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Unification of Crescent-Sighting.gif

All Praise be to Almighty Allah.
Blessing and peace be on His Prophet Muhammad
after whom there is no prophet, and on all those
who followed his way of guidance.

The Islamic Fiqh Council during its 4th session held at the general secretariat of the Muslim World League in Makkah Mukarramah between 7-17 Rabi Al-Aakhir 1401H studied the issue of difference in places of moonrise in order to sight the crescent. It viewed that Islam is considered to be a religion of facility and tolerance suitable for human nature and concern.

In the matter of crescent-sighting, it adopted the view that crescent-sighting is proved with the human eyes and not on the basis of astronomical calculations, as the Shari’ah evidences clearly stipulate. It also admitted the consideration of the difference in places of moonrise, because it provides easiness for the people.

Those who see the need of unity in the days of observing and breaking the fast, have in fact a view, which is not identical to the religious and rational perceptions.

As regards the religious perception, the scholars of Hadith have reported the Hadith of Kuraib that Umm Al-Fadhl Bint Al-Harith sent him to Mu’awiyah in Syria. He narrated: I arrived in Syria and did my job. While I was still in Syria, the month of Ramadhan commenced. I did see the crescent on the eve of Friday. Then, I came to Madinah later in the month. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with both of them) asked me about the crescent: When did you sight the crescent? I said: We sighted it on the eve of Friday. Then, he asked: did you personally sight it? I said: Yes, people sighted it as well. They observed their Ramadhan fasting and Mu’awiyah too observed his fasting. He said: But we sighted it on the eve of Saturday, so we are observing the fast till we sight it or complete the 30 days of fasting. I said: Is it not sufficient that we depend on Mu’awiyah’s sighting and fasting. He said: No, this is the way our Prophet has commanded to follow. (This Hadith has been reported by Muslim)

Imam Al-Nawawi, while explaining this Hadith of Sahih Muslim, put the chapter this way: “Chapter of stating that people of each region have to see the crescent and if they sighted it in one region, their sighting would not be recognized for those who are far from them. This method of interpretation has been followed by all those who have reported this Hadith from the famous six books of Hadith. ”

In the Islamic Shari’ah, observing and breaking the fast are associated with the crescent-sighting through the eye-sight as Ibn Omar (may Allah be pleased with both of them) reported Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as saying: Don’t observe the fast until you sight the crescent (of Ramadhan) and don’t break the fast until you sight the crescent (of Shawwal) and if you have a cloudy sky, then you have to count it. (This Hadith has been reported in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

In this Hadith, the ruling depended on the means, which is the crescent-sighting. This may be found in a place like Makkah and Madinah and it may not be found in another place, because when the crescent is sighted in one place, there may be a day-time in another place. So how is it possible to command all people to observe or break the fast? This Hadith, in a way, explains how the crescent-sighting would be legally acceptable?

Muslim scholars in all schools of thought had the following views: The difference in places of moonrise is considered by many scholars. Ibn Abdul Barr has said that there is consensus among Muslim scholars that no unified crescent-sighting would be taken for consideration for the far-flung areas such as Khorasan, a region that is far away from Andalus (Spain) and each region would have its own ruling. The jurisprudence books in the various schools of thought are full of arguments in favour of difference in places of moonrise. These books can be consulted for more information.

As regards the rational perception, there is no disagreement among Muslim scholars on the difference in places of moonrise, because it is a thing, which anybody can see. Hence, the religion and reason agree on it. Likewise, the religion and reason agree on many rulings, which include the prayer-timings. We know that the difference in places of moonrise is very natural thing.

In light of the above-mentioned facts, the Islamic Fiqh Council adopted the following resolution:

There is no need to call for the unification of the crescent-sighting and religious feasts in the Muslim world, because such unification is not going to ensure their unity, as suggested by many of those who insist on such unification.

The Islamic Fiqh Council thinks that the issue of crescent-sighting should be left to the Ifta and judicial bodies in the Muslim countries, because it is better and more appropriate in view of the Muslims’ general interest.

The Islamic Fiqh Council emphasizes that the thing, which ensures the unity and solidarity of the Muslim Ummah is in fact their agreement to comply with the Qur’an and Sunnah in all areas of the human life.

Chairman, Islamic Fiqh Council
Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Humaid
President, Supreme Judicial Council
Saudi Arabia

Deputy Chairman, Islamic Fiqh Council
Muhammad Ali Al-Harakan
Secretary-General, Muslim World League

Members:
Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah Ibn Baz
General President, Research, Ifta, Da’wah and Guidance

Saleh Ibn Othaimeen
Muhammad Mahmood Al-Sawwaf
Mustafa Al-Zarqa
Muhammad Shadhli Al-Neifer
Mabrook Al-Awaadi
Muhammad Abdullah Al-Subaiel
Abul Hassan Ali Al-Nadwi
Muhammad Rasheedi
Abdul Quddoos Hashemi
Muhammad Rasheed Qabbani
Hasanain Muhammad Makhloof
Abu Bakr Joomi
Muhammad Salem Abdul Wadood
Mahmood Sheith Khattab

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