A Muslim starting and ending Sawm according to his country

Question: A person was listening to the radio of Cairo and Kuwait when they announced that Sunday was the first day of `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast) and he accordingly stopped fasting on this day. Knowing that the radio of Riyadh announced that Monday was the first day of `Eed-ul-Fitr, what is the ruling on the actions of this person?

Answer: If the questioner was residing in Saudi Arabia during the night and day of Sunday, he is obliged to adhere to what is followed in this country. Sunday was not proved to be the first day of Shawwaal in Saudi Arabia, rather it was the last day of Ramadaan. Accordingly, he must make up for this day, ask Allaah’s Forgiveness for deviating from the conduct of Muslims in this country and not to repeat this act... read more here.

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Starting to fast in a village far from the capital city based on the moon-sighting in the capital city

Question: Is it permissible to begin the Sawm (fasting) in a village far from the capital based on the moon-sighting in the capital or is it obligatory to wait for a moon-sighting in my village?

Answer: If the sighting of the crescent is confirmed in the capital, the people in the village you mentioned can depend on that moon-sighting and begin observing the Sawm with the Muslims... read more here.

Length of a day in Ramadaan

Question: The Muslim World League received a message from Shaykh Muhammad Dayr Manja, its envoy in Copenhagen, Denmark, saying that in some parts of the Scandinavian countries, the day is much longer than the night, depending on the time of year. The night may be only three hours long, while the day is twenty-one hours. If Ramadaan comes in the winter, the Muslims fast for only three hours, but if it comes in the summer, they do not fast because they are not able to, as the day is too long. Shaykh Dayr Manja asked for a Fatwaa’ fixing the time of Iftar (breaking the Fast), Suhur (pre-dawn meal before the Fast), and the period during which the Sawm (Fast) of Ramadaan is due to make it known to the Muslims in these countries.

I ask you to issue a legal statement to this effect so that I can provide him with the right answer.

Answer: After studying the matter in question, the committee answered as follows:

Islaam is perfect and comprehensive. Allaah (Exalted be He) says, This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion. And said, Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “What thing is the most great in witness?” Say: “Allaah (the Most Great!) is Witness between me and you; this Qur’aan has been revealed to me that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach… read more here.

Establishing a committee responsible for sighting the new moon of Ramadaan

Question: Is it permissible for Muslims who are living in a non-Muslim country to form a committee to confirm the sighting of the new moon of Ramadaan, Shawwaal, and Dul-Hijjah?

Answer: It is permissible for Muslims living in non-Muslim countries to form a committee consisting of Muslim members to take on the responsibility of confirming the sighting of the new moon of Ramadaan, Shawwaal, and Dul-Hijjah… read more here.

Muslim division due to sighting the new moon of Ramadaan

Question: We are Muslim students in the United States and Canada. Each year, we face a problem with the beginning of Ramadaan that results in being dividing into three sects:

1.  One sect observes Sawm (Fast) when they sight Ramadaan new moon in the state where they live.

2.  Another sect observes Sawm with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

3. A third sect observes Sawm when receiving such news from the Muslim Students’ Association in USA and Canada, which sights the new moon at several places in USA and publicizes the news in various centers upon sighting the crescent. Accordingly, all Muslims living in USA start observing Sawm on the same day in spite of the vast distances separating between the various states.

Which of these three sects should one follow and observe Sawm with? Please advise us, may Allaah reward you!

Answer: The Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has investigated this matter and issued an important statement on this topic, the text of which is as follows: Firstly: Difference in moon sighting is Ma`loom minad-deen bi-ddaroorah (well-established and known Islaamic principles)and there is no difference among scholars concerning this. Rather, the difference of scholarly opinion has to do with whether the difference in moon sighting matters or not… read more here.

Making up for the missed days of Ramadaan based on the difference of sighting places

Question: I underwent an operation during the month of Ramadan. People differed in our city concerning the end of the month. Some of them followed Saudi Arabia and did not observe Sawm (fast) of the thirtieth day of Ramadaan. Others followed the example of other states as Algeria and completed 30 days of Sawm. Moreover, Algeria depends upon astronomy in determining the beginning and end of the month. How many days should I observe of Sawm in order to make up for these days 29 or 30 days?

Answer: Astronomy can not be used as a legal means to determine the beginning and end of the month of Ramadaan. The valid means of determining it is sighting the new moon. If they do not sight the new moon of Ramadaan during the twenty ninth night of Sha`baan, then they have to complete Sha`baan as thirty days… read more here.

Sighting the new moon as the criterion in determining the beginning and end of Ramadaan

Question: There is a great difference among Muslim scholars over determining the beginning of the Sawm (fast) of Ramadan and the day of `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast). Some act upon the following Hadeeth: Start fasting on seeing it (the new moon of Ramadaan), and break your fast on seeing it (the new moon of Shawwaal). Others act upon the opinions of astronomers believing that the latter have reached the peak in the science of astronomy and can know exactly the beginning of lunar months. Consequently, these scholars fast according to the calendar.

Answer: First: The correct view which should be acted upon is that based onthe saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Start fasting on seeing the new moon (of Ramadaan), and break your fast on seeing the new moon (of Shawwaal), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete the term (thirty days of Sha`baan.) So the criterion in determining the beginning and end of the month of Ramadaan is sighting the new moon. The Sharee`ah of Islaam which Allaah sent with our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is general and will last until Doomsday… read more here.

Counting on astronomical calculations to decide the beginning and the end of Ramadaan

Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim to count on astronomical calculations to decide the beginning and the end of Sawm (Fast) (in Ramadaan)? Or should we depend on seeing the crescent?

Answer: The Sharee`ah (Islaamic law) is a lenient one; its rulings are generic and comprehensive to both (Human and Jinn) alike, regardless of their ranks; whether they are scholars or illiterate people, rural or urban… read more here.

People in Africa fasting according to sighting Ramadaan’s crescent in Makkah

Question: Can people living in Africa, fast according to the sighting of the crescent in Makkah ?

Answer: The Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued a decree concerning the question that reads: Firstly, the fact that the new moon appears at different times in different places is a well-established fact; no scholar disputes this… read more here.

The difference of the timing of Muslims’ religious festivals

Question: What is the ruling on the difference of setting the beginning of Muslims’ religious festivals like `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast), and `Eed-ul-Adha (the Festival of the Sacrifice)? It is worthy to mention that this results in people fasting a day which is prohibited to fast such as the day of `Eed-ul-Fitr or breaking their fast on a day that should be observed. I need a decisive answer regarding this matter please. If Islaam rejects this difference, how can Muslim festivals be unified?

Answer: Scholars agree that the sighting of the crescent causes differences. However, they held different opinions regardingwhether the difference in sighting the moon matters or not in the beginning and the end of Ramadaan. Some Fuqahaa’ (Muslim jurists) held the opinion that the difference in sighting the moon does matter in the beginning and end of Ramadaan while others see that it does not… read more here.

Permissibility of using meteorological tools to sight the new moon

Question: It is impossible to see the new moon with the naked eye before 30 hours of its birth. After this period, it is impossible to see it because of weather conditions. Taking this into consideration, is it permissible for the inhabitants of England to use astronomical data in calculating the probable time of sighting the new moon and the outset of Ramadaan, or must we see the new moon with the naked eye before starting to fast the blessed month of Ramadaan?

Answer: It is permissible to make use of observation instruments to sight the new moon, but it is not permissible to rely on astrological sciences in confirming the beginning or end of the month of Ramadaan. Allaah has not legislated it either in His Book or in the Sunnah of his Prophet (peace be upon him). Rather, Allaah has legislated for us to establish the beginning and end of Ramadaan through sighting the new moon, and accordingly to begin Sawm (Fast) by seeing the new moon of Ramadaan and to end Sawm by seeing the new moon of Shawwaal and to gather to perform Salaat-ul-`Eed (the Festival Prayer)… read more here.

Taking different sighting places into account when determining the beginning of Sawm

Question: Sometimes we hear on the radio that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has started Sawm (fasting), whereas we have not seen the crescent in the Ivory Coast ,Guinea , Mali or Senegal, although we carefully follow this issue. Therefore, we disagree and a few people begin Sawm depending on what they hear on the radio, and others wait until they see the crescent in our countries, according to Allaah’s statement, So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month and the Prophet’s statement, Start Sawm on seeing it (the crescent of Ramadaan), and break Sawm on seeing it (the crescent of Shawwaal) and “Each country has its own crescent.” Controversy has arisen between the two parties, so please advise accordingly.

Answer: The variance in the appearance of the crescents in different countries is one of the matters which are known instinctively. No disagreement has ever taken place among the Muslims on this fact. The disagreement among Muslim scholars is whether we should depend on the difference regarding the appearance of crescents in the beginning and the end of Sawm in Ramadaan or not. This is one of the theoretical issues which are subject to Ijtihaad (juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings)… read more here.

Disagreeing with the Muslim consensus regarding the sighting of Ramadaan’s new moon

Question: A group of Multazims (practicing Muslims) here in our town disagree with us in some matters, such as the Sawm (fasting) of Ramadan. They do not fast until they see the crescent with the naked eye. Sometimes they begin Sawm a day or two after us, and they break their Sawm a day or two after `Eed-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast).Whenever we question their Sawm on the day of the `Eed, they insist that they will not break their fast nor fast until they see the crescent with the naked eye, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, Begin Sawm on seeing it (the crescent of Ramadaan), and break your Sawm on seeing it (the crescent of Shawwaal). They are not convinced with the modern devices which are used to see the crescent. They also offer Salaat-ul-`Eed (the Festival Prayer) after the end of the `Eed, according to their sighting. On `Eed-ul-Adha (the Festival of the Sacrifice), they also slaughter the Ud-hiyah (sacrificial animal offered by non-pilgrims) and stand on the mountain of `Arafaat two days later. They also offer Salaah (Prayer) in Masjids (mosques) where there are graves, and they claim that it is not prohibited. May Allaah reward you!

Answer: These people should observe Sawm and break Sawm with the rest of the people, and offer Salaat-ul-`Eed with the Muslims in their countries, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, Begin Sawm on seeing it (the crescent of Ramadaan), and break your Sawm on seeing it (the crescent of Shawwaal). If the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete the term (thirty days of Sha`baan). Agreed upon by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim. What is meant here is Sawm and breaking the Sawm if the crescent is seen with the naked eye or with modern devices which are an additional aid, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, The beginning of Ramadaan is on the day when you begin Sawm; the end of Ramadaan is on the day when you end it; and `Eed-ul-Adha is on the day when you sacrifice.read more here.

Each person sighting Ramadaan’s crescent

Question: What is the ruling on a person who does not fast according to the first sighting of the new moonof Ramadaan, but waits until he sees it for himself depending on the following Hadeeth, Start fasting on seeing it (the new moon of Ramadaan), and give up fasting on seeing it (the new moon of Shawwaal) ? Is this understanding correct?

Answer: It is obligatory to fast when the sighting of the new moon is confirmed, even if only one trustworthy Muslim sees it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) issued orders to fast when a Bedouin testified that he had seen the new moon… read more here.

Following astronomical calculations in acts of `Ibaadah

Question: Is it permissible to follow the calculations of astronomers in the acts of `Ibaadah (worship), such as Sawm (fasting) and others?

Answer: It is impermissible to follow astronomers in these matters; we should depend on sighting the new moon, as it is stated in the Saheeh (authentic) Hadeeth, Observe Sawm when you see it (the crescent of Ramadaan) and break your Sawm when you see it (the crescent of Shawwaal). If the weather is cloudy, complete thirty days of Sha`baan.read more here.

Fasting on the thirtieth of Sha`baan

Question: If one observes Sawm (Fast) or breaks Sawm on the thirtieth day of Sha‘baan without sighting the new moon, would their Sawm be valid? Please support your answer with evidence.

Answer: It is not permissible for a Muslim to fast on the thirtieth of Sha‘baan if sighting the new moon has not been confirmed on the eve of that day. An exception to the prohibition of Sawm on the thirtieth of Sha‘baan is made if it coincides with a day that someone habitually fasts, such as Sawm on Monday or Thursday… read more here.

The method of verifying the beginning of lunar months

Question: What is the method of verifying the beginning of lunar months?

Answer: The authentic Hadeeths of the Prophet (peace be upon him) have indicated that whenever the crescent is observed by a trustworthy person after sunset, on the night of the thirtieth of Sha`baan or Ramadaan, then the vision should be recognized… read more here.

Sighting and verifying the sighting of Ramadaan’s crescent

Question: How can we sight the new moon of Ramadaan in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? I would like to know the way of sighting the new moon. Who is officially responsible for announcing the sighting of the new moon?

Is the radio broadcast among the Shar‘ee (Islaamic legal) means that one can rely on to begin Sawm (Fast) when it announces such news? Does the radio broadcast meet the legal conditions required in the witness who confirms the sighting of the new moon in order to commence observing Sawm based on the information he provides?

Are telephone and telegraphs considered official Shar‘ee means of communication that can be trusted in this regard, although one does not know the person who is talking or the person sending the telegraph?

Answer: Due to the importance of knowing the first day of Sha‘baan for subsequent reliance of Ramadaan on it, the Ministry of Justice notifies all courts during Rajab that all judges must inform people to try to sight the new moon of Sha‘baan. During the last days of Sha‘baan, the supreme judicial authority in the Ministry of Justice convenes to examine the testimonies submitted to it concerning sighting the new moon of Sha‘baan. After investigation, the judicial authority issues a decree based on what has been legally confirmed concerning the first day of Sha‘baan. Accordingly, we can determine the night on which we can sight the new moon of Ramadaan, which is the night before the thirtieth of Sha‘baan… read more here.