Whoever completes Sawm in a country and travels to another finding its people still fasting

Question: Someone completed the Sawm (Fast) of Ramadaan as thirty days in his own country. On the next day, he traveled to another country to find the people there observing Sawm. So he observed Sawm on that day like them to observe Sawm for thirty one days. He later came to know that the people of the country referred to had sighted the new moon of Ramadaan two days after his country had sighted it. In general, it may happen that after completing the Sawm of Ramadaan, either as twenty nine days in view of sighting the new moon of Shawwal or as thirty days for not sighting it, a Muslim travels to another country to find the people there still have to observe Sawm for two more days. In such a case, should such a person observe Sawm on these two additional days or not due to the fact that Ramadaan can be no more than 30 days? I greatly appreciate Your Eminence’s Fatwaa’ in this regard.

Answer: If someone, after completing the Sawm of Ramadaan in their country, breaks the Sawm on the first day of Shawwaal on a Shar`ee (Islaamically legal) basis, they should not observe Sawm if they happen to travel to another country where people are still observing Sawm because Ramadaan, according to their sighting, has begun there on a later date. This is because they are to abide by the calendar of the country where they initiated their Sawm provided that ending the Sawm was founded on a Shar`ee basis. However, they should not eat openly lest Fitnah (temptation) should take place… read more here.

Sighting the new moon determines the beginning and end of Islaamic appointed times of rituals

Question: How is the first day of every month determined, and how do the scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia know the number of the days of every Month when preparing the annual lunar calendar

The answer to this question is paramount for us due to huge disagreement on how to determine the first day of the month. This confusion causes some Muslims sometimes to fast one or two days before or after Ramadaan. Some of them celebrate `Eed Al-Ad-haa (the Feast of the Sacrifice) and sacrifice their animals on the Day of `Arafah. The only reason for this confusion is the lack of sound knowledge regarding the method of determining the first day of the month and the number of days in each month. Moreover, the new moon does not clearly appear to us on the first day of the month.

Answer: The beginning and end of Islaamic appointed times of rituals, such as Ramadaan, Hajj (pilgrimage), and other rituals are determined by sighting the new moon with the naked eye. It is not permissible to rely on predetermined calculations and calendars which are made for the next ten years. This ruling is based on Allaah’s (Exalted be He) Saying: They ask you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) about the new moons. Say: These are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage and on the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying: Observe the fast when you see it (the new moon) and break the fast when you see it (the new moon). If the sky is overcast, complete the month of Sha’baan as thirty days. (Related by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim in their two Saheehs).. read more here.