MOONSIGHTING – THE WAY FORWARD
Every Muslim in his heart wishes that there should be unity amongst Muslims. This is true. However, below are some guidelines pertaining to unity on the moonsighting issue:
(1) We may strive for unity, but not at the expense of compromising the Shariah.
(2) The Shariah clearly states that we have to look for the moon with the naked eye. Astronomical calculations are rejected by the Shariah. The views of astronomers, scientists and all other moonish characters are not valid for determining the new moon. There is only one method: Sighting the moon with the naked eye. The birth of the moon and scientific evidence are not considered and
are of no significance in this matter.
(3) Here in South Africa, we do not accept any sightings from any other country. It is unintelligent to seek unity with Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, etc. but at the same time cause dissension and disunity within one’s own country. Furthermore, it is difficult to ascertain the reliability of a report from an outside country.
(4) The Shariah stipulates that only the testimony of aadil persons be accepted in the process of confirming the sighting of the Hilaal, not only Ramadhaan and Shawwaal, but for all the Islamic months. In this regard the Books of the Shariah state: “The testimony of an aadil shall be accepted according to Abu Hanifah” (Badaaius Sanaa’, Vol.2, page 81)
“Adaalah is stipulated as a condition (for accepting of testimony pertaining to sighting the Hilaal) because the statement of a faasiq in matters of the Deen is unacceptable…” (Hidaayah, Vol. 1)
A faasiq is one who flagrantly transgresses the laws of Allah Ta’ala. One who neglects his Fardh Salaat; one who does not regularly perform his Salaat in jamaat; one who wears short trousers exposing his thighs in public; one who shaves or cuts his beard and one who generally indulges in sin openly is termed a faasiq.
By way of example, we cannot accept news from Mufti Menk as he is a Faasiq. He openly violates the Shariah, takes photos with women, does not make proper Hijaab, photos, Facebook, etc.
Aadil in the context of Shar’i Shahaadat (testimony) refers to a person in whom there is the quality of Adaalah. What is the meaning of Adaalah in the Shariah? The Books of Islam define Adaalah as follows:
“The meaning of Adaalah is the ability (or attribute) which brings about the state of permanent Taqwa and culture (in the Muslim). The minimum requirement for Adaalah is abstention from major sins and (abstention) from habitual commission of minor sins as well as from such acts which are negatory of culture (murawwah or good Islamic moral behaviour).” (Bahrur Raaiq and Shaami)
Thus, according to the Shariah an aadil person is one who abstains from major sins; does not habitually commit minor sins and does not indulge in lowly acts of disrepute–acts which are unbecoming of the dignity of a Mu’min. The following are some khilaaful murawwah (contrary to culture and dignity) acts:
- Eating in the Street.
- Walking in public bare-headed.
- Walking in public with elbows exposed such as those who don short-sleeved shirts and sweaters in public.
- Urinating in public places such as public urinals in full view of others as is the style of the western kuffaar.
- Any acts which although not sinful, nevertheless are bemeaning to the honour and dignity of a Mu’min.
The Shariah stipulates that only the testimony of aadil persons be accepted in the process of confirming the sighting of the Hilaal, not only Ramadhaan and Shawwaal, but for all the Islamic months. In this regard the Books of the Shariah state:
“The testimony of an aadil shall be accepted according to Abu Hanifah” (Badaaius Sanaa’)
“(The testimony) will be accepted if the testifier is an aadil” (Fataawa Aalamghiri, Vol. 1, page 197)
“His testimony will be accepted when he is an aadil” (Mabsoot of Sarakhsi, Vol. 2, page 139)
(5) Confirming the moon for Ramadaan:
A – When the sky is clear, the sighting of a large number of persons is imperative for the confirmation of the Hilaal. The large number is called Jamm-e-ghafeer.
B – The Shariah’s ruling differs when the sky is overcast. On such occasions the report of even one pious and uprighteous (aadil) person will suffice to confirm the sighting of the Hilaal of Ramadhaan.
(6) Confirming the moon for Eid:
A – CLEAR SKIES – The Hilaal of Shawwaal is confirmed by the Shahaadat (testimony) of the sighting of a large group of people (Jamm-e-Ghafeer).
B – OVERCAST – When the sky is overcast the Shawwaal Hilaal (for Eid) will be confirmed by the sighting of two aadil (uprighteous) men or one man and two women.
(7) Shaafis: They may not accept sightings beyond the Musaafir distance! Thus, there should be no discord if Cape Town does not accept Worcester’s sighting and vice-versa! We need to understand the Shariah and respect the Math-habs. We should not behave like moron Salafis who do not follow any Math-hab, but are lost ignoramuses who merely slander the noble Imaams of the Four Math-habs and their followers.
(8) Moonsighting reports: The essential condition for the acceptance of such news is reliable transmission and receipt of the news (Tareeq-e-Moojib). Just any rumour, news, radio announcement, telephone message, etc. are not regarded as “reliable” nor are these methods of transmission regarded as Tareeq-e-Moojib for the purpose of confirming the Hilaal.
(9) There is absolutely no need to confirm a valid sighting with science or astronomy.
(10) Eid does not have to be on the same day throughout the country. If Shar’i conditions are fulfilled and Ramadhaan commences on the same day throughout the country and Eid celebrated on the same day, well and good. There is no conspiracy to impede such developments. However, there is no Shar’i incumbency for the celebration of Eid on the same day throughout the country. The Shariah has not imposed any such law on the Ummah. The commencement of Ramadhaan on the same day in every place is not commanded by the Shariah. On the contrary, the authentic Ahadith unequivocally reveal that even during the time of the Sahaabah, Ramadhaan and Eid were on different days in different places. And, this inspite of reliable and authentic sightings and reports. Yet there were no controversies on the moon issue.