Rasullullah (s.a.w) beautiful ..Names

Astaghfirallah… Bismillahi Tawakkaltu al-Allah wala haula wa la quata illa billah.---And It is Only Allah Who grants success. May Allah Exalt the mention of His slave and Messenger Muhammad, and render him, his household and companion safe from Evil.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Moon sighting, a very important issue

Moon sighting, a very important issue.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

In recent times we have seen in our country some discussions, debates & write-ups related to the issue of moon-sighting: whether one sighting is to be followed or different sightings for each region, whether astronomical calculations are to be considered or not etc. What is unfortunate is that many people who do not have much knowledge about fiqh or methodology of deriving rules have entered the debate with little knowledge but a lot of speech.

It is not my objective to enter into a discussion of the differences of opinion there in, but I just want to highlight some points which if kept in mind can avoid much confusion insha Allah. So here they are:

1. Whether the Muslims are obliged to follow one moon sighting or different moon sightings is an issue of fiqh where difference of opinion is permissible. If some one makes it a banner for calling to his opinion or group and takes it as a means of provoking commotion in the community then this is very unfortunate. I remember that a long time ago I attended a program of a now "dissolved" Islamic group where they made a lot of buzz about this issue, to such an extent that a common listener would think that you are not a Muslim if you don't hold their opinion although it is not an indisputable "aqeedah" issue and difference of opinion is there from the early times.

2. It is important to note that the Sharia has not commanded us to be united by starting sawm and observing eid on the same day. Rather unity is achieved by sticking to Quran and Sunnah. This is apparent when we see that times of salaat are different for every region based on the difference of timings of sunrise/sunset etc. Even if we are doing eid on the same day we are doing prayers etc in different times. So for example the Muslims in the US are praying eid prayers about 11 hours later. So is this one of the objectives to unite the Muslims based on the times of rituals? The answer is "no".

3. Some of the fiqh councils and great scholars have recommended leaving the issue with the local authority of every country to decide what to do. So if the official scholars of my country decide that we are going to follow the moon-sighting of Saudi Arabia then I should do the same even if I hold a different view. On the other hand if they decide on a local moon-sighting then I should be with them. So it is unfortunate that we see in our country in the same family husband observing eid today and wife observing eid tomorrow and one of them is following the moon-sighting of some other country claiming "unity", while he starts by breaking the unity of his family, society, local authority and the country, so what sort of unity is this?

4. Some of us may not realize that the "new-moon" or "hilal" is something related to the rulings of sharia and not a purely natural phenomenon. For example if we suppose that the moon is there in the sky but no one is able to see it for some reason, then it is not a "hilal" in sharia, rather the moon of the next day is considered the "hilal". So it is quite possible that today is "1st Ramadan" in Bangladesh while it is "2nd Ramadan" in some other country because this date is dependent on the religious ruling of "sighting" unlike the counting of days according to the solar system.

5. So I end with two important texts in this context although I promised not to enter into a "fiqhi" discussion.

a. The first hadith in saheeh Muslim and Tirmidhi the summary of which is that Ibne Abbas (ra) gave the opinion that people in Madeena are going to follow a moon-sighting different from that in Sham which was under the rule of Muwauiya (ra) and in the end of the Hadith said that this is how the Prophet(pbuh) ordered. This seems to be a very strong proof of consideration of different moon-sighting. I personally don't know of any proof from the other side that stands as strong as this one. But if someone can educate me, I am more than ready to learn insha Allah.

b. The other hadith is which says that the day of fast is the day in which people fast and the day of breaking the fast is the day on which people break their fasts. Which is a strong proof for being with the authority and community and not differing with them for a personal difference of opinion. The hadith is in Trimidhi and others and classed as sahih by Al Albani(ra).

So whichever opinion is correct we are advised to be with the community and not differ with its authority.

May Allah guide us all.
Written by a student of knowledge, brother Muhammad Naseel Shahrukh.

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