Relying on the calendar for determining Sawm and `Eed

Question: In India, the beginning of Ramadaan and `Eed Al-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast) are determined based on the annual calendar which is issued by the Indian Parliament; namely, the beginning and the end of Ramadaan are predetermined at the beginning of the year. By the same token, `Eed Al-Ad-haa (the Festival of the Sacrifice) is also predetermined based on the annual calendar, and not based on the Day of `Arafah. Moreover, Muslims in India usually sacrifice their animals after the time other Muslims, especially in Arab states, sacrifice their animals.

Now, our question is: Concerning the fast of Ramadaan, we usually start our fast when we receive a confirmation of the beginning of Ramadaan by calling our families in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait, or in the Gulf States in general. Our commence of the fast usually occurs before the fast of Muslims in India. Is our fast valid or invalid in this case, taking into consideration that most of the Muslim foreign students in India fast after the new moon is sighted in the Gulf states. Please provide us with a Fatwa on this matter.

Answer: You should observe the fast with Muslims in your country, and it is not permissible to have differences among the residents of the same country in this regard, due to the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying: The beginning of Ramadaan is the day when you begin fasting, the end of Ramadaan is on the day when you end it, and ‘Eed Al-Ad-haa is on the day when you sacrifice. It is noteworthy that the legal confirmation of the beginning of the lunar month is legally established by sighting the new moon with the naked eye or by adopting the means which help the eye sight the new moon. If the new moon can not be sighted, then it is an obligation to complete the month as thirty days. For the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said… read more here.

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