Fasting on the last day of Sha`baan

Question: What is the ruling on fasting the last day of Sha‘baan, if the scholars in a certain country did not reach an Ijma‘ (consensus of opinion) on confirmed sighting of the new moon of Ramadaan, but later discovered that it was truly the first day of Ramadaan? This happened in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the year 1404 A.H. Some people fasted on sighting the new moon of Ramadaan or being informed of it by reliable witnesses. Their Sawm turned out to be valid, as was confirmed later. They started and ended Sawm based on the sighting of the new moon. Yet, some shaykhs issued Fatwas saying that the Sawm of those who did not see the new moon is invalid, as they acted contradictory to the majority of Muslims, even if they were wrong. The Fatwas went on to say that only the Muslim scholars of each country are entitled to confirm the sighting of the new moon. It also says that the Sawm of a person who relies upon opinions issued concerning sighting the new moon by scholars other than those of their residence country is invalid, and they have to make up for it.

Answer: Anyone who sights the new moon of Ramadaan on the night before the thirtieth of Sha‘baan or gets informed of it by a reliable witness and so fasts accordingly, their Sawm will be sufficient for them and they do not have to make up for it... read more here.

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Fasting on the Day of Doubt does not make up for a missed day in Ramadaan

Question: The Sawm (Fast) of Ramadaan began this year on Friday. Some people already observed Sawm on Thursday. You gave a Fatwaa’ that the missed day of Ramadaan should be made up for, as it was confirmed that Thursday was the first day of Ramadaan. Should those who observed Sawm on Thursday also make up for this missed day of Sawm? Would observing Sawm on Thursday, at the beginning of the month, be sufficient for them?

Answer: Anyone who observed Sawm on Thursday should make up for the day missed at the beginning of Ramadaan, as they did not observe it intending it to be part of the month of Ramadaan. Moreover, they observed Sawm on this day believing it was the Day of Doubt (so called because there is doubt concerning it – is it the last day of Sha‘baan or the first day of Ramadaan). It is not permissible to observe Sawm on the Day of Doubt. Fasting the Day of Doubt is not sufficient if it is later discovered that this day was part of Ramadaan... read more here.

Prohibition of fasting on the Day of Doubt

Question: Dear Shaykh, please give us a ruling on the Sawm (fasting) of Ramadaan, because people are still differing over this in our African countries. Some of them perform the Sawm on seeing the crescent moon and break their Sawm on seeing it, acting in accordance with the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), “When you see it (the new moon of Ramadaan) fast, and when you see it (the new moon of Shawwaal) stop fasting; but if the clouds obstruct your sighting of the new moon, then calculate it (thirty days).” (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim) Some of them perform the Sawm before seeing it and their Sawm coincides with the day the new moon of Ramadaan appears, even though this contradicts the literal meaning of the Hadeeth. We are confused about this matter, would you advise us?

Answer: Anyone who fasts on the 30th of Sha‘baan, without the confirmed sighting of the new moon of Ramadaan prescribed by Sharee‘ah (Islaamic law), and their Sawm coincides with the first day of Ramadaan, it will not count for them as validly sufficient Sawm, as they did not base their Sawm on the Islaamic basis and also because that is the Day of Doubt. The authentic Sunnah gave evidence for the prohibition of fasting on that day, so anyone who did this must make up for that day... read more here.