في علمه ومقدماته ، وربما كان بعضها ظنّياً ، فاقتضت الحكمة الإلهيّة والشريعة الحنيفية السمحة ، التخفيف على العباد وربط الأحكام بما هو متيسر على الناس من الرؤية ، أو كمال العدد ثلاثين . وليس معنى الحديث النهي عن الكتابة والحساب ولا ذمّهما وتنقيصهما ، بل هما فضيلة فينا وليس في الحديث أيضا إبطال قول الحاسب في قوله : إن القمر يجتمع مع الشمس أو يفارقها ، أو تمكن رؤيته أو لا تمكن رؤيته والحكم بكذبه في ذالك ، وإنما في الحديث عدم إناط الحكم الشرعي وتسمية الشهر به .

 

2 Shaykh Bakhit said in his treatise, p. 103:

 

"His statement (may Allah send benedictions and peace on him) "We are an illiterate community – we do not write or calculate" does not contain any indication that scribes or astronomers are wrong; rather it indicates they are correct and truthful. The coming of [this narration] was in the context of uncovering the miracle and explaining that his godly realisations were via revelation that was revealed to him from Allah (Most High). The basic meaning of it is we know that via the Allah (Most High) teaching us and making us aware, not anyone else, because we are an illiterate community that does not use calculation nor writing – that is only known by astronomers by their usage of their calculation, and by writers via writing about others. He (Most High) said, "You did not used to recite a book before it, nor did you write with your right hand; the people of falsehood would have then doubted. Rather, it is clear verses in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge. Only the unjust deny about our verses."

He also said, p. 101:

"It is known that the month based on calculations on definite rules is only 29 days and a bit. The legislator, out of mercy and compassion for the people, only obligated fast upon seeing the crescent of Ramadan or upon] the completion of 30 [days] of Sha'ban, as He (Most High) connected fasting to an apparent matter which the specialists and public [all] know. Likewise, He (Most High) connected the obligation of terminating the period of compulsory fasting to the seeing of the crescent of Shawwal or the completion of 30 [days] of Ramadan for the reasons we have mentioned and for safeguarding the fast. That is what logic and narration mutually agree on, and is proven from the angle of the Shariah and from the angle of wisdom. It is most definitely established via calculation – and there is no turning back from [this fact] – that the moon to the point it de-aligns itself from the sun is 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes and 4 seconds, and aligns itself another time in the period of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds. It aligns itself with [the sun] at another time in the period of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds. The period of the lunar year is 354.37 days. Calculations are all definitive matters – there is no way to rebuff them, as denying them is tantamount to being quarrelsome for no reason"

وقال الشيخ بخيت في رسالته صفحة 103 : وقوله - صلى الله عليه وسلم – (( إنا أمّة أميّة لا نكتب ولا نحسب )) ليس فيه ما يدل على تخطئة الكتّاب والحسّاب ، بل يدل على تصويبهما وتصديقهما ، فإن صدوره في معرض إظهار المعجزة وبيان أن معارفه الإلهيّة بوحي يوحى من عند الله تعالى ، فإن حاصل المراد منه أنّا نعرف ذالك بإعلام الله تعالى ، وتعريفه لنا لا بغيره لأنا أمّة أميّة لا نستعمل الحساب ولا نتداول الكتابة ، وإنما يعرفه الحسّاب بمزاولة حسابهم والكتّاب بالكتابة عن غيرهم ، قال تعالى : ( وما كنت تتلوا من قبله من كتاب ولا تخطّه بيمينك إذًا لارتاب المبطلون* بل هو آيات بيّنات في صدور الذين أوتوا العلم وما يجحد بآياتنا إلا الظّالمون ))

وقال أيضا صفحة 101 : وقد عرف بأن الشهر بالحساب المبني على القواعد القطعيّة لا يكـون إلا تسعة وعشرين يوماً وكسراً . وإنما الشارع أوجب الصوم عند رؤية هلال رمضان أو إكمال عدة شعبان ثلاثين ، رحمة بالناس وشفقة بهم ، حيث أناط الصوم بأمر ظاهر يعرفه الخاص والعام ، وكذالك قد أناط وجوب الفطر برؤية هلال شوال أو إكمال عدة رمضان ثلاثين يوما لما ذكرناه واحتياطاً للصوم ، وذالك مما توافق عليه العقل و النقل و ثبت من جهة الشريعة و من جهة الحكمة ، فإنه قد ثبت بطريق الحساب ثبوتاً لا مردّ له ، أن القمر إلى نقطة فارق فيها الشمس في مدة سبعة و عشرين يوماً وسبع ساعات وثلاث و أربعين دقيقة و أربع ثوان . ويجتمع معها مرّة أخرى في مدة تسعة و عشرين و نصف يوم وأربع وأربعين دقيقة وثلاث ثوان ، وأن مدة السنة القمرية ثلاثمائة يوم وأربعة وخمسون يوماً وخمس يوم واحد وسدسه وكسر. والحسابات كلها أمور قطعيّة برهانيّة لا سبيل إلى مجاحدتها فإنكارها مكابرة اه .

In conclusion, it would seem that the Hadith does not exclude or prohibit the use of calculation in matters of clarifying the timings of moon sightings. In essence, we learn that according to Shariah the lunar months are either 29 or 30 full days, rather than the 29 days plus a fraction thereof, as would be determined on the basis of Astronomy. The wisdom behind this was to some degree to ease the burden upon the believers, and provide a clear and universally identifiable symbol for the commencement of a new month, that being the sighting of the crescent (or the month reaching 30 days). Separating the laws of Shariah from Science and literacy was also a means of demonstrating the divinity of the religion to the observing Arabs at the time. It is accepted that the commencement of a new month is based upon the sighting of the crescent; crucially however, no inferences were made to prohibit the use of calculation and Astronomy in guiding this.

Ittihad-ul-Mataal'i is also known via calculations

Shaikh Mohammad bin Abd-ur-Razzaq Al-Marakishi writes:

"Do you not see what many jurists said, that when crescent-sighting is established in one city, it would encompass every city whose horizon is in accordance with the city of sighting? It is known that horizon is only known via [astronomical] calculation.

The statement of al-Subki in his treatise, p. 13, has passed previously: "There are [various] opinions in a city's sighting obligating another city[...] The sixth position is that it would be binding on every city whose horizon is in accordance with the city of sighting. This is the correct position according to our Iraqi disciples, and others. There is an inclination therein for [the legitimacy of astronomical] calculation, because the horizon can only be known via calculation. By horizon, the place where the crescent appears is meant. Knowledge of two cities being the same in terms of the crescent horizon requires a good portion of [awareness with] astronomy. The opinion of the mass majority does not consider calculation wrong [in ascertaining horizons] and disregarding it when the crescent is not sighted, because calculation by itself is alone [in the latter], whereas [calculation] comes in addition to sighting in the cities [in the former]. From this, we take that calculation is not rendered redundant, but sighting is a requisite as a general principle due to the prophetic narration." (Al-Azb-uz-Zulal fi Mabahithi Ruyat-il-Hilal, pg 466)

أولا ترا إلى ما يقوله كثير من الفقهاء من أنه إذا ثبتت رؤية الهلال في بلد ، فإنها تعم كل بلد يوافق بلد الرؤية في المطلع . ومن المعلوم أن المطلع لا يعرف إلا بالحساب . وتقدم قول السبكي في رسالته صفحة 13 : وفي لزوم رؤية بلد بلداً آخر أقوال ، إلى أن قال : السادس : يلزم كل بلد يوافق بلد الرؤية في المطلع ، وهـذا هو الصحيح عند العراقين من أصحابنا وغيرهم . وفيه جنوح إلى الحساب ، لأن المطلع إنما يعرف بالحساب . والمراد بالمطلع ، مطلع الهلال . ومعرفة توافق البلدين في مطلع الهلال يحتاج إلى حظ جيد من علم الهيئة . ولا يستنكر نظر الأكثرين إلى الحساب ها هنا وإعراضهم عنه إذا لم ير الهلال ، لأن هناك تجرد الحساب وحده ، وهنا انضاف إلى الرؤية في البلاد. فمن هنا نأخذ أن الحساب ليس ملغى لكن الرؤية شرط في الجملة للحديث . صفحة 466 العذب الزلال في مباحث رؤية الهلال


Addendum: Doesn't the Hanafi Madhab call for global moon sighting of any place on Earth to be accepted?

In order to understand the Hanafi Madhab you need to go to an expert of Hanafi Madhab and ask them to explain the rulings of the Madhab so it can be understood correctly.


Shaykh (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (RA) is one of the foremost leading Hanafi Scholar of the world today and he explains in detail that what is meant by accepting global sighting on different horizons  is that when a new moon is born (anywhere on Earth) it forms an arc of visibility. Areas which lie within the arc will see the moon will ease and areas which are outside the arc will not see it. The classical position of the Madhab can be easily illustrated by this graphic below for Shawwal 1434, notice the arcs of visibility, it is further explained by A, B, C & D at the bottom.

shw-2

 

Secondly, in the Hanafi Madhab the testimony of 1-2 people is not accepted if the horizons are clear rather the testimony of a large group is required and this is explained in detail by Shaykh (Mufti) Yusuf Danka (HA).

 

Summary:

 

1 The evidence in Authentic Hadeeth is to go with local sighting and this is also the opinion of 3 Madhabs and later Scholars of Hanafi Madhab.

 

2 If someone wants to go with the Ijtehaad of the Hanafi Madhab and accept global sighting then a further two conditions must be met:

 

a Sighting must be verified by such a large gorup that it becomes impossible for it be rejected as explained in detail by Shaykh (Mufti) Yusuf Danka (HA).

 

b Sighting must be done within the arc of visibility as explained by Shaykh (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (RA) 

 

 

On the grounds of Authentic evidence (see Hadeeth of Sayyidina Kuraib (RA)) the stronger opinion is not follow Saudi Arabia in UK, since local sighting was practised and adopted by Sahaba (RA).

 

On the grounds of lack of a large group of Muslims testifying the sighting of new moon it is stronger not to follow Saudi Arabian moon sighting for UK since there are NEVER any mass public sightings in Saudia.

On the grounds of proposed rule that areas due West will most certainly sight the moon as proposed by Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) it is stronger not to follow Saudi Arabian moon sighting for UK since neighbouring countries of Saudia hardly ever report sighting of the moon (as confirmation).

On the grounds that Saudi Scholars themselves advise to follow local sighting it is stronger not to follow Saudi Arabian moon sighting for UK.