Islamic rules on Moon sighting: Start and end of Ramadan

Islam 28 Apr 2021 Contributor
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Moon sighting
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Ramadan should begin and end by moon sighting. Because the condition for any deed to be accepted by Allah is that it be in accordance with the instructions of the Shariah. If a deed is done in a fabricated manner, no matter how great it may be, it will not be accepted by Allah. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is no exception. The beginning and end of this month will depend on the sighting of the moon. In this connection, the Prophet (SAW) said in a hadith, “Do not fast until the moon (of Ramadan) is seen, and do not stop fasting until the moon (of Shawwal) is seen.” (Muslim)

Another hadith says, “(After completing 29 days of Sha’ban) if you do not see the moon of Ramadan, then the month of Sha’ban will be 30 days.”

Ramadan will start and end by moon sighting, not by astronomy

The calculation of astronomy in determining the beginning and end of Ramadan is not acceptable, because the hadiths in this regard clearly mention the sighting of the moon. Therefore, the beginning and end of any other lunar month, including Ramadan, will be determined on the basis of seeing the moon with the naked eye, and not in any other way.

However, if the moon of Shawwal is seen after 28 days, then it must be understood that the beginning of Ramadan was wrong. Therefore, everyone should make up the fast of one day later, because the lunar month can never be less than 29 days.

The lunar month is 29 or 30 days

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar: The Prophet (SAW) said, “Sometimes the month is thirty days, and sometimes it is twenty-nine days.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Abdullah ibn Masud (R) said, “We fasted with the Prophet (SAW) for twenty-nine days more than thirty days.”

Thus, in the light of all these hadiths, it is clear that the lunar month is sometimes 30 and sometimes 29 days. Meanwhile, even though the month is incomplete, Allah gives the full reward.

The above hadiths also reject the ideas of astrologers and fortune-tellers. This hadith further proves that the provisions of the Shariah such as fasting, Eid, Zakah, Hajj, etc. depend on the sighting of the moon, not on counting.

Testimony of a religious person for moon sighting will be accepted

If the sky is cloudy, it will be enough to start the fast by looking at the moon of a person whose religiousness is proven, or at least outwardly everyone knows him as a religious person. Abdullah ibn Abbas (R) said, “A man from the desert testified to the Prophet (SAW) about seeing the moon (in Ramadan). He asked him, ‘Do you bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah.’ Then the Prophet ordered to keep his testimony.” (Judge)

Moonsighting on a clear sky. But if the sky is clear, one’s news is not enough; Rather, it requires the knowledge of so many people that it is believed that the moon has indeed been seen. Because one cannot rely on the news of one or two people in which many people are involved.

But if one sees the moon alone and his testimony is not accepted. Then what should he do? In this case, it is not necessary for him to fast alone. Because the Prophet (SAW) said, “Fasting will begin on the day when everyone fasts. And Iftar is on the day when everyone breaks the fast. And the sacrifice is the day when everyone slaughters the animal. ” (Tirmidhi)

Provision for moon sighting abroad

In a country where the moon is visible, fasting will be obligatory on its inhabitants. In a country where the moon has not been seen, fasting will not be obligatory on its inhabitants. Because fasting has to do with seeing the moon, secondly the orbits of the moon are different in different countries. Although there is disagreement around the world about fasting and celebrating Eid on the same day. Rabita’s Islamic Fiqh Council has ruled that it is unnecessary for the Muslim Ummah to demand the sighting of the moon and the celebration of Eid on the same day. Because uniting on the day of Eid is not a guarantee of the unity of the Muslim Ummah. Instead, the issue of moon sighting should be left to the governments of Muslim countries, their respective fatwas, and law departments.

Because it is closer to universal religious welfare. And the assurance of the unity of the Ummah lies in acting in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah in all cases.