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 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.