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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ruling on moon sighting for the night of ‘Ashooraa’

Question 7: Many Muslims are keen to observe Sawm (Fast) on the Day of ‘Ashooraa’ (10th of Muharram) as Du‘aah (callers to Islaam) always encourage them to do so. Why do you not then direct people to sight the new moon of Muharram then broadcast the news of the confirmed sighting via the media?

Answer: It is a Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet) to observe Sawm on the Day of ‘Ashooraa’, for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Sahaabah (Companions of the Prophet) observed Sawm on that day. Prophet Moosaa (Moses, peace be upon him) also observed this Sawm as an expression of gratitude to Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He). They did so because on that Day Allaah rescued Moosaa and his people and destroyed Pharaoh and his people... read more here.