Variance in the appearance of the new moon in different countries

Question: We hope you will advise us concerning the times of Imsaak (time of day that marks the beginning of the Fast) and Iftaar (breaking the Fast) with regard to us, may Allaah protect you!

Answer: There is a statement issued by the Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on explaining the beginning and ending of the time of a day of fasting, the text of which is as follows:

First: The difference in moon sighting is something which is well known, and there is no difference among the scholars concerning this. Rather the difference of scholarly opinions has to do with whether the difference in moon sighting matters or not... read more here.

Verifying the sighting of the new moon

Question: We are writing to you from the island of Andaman and Nicobar located in the Bay of Bengal 1200 km far from Calcutta which is the nearest city to this group of islands in India. Our brothers, the Hanafee’s begin Sawm (fasting) according to crescent sighting in Calcutta, although the difference in the time of sunset between our islands and the city of Calcutta is fifteen minutes.

As for the Shaafi`ee’s, they begin Sawm depending on sighting the crescent in any of these islands, and each of them has their own evidences. Please, Your Honor, give a satisfactory answer. May Allaah bless you and help you serve Islam and the Muslims.

Answer: You should verify the sighting of the crescent, whether in Calcutta or in your islands, as there are many related Hadeeths concerning this matter. It was related by Al-Bukhaaree from Aboo Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) stated... read more here.

A traveler to a foreign country following his homeland in fasting

Question: The question sent by Shaykh `Uthmaan Al-Saalih from a group of Saudi students living outside The Kingdom in America and other countries. Some of the students followed Egypt, Kuwait, and other countries considering Sunday as the first day of `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast) while others fasted with this country, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in which Monday was the first day of `Eed-ul-Fitr. What is the religious ruling in this regard?

Answer: This question has to do with the issue of the different times of moonrise, and either considering the differences in times of moonrise to be of significance, or not as far as breaking Sawm (Fast) and other Shar`ee (Islaamic legal) rulings pertaining to the moon rising are concerned.

The Council of Senior Scholars discussed this issue in one of its sessions and issued a decree explaining that scholars differed with regards to this question and there are two opinions: read more here.

A traveler starting to fast with his home country and ending fast with the country he travels to

Question: A man fasted in Morocco on Monday, the 1st of Ramadaan, 1403 A.H. which corresponded to June 1983, then he traveled to Allaah’s Sacred House to offer `Umrah on Thursday, the 11th of Ramadaan. When he finished his `Umrah, he decided to continue fasting the rest of Ramadan in Makkah. When Ramadaan ended in Makkahon Monday, the 11th of July 1983, he broke his fast like the other people of Makkah, but the problem was that the people of Makkah fasted for 30 days while he had only fasted for 28 days. Is his fasting complete? Should he not break his fast with them until he completes the 30-days fast? What is your opinion in this regard?

Answer: It is correct that this man started offering the Sawm (Fast) of Ramadaan with his people and that he broke his fast with the people of Makkah at the end of Ramadaan during his residence there. However he should make up for an extra day of fasting, for the Lunar Month is never less than twenty nine days. Therefore, he is to be bound by the minimum limit, for the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): The beginning of Ramadaan is the day on which you start fasting, while the end of it is the day on which you finish fasting, and ‘Eed- ul-Ad-ha is the day on which you sacrifice.read more here.

A traveler starting to fast according to the country from which he sets out and ending his fast according to the country to which he travels

Question: If a person continues the Sawm (Fast) of Ramadaan for thirty days, will he be obliged to abide by the Sawm he started in Saudi Arabia according the sighting of the moon of Shawwal in the Kingdom even after his arrival in India? Or should he continue Sawm with the Muslims there and fast 31 or 32 days? If he breaks his Sawm during the interval days on his journey, is he obliged to make up for the missed days after `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast), or it is enough for him to fast these days with the Muslims in India after his arrival there? Kindly, give us your Fatwaa’. May Allaah reward you, and provide you with good health!

Answer: A person should start Sawm according to the country from which he sets out and ends it according to the country to which he travels. If the total number of days that he fasts is twenty-eight, then he must make up for one day, because the lunar month cannot be less than 29 days... read more here.

A Muslim fasts when the country in which he resides fasts

Question: What is the ruling on a man who started Sawm (Fast) after the confirmed sighting of the new moon of Ramadaan in his country, then he traveled to another country where he fasted the twenty-eighth of Ramadaan, but the people of that country sighted the new moon of Shawwaal. Should he offer with them Salaat-ul-‘Eed (the Festival Prayer), although he only fasted twenty-eight days?

Answer: The decisive factor in beginning the Sawm of Ramadaan is seeing its new moon at the sighting location and direction while present in one’s country. The same applies to ending the Sawm of Ramadaan; the decisive factor is sighting the new moon of Shawwaal in the country to which one has traveled... read more here.

A traveler following the country in which he resides in fasting

Question: Ramadaan came while I was in Sudan. I observed Sawm (fasting) on Saturday and then traveled to a neighboring country, where people began Sawm on Sunday. People in Sudan broke their Sawm after twenty nine days, whereas the other country completed Sawm for thirty days. What is the ruling on this, given that I observed Sawm for thirty days in the other country?

Answer: You take the same ruling as the country you traveled to. Thus, it is impermissible to break your Sawm, rather you should complete Sawm with them, as you are included in the ruling with them. However, if you have only observed Sawm for twenty eight days, you should fast the other days after `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast) to complete twenty nine days, as a month cannot be less than twenty nine days, or more than thirty days... read more here.

Taking intravenous injections and ending Sawm according to a sighting place in another country

Question: A person was in Egypt at the end of Ramadaan in the year 95 A.H. At this time, Egypt followed Kuwait in announcing the time of `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast) one day before Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This day became a day of `Eed in Egypt. The inquirer is asking: Should they make up for this day? They also ask whether or not intravenous injections break Sawm (fast) when they have it?

Answer: Regarding the first question about people breaking their fast in Egypt based on the establishment of the `Eed following Kuwait, knowing that the inquirer was in Egypt at that time, it seems to us that there is no harm in this act [breaking fast for `Eed in Egypt] and that they do not have to make up for this day, for they followed the ruling of the country where they were present after being certain of the beginning of the month of Shawwaal... read more here.

Ending Sawm according to a sighting place in another country

Question: Some nomads broke their Sawm (Fast) on the last day of Ramadaan before the day of `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast). This day was Sunday. They did so because certain radio stations broadcasted that Sunday was the day of `Eed-ul-Fitr. They thought that these radio stations were those of the Saudi Kingdom. They did not know that the Kingdom was observing Sawm except after the radio station of Riyadh announced that Monday was the day of `Eed-ul-Fitr. Should they make up for that day or make Kaffaarah (expiation)?

Answer: If the reality is as you have mentioned, then the person who broke his Sawm on Sunday should make up for that day as it was one of the days of Ramadaan. This is because the new moon of Shawwaal was not seen in the Kingdom except on Sunday evening. There is no expiation for those who broke their Sawm on that day as they had an excuse. Moreover, they have to investigate and make sure of the sighting of the new moon in the Kingdom in the future in order to guard their Sawm... read more here.

A traveler and the different places of sighting the new moon of Ramadaan

Question: A citizen called Khuwaylid Al-Jada`y Al-Matiry submitted the following question:

On the eve of the thirtieth of Sha‘baan this year, he was in Kuwait when the radio of Kuwait announced their confirmed sighting of the new moon of Ramadaan on Tuesday night which, according to the calendar of Umm Al-Quraa, would fall on the thirtieth of Sha‘baan. Shortly after this he heard on the radio the announcement broadcasted on the radio of Riyadh on the authority of the Higher Judiciary Council that the new moon of Ramadan was not sighted by them on Tuesday night, corresponding to the thirtieth of Sha‘baan, according to the calendar of Umm Al-Quraa. Accordingly, he, as well as the people of the country where he was present during the sighting of the crescent, observed Sawm (Fast). After a couple of days, he came back to Saudi Arabia where Ramadaan had begun one day later and the people had been fasting for two days, whereas he had been fasting for three. This may cause a problem for him at the end of the month if the thirty days of Ramadaan have been completed.

Is he obliged to fast with the people in Saudi Arabia or to stop fasting when Kuwait announces on the thirtieth of Ramadan that sighting the crescent of Shawwaal is confirmed? The questioner thinks that the moon sighting announced on the radio of Riyadh is more correct. He said that he fasted with the people of Kuwait only out of appreciating the sanctity of time. Please clarify this matter!

Answer: If a person is present in a country where people have already started Sawm, he must fast with them. Anyone present in another country under such a situation will come under the same ruling as its own citizens. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Sawm (Fasting, i.e. Beginning of Ramadaan) is the day when you fast; Fitr (Breaking the Fast, i.e. End of Ramadaan) is the day when you end the fast, and Al-Ad-haa (the Festival of the Sacrifice) is the day when you sacrifice. (Reported by Aboo Daawood with an authentic Sanad [chain of narrators]; there are supporting reports for it narrated by Aboo Daawood and others)... read more here.