Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir
Sighting of the Moon
(Duration – 45 minutes)
Yusuf Chambers: Dear Brothers and sisters in Islam and Humanity, Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh. May the peace, the mercy and the blessings of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) be on all of you. Welcome to the show ‘Ramadhaan - A date with Dr Zakir.’ I am your host, Yusuf Chambers, and today we will be discussing ‘Sighting of the Moon’. Dr Zakir, Assalamu Alaikum!
Dr. Zakir: Walaikum Assalamu Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh
Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir, could you first explain to us how is the beginning of the Islamic month determined?
Dr. Zakir: Alhamdulillah was salaatu was salaam ala rasoolillah wa ala aalihi wa ashaabihi wa ajma’een. Amaa Ba’ad
A’uzu billahi minash shaytan nir-rajeem,
Bismillah hirrahman nirraheem,
Rabbish rahli Şadri Wa Yassir Li 'Amri Wa Ahlul `Uqdatan Min Lisani Yafqahu Qawli
We find that whenever the blessed month of Ramadhaan approaches we find there are a lot of concerns, debates, arguments and difference of opinions as far as when does this month begin and end. And we have different people giving their own opinion etc. but as far as the beginning of the Islamic month is concerned Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) is very clear in the Qur’an that it is based only and only on the sighting of the moon. The moment you sight the new moon, the Islamic month begins. And Allah says in the Qur’an in
Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 189
“They ask thee concerning the new moon. Say these are signs, marked, fixed for a period of time for the affairs of men and for pilgrimage.”
Allah is very clear that the moment you sight the new moon, the Islamic month begins. And Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) has made it clear in various Sahih Hadith, its mentioned in
Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 1909
Abu Hurraira (may Allah be pleased with him), he said Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam), Abul Qasim that was another name, (may Allah be pleased with him), he said that
“Fast when you see the crescent of Ramadhaan……
Fast when you see the new moon i.e. of Ramadhaan and you stop fasting when you see the crescent i.e. the new moon of Shawwal and if the sky is overcast, that means you cannot see the moon then complete 30 days of Shabaan”
And Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) was very particular to count especially the days in the month of Sha’baan so that he could be
sure that when is Ramadhaan going to begin and its mentioned in
Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. no. 2 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2318, Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), she says that
“Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) was the most careful in counting the days of the month of Sha’baan and whenever he saw the new moon of Ramadhaan, he used to start fasting and if he could not see the new moon because of cloudy weather etc. then he used to complete 30 days of Sha’baan.”
Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) was particular in counting the days of Sha’baan so that he could know exactly when does the month of Ramadhaan start.
And as far as witness is concerned whether the moon is sited or not, the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, its mentioned in
Sunan Nasai Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2118, the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said
“When 2 just Muslims site the moon, when they give Shahadah then fast or stop your fast.”
That means when 2 just Muslims, give their verdict you can start your fasting… start the month of Ramadhaan or stop your fasting and end the month of Ramadhaan.
Therefore 2 witnesses are required for testifying that the month of Ramadhaan has started or ended.
But there are other group of scholars who say that one witness is sufficient to start the month of Ramadhaan based on the Hadith of
Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. no. 2 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2335 where
“Abdullah Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) he said that “when people were seeing the moon, trying to find the new moon of Ramadhaan, I told to the Prophet that I had seen the new moon, the Prophet fasted and he commanded all the people to fast.”
So based on this one witness alone, most of the scholars, they say that for the beginning of the month of Ramadhaan, one witness is sufficient, if 2 then it’s preferable but 1 is sufficient and for the end of the month of Ramadhaan then 2 witnesses are required.
Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir, you mentioned the issue of witnesses, what kind of a persons’ testimony will be accepted for the sighting of the moon?
Dr. Zakir: As the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said as I mentioned earlier, its mentioned in
Sunan Nasai Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2118, the beloved Prophet said that
“If 2 just Muslims,” just Muslims, “if they site the moon then you can start fasting or you can stop fasting.”
So here the criteria is it should be 2 just Muslims, that they should be Aadil, the Arabic word used here is ‘Aadil’ it comes from the root word Adal which means straight, which means upright, its opposite of a crooked person and Aadil is a person who does all his obligatory acts all his Faraiz and he does not commit any major sins and he persistently does not commit any minor sins, completes all his obligatory acts includes, he fasts, he prays, he gives Zakaat etc, etc. and does not do any major sins which we discusses earlier in the previous episode of major sins, does not slander, does not backbite, etc. the person should be of a good character and should have good eyesight, being Aadil is a must, the person besides being Aadil, the person also should have a good eyesight because only if he has a good eyesight, can he sight the moon. If he doesn’t have a good eyesight, only being Aadil is not sufficient because then he may be deluded. So besides being Aadil he also has to have a god eyesight and the criteria that’s always laid down by Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) in the Qur’an, the person should be strong and should be trustworthy as Allah says in the Qur’an in
Surah Qasas ch. no. 28 verse no. 26
“The criteria for such type of people are that they should be strong and they should be trustworthy.”
Allah says in Surah Qasas ch. no. 28 verse no. 26 speaking about narration of the story of Musa (Alaihe Salaam) when one of the 2 daughters of Shuiab (Alaihe Salaam) say that you should employ Musa (Alaihe Salaam) “O my dear father, employ him on your wages” that means hire Musa (Alaihe Salaam) “because you truly require a man to employ who is strong and trustworthy.”
So strength and trustworthiness these are 2 criteria which are required and a similar message which is repeated in
Surah Naml ch. no. 27 verse no. 39 when
“Ifreeth one of the Jinns when he is asked to get the thrown of queen Sheba, then he says that truly indeed I have got strength and may be you can trust me.”
Means once the job is entrusted to him, he has got strength and you can trust him. so trustworthiness and strength are the 2 criteria required so witness should be Aadil that he should be trustworthy that’s what’s important.
Yusuf Chambers: Okay, thank you for the answer Dr. Zakir. I’d like to further ask you regarding the sighting the moon. Is one allowed to use astronomical evidence… to sight the moon? After all isn’t that more accurate than using a human witness.
Dr. Zakir: As far as using astronomical evidence, astronomical calculation or computation for the sighting of moon as far as Islamic month is concerned and this suggestions have been given very often, it’s mainly given by those people who have lack of knowledge of Islam. Because as far as astronomical calculation is concerned they were there even at the time of the Prophet and this suggestion was not given only lately, it has even been given at the time of the Prophet and when we read the Hadith we come to know what the Prophet said about it. It’s mentioned in
Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 1913 where
Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), he says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that “We are an illiterate nation and we do not calculate and do not do accounts”
Mainly relating to the month of fasting indicating that we do not use astronomical calculation or computation as far as calculating the Islamic month is concerned and he said that “its only so and so” and he did thrice 1…2…3 and third time he pressed his thumb indicating its either 29 days or it is, he did thrice like that… so and so indicating its 30 days.”
Now he said that we don’t use astronomical evidence, astronomical calculations or Computation and immediately there is one more Hadith which is mentioned in
Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. No. 2 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2313 where
Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), it is said that “he fasted alone, along with the people and did not rely on the astronomical evidence, on the astronomical calculation.”
From here we come to know that we have to rely only on sighting of the moon with your eyes, that’s important.
And Shaikh Ibn Tamiya, he says when the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that we are an illiterate Ummah what he meant was he tried to praise us, praise the Ummah saying that we are simple and we don’t rely on anything else but the sighting of the moon with our own eyes. It was not a statement used to put the Ummah down but to uplift the Ummah that we follow a simple religion. and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) purposely he did not use the Computation because he wanted to be followed by the common human being and he did not want to let this evidence of whether the month starts or not to be in the hands of a selected few people of knowledge whether it is right or wrong, it is secondary. So based on that, the astronomical evidence is not used for sighting of the moon. Only seeing with the eyes is sufficient for sighting of the moon and to rely whether the Islamic month starts or not.
Furthermore it is the lack of knowledge of Arabic and Islam that people suggest such things and Ibn Tamiyyah further says that the Arabic word Hilaal, it actually means to see the moon or to announce and if the moon is there but if people don’t see it and people don’t announce it then that means the new month hasn’t started. Though the moon may be there but because it’s not seen by the people, its not announced so its not started.
Furthermore the Arabic word for month is ‘Shahar’, it comes from the Arabic word ‘Ashar’ which means fame that means unless it becomes famous or it becomes known to the people the month hasn’t started.
Many people think that if the moon is there, irrespective whether people sight it or not whether people know about it or not whether it becomes famous or not, the month has started, No! It has to b e also seen by people and it should be made famous to the people then the right Arabic word Shahar that is known to the people then can we say that the Islamic month has started.
So based on this therefore the astronomical Computation whether right or wrong, it will not take into consideration because people should see it themselves, it should be announced and it should be made common then the Islamic month starts.
Yusuf Chambers: Amm.. I am sure that will help a lot of people to understand once you have given the derivation of the word, SubhanAllah. It makes so much sense. JazakAllah Khair. Is it correct to confirm the testimony of a person that claims to have sighted the moon via astronomical evidences or otherwise?
Dr. Zakir: As I mentioned earlier that using astronomical evidences to know whether Ramadhaan has started or not is totally wrong even to use it as a reconfirmation for the testimony given by the Muslims is totally incorrect. And there are many reasons for this
Point no. 1 if the astronomical evidence goes against the people who have testified, that means we are doubting those just Muslims and doubting a just Muslim is against the Qur’an and Sunnah
Point no. 2 if the astronomical evidence goes against the testimony it may be that some of the acts of worship may be nullified which will again create a problem and
Point no. 3 which is the most important its goes against the sayings of the Prophet, against the commandments of the Prophet. The Prophet said that “we are an illiterate nation, we do not use astronomical evidences and computations.”
So it goes against the Prophet which is the strongest reason and sufficient for us to stay away from it.
Point no. 4 Allah says in the Qur’an in
Surah Nisa ch. no. 4 verse no. 171
“la taghloo fee deenikum”
“Do not commit excess in your religion”…..Don’t commit excesses.
And the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, its mentioned in
Sunan Nasai Book of Manasikal Hajj Hadith no. 3059, the Prophet said
“Do not exaggerate because there were people in the past who have been destroyed because of exaggerations, talking about the Jews.”
Same the Qur’an also talks about the Jews that if you exaggerate then there are chances that they will be destroyed so what the Prophet said, Allah says follow it. If you go too much into exaggeration then you will be destroyed.
And furthermore, the last reason that people fail to realize that the Prophet said that
“When you see the moon then you start fasting, when you see it, then you stop fasting.”
Based on the Hadith which I quoted earlier of Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 1909. So the main thing I that you should see it so true fasting begins when you see it with your eyes or some Muslims sees with the eyes and is known to the people.
If it’s not seen with the eyes an if its not known to the people then true fasting hasn’t begun so where is the question of astronomical evidence.
And furthermore we find it’s mentioned in the Hadith of
Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 2 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2393 that
“Once there was a Sahaba who was performing Umrah and before he reached Makkah on his way on one of the areas he saw the moon and it seemed to be a 2 or a 3 day old moon so when later on he met Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and told him about this thing that you know you all are fasting in the month of Ramadhaan now but I already saw that the moon was approximately 2 or 3 days old so Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) replies that you start fasting when you see the moon and if the moon is obscured its possible the moon wasn’t seen so complete 30 days.
So with this is sufficient that we don’t have to rely on the astronomical evidence at all. Seeing it is important and making it known to the people is important then the month of Ramadhaan starts. If its not seen, if it’s not known it doesn’t start.
Yusuf Chambers: Okay once again…reaffirming what you have said… I mean it really is all about us seeing it with our own eyes but just one last question on instrumentation if you like. Is one allowed to use a telescope to sight the moon?
Dr. Zakir: As far as using telescope for sighting the moon, it’s permissible because finally you have to use your eyes. So telescope it only makes it easier for you to see, it brings the object closer to you, it seems to be closer the object is there, the moon is there, the moon doesn’t come closer but it seems closer and it’s easily seen so using the telescope is permissible, it does not at all go against the Shariah, against the saying of the Prophet.
There are some people who do object to it, but they fail to realize then if they object to using telescope, you have to also object to seeing with your spectacles. Because when a person sees with the spectacles like when I see wearing the spectacles, its nothing but a glass, its making a correction in my eyesight and I can see clearly. So if you object using the telescope that means you have to object even using the spectacles. Telescope is nothing but there are some lenses, some glasses put so that it helps you in seeing. So as long as you see it with your eyes, it helps you in seeing, there is no problem so the scholars are unanimous in this that using telescope is permissible if you want to use it but it will make little bit difference but not much, not much of difference because when the moon is there and if it’s a cloudy sky with the telescope also you can’t see. And if you have a good eyesight without the telescope the moon is to be sighted and it will be seen. But someone wants to use it, he can use it, it’s permissible.
Yusuf Chambers: Now it makes sense to me. Dr. Zakir, if a person starts fasting in one country, he then travels to a second country, in that country their month has started 2 days after his country of origin should he end his fast according to the country that he has traveled to, this would mean of course that he would end up fasting 31 or even 32 days. Is this correct for him to do that?
Dr. Zakir: As far as a person who starts fasting in one country and when he travels to another country and that country has started may be 2 days late and if he continues and he ends his month of Ramadhaan according to the second country where he has traveled, it may be that he may end up fasting 31 days or 32 days so should he fast till the end of that country or should he continue with the country of origin and when they finish the Ramadhaan, they should finish. As far as this questions is concerned as Allah’s Prophet has clearly mentioned in the Hadith of
Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3, Book of Fasting, Hadith no. 1907 and 1909 that the Prophet said that
“When you see the new moon, you start fasting and when you see the new moon, you stop fasting”
So based on this but natural… and another Hadith of
Tirmidhi Book of Fasting Hadith no. 697, the beloved Prophet said
“The fast the day when you all fast and the breaking of the fast is the day when you all break the fast and the day of sacrifice is the day when you all sacrifice.”
Indicating that it should be done in congregation, it should be in Jamaah, it can’t be done individually.
So because the person when he is shifts from one country to another country he should follow the rules and regulations as the people of that country where he is staying in. So if he stays in a country where they starts fasting early, he should start fasting early with them and if he goes to a country where the fasting is delayed, the month of Ramadhaan is delayed by 2 days, he should continue with them even if he has to fast for 1 or 2 days more, he has to continue doing that because he has to b e with the Jamaah, he has to be with the people. It cannot be that the other people are fasting and he is not fasting. He should maintain the Jamaah that as what the people are doing in the country where he is living, he should continue doing that even if he has to fast 1 or 2 days more. I know the month of Ramadhaan is of 29 or 30 days but since he has to follow the Hadith that the fast is the day when all the people fast and the breaking of the fast is the day when all the people break the fast. So he should continue and break the fast only when all the people break even if he has to fast one or 2 days more.
And similarly if a person, when he starts fasting and if he travels to another country and may be the sunset is about 2 hours late so he has to fast, 2 hours more, he can’t say that the country of origin, the sun was setting at 6 ‘o’ clock and here it is setting at 8 ‘o’ clock so I will fast 2 hours less. No so the same way as far as sighting of the moon is concerned then he has to do extra days.
If its the vice versa if a person starts fasting, if the person starts the month of Ramadhaan in a country and then he goes to a country which has already started the month of Ramadhaan 2 days earlier than the country of origin or 1 day earlier than the country of origin, in this case also he has to continuer fasting with the people of that area even though he may have to fast one day less. May be he’ll have to fast only 28 days but in this case since a month cannot be 28 days he has to celebrate Eid with the people of that country but later on he should compensate for the fast he has missed because the month of Ramadhaan cannot have 28 days.
So if both the countries where he has started and ended both have 30 days and if he fasted for 28 days then he has to compensate 2 days but if the country of origin had 29 days or the country of… to which he has traveled has 29 days then he has the option of only fasting for 29 days, then he has to make up only one fast. But he has to complete at least 29 or 30 days depending upon the country of origin and destination.
Yusuf Chambers: Then may be if you want to get more reward then you have to travel east. Dr. Zakir perhaps you could shed some light on the issue of why it is that the Muslims of the world are not united as regards to fasting and celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.
Dr. Zakir: As far as Muslims throughout the world being united in starting the month of Ramadhaan and ending the month of Ramadhaan and celebrating Eid, there are scholars which are divided.
There is one group of scholars who say that throughout the world you should follow the timing of Makkah. So if Makkah starts the month of Ramadhaan everyone throughout the world should follow Ramadhaan. If Makkah ends Ramadhaan then everyone throughout the world should end Ramadhaan and if Makkah celebrates Eid then everyone else in the world should celebrate Eid and this is view even of Shaikh Bin Baaz. When a person asked him that he was a Saudi who traveled to Spain and he said that I have been fasting according to the calendar of Makkah and Makkah started fasting, I started fasting in Spain according to Makkah and ended fasting according to Makkah and celebrated Eid according to Makkah so is it right? so Shaikh Bin Baaz said there is no problem, it is right because Makkah is a holy city.
But the other group of scholars, they disagree and they say that the timings should be according the area, there should be time zones as Allah says in the Qur’an in
Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 185 that
“If you sight the moon for those who sight the moon,” those who witness the moon or those who are present at home in the month, “they should fast.”
And our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) also said, its mentioned in
Sahih Bukhari Vol. no. 3 in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 1907 and 1909, the Prophet said that
“When you see the new moon of Ramadhaan, then you start your fast and when you see the new moon of Shawwal then you end the fast.”
So based on this the people of that area should see the moon and if that area is common, it may be one city, it may be a full country or a couple of countries together that is the right ruling.
And Shaikh Ibn Taimiyah says that you cannot have that all together, you cannot have all the Muslims in the world fasting together and he also says that even according to scientific evidences, even according to astronomical evidences it’s not possible that all the Muslims throughout the world can fast on one day because the moon cannot be sighted altogether on one day, there has to be difference. So it’s illogical to say that we should fast altogether and the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, its mentioned in
Tirmidhi in the Book of Fasting Hadith no. 697 that
“The fast is when you all fast and the breaking of fast is when you all break the fast. And the day of sacrifice is when all the people sacrifice.”
So as long as the people of that area, they fast, it is sufficient i.e. fasting and when people of that area in that locality or in that city or in that country, if they break the fast then you have to break the fast because as we see that there is no difference of opinion as far as the timings of the sun is concerned, as far as starting of the each day as far as when the day starts and the day ends there is no difference of opinion.
It’s mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 187, its says that
“Eat and drink until the white thread of dawn is distinguished from the black thread and fast till the night falls and till the sunsets.”
So here in east part of the world the sunsets earlier that does not mean because in Malaysia the sun sets earlier, in Bombay I will end my fast earlier? So that means the people in Makkah should also end it early and if in the western world the sun sets a bit late, I’ll also end my fast late; there is unanimous agreement throughout the world that you have to follow the timing of the sun according to your local timing. If the sun sets in your area then you stop fasting and you can eat, if the dawn breaks in your area then you stop eating and start fasting. There is no difference of opinion. So as we follow the sun you should even follow the moon the same way. Imagine if we celebrate Eid, if the new moon of Shawwal is sighted in Makkah and we celebrated Eid, may be in America, in the west the moon may have been sighted 1 day earlier that means we have to celebrate Eid one day later. And in Pakistan and India the new moon will be sighted 1 or 2 days later so does it mean that they have to celebrate Eid in the month of Ramadhaan and imagine those people if they will have to follow Makkah timing they will have to fast even on the day of Eid. In America may be the moon… may be its seen one day earlier that means they will have to fast on the day of Eid which is Haraam. Prophet said
“You cannot fast on the day of Eid.”
So here we realize that we have to follow the same rule as we follow for timings of the sun otherwise there will be a big chaos, and it will not be practically possible and many people who say that you know how is it possible that you know Muslims in different parts of the world have Eid on different days. Its normal we are used to having different timings in the sun, the morning time when its day time in India, it is night time in America. You don’t say “O how is the night time there and day time here or when its night time here, it’s day time there” we don’t say “O what a stupid thing that the people aren’t united.” Because that’s the way it is. The timings of the sun differ and the timings of the sun in the full world, it differs by 24 hours. Zero minute to 24 hours, it depends upon which longitude is your area. If it is the same longitude then the timing would be same and the world is divided into 360 degrees, 360 longitudes, each longitude, it differs by 4 minutes. So if you travel by 15 longitudes then there will be difference of 1 hour so 360 multiplied by 4 comes top 1440 minutes that’s equal to one full day so the world is divided into time zones, no just for the betterment for ease what we do that though India has got more than 15 degrees longitude yet the time is common they take a centre point and they say whether its Bombay or Gujarat or one end of India or whether its Asam, the other end of India the breadth yet they follow the same timing, they take the central time.
But in countries like USA the width is much more which is more than 30 degrees the timing may differ more than 2 hours but they have approximately 4 time zones. The time in Los Angles is 2 hours earlier than the time in New York so it differs so there it will be imagine a person flying from New York to Los Angles and he wonders that there, there are 2 hours earlier but this is how the time zones are divided and people are living with it.
So same way people fail to realize that as far as scientific evidence for moon is concerned the new moon can differ by 1 or 2 days., it is scientific. It’s not possible that the new moon can occur throughout the world on the same day, it’s not possible, it is unscientific.
And I’d just spoken to a scientist who was specialized in field of astronomy, its in London when I’d been there and he told me that 1 or 2 days its common sometimes there can be even a difference of 3 days. Sighting the moon, from one part of the world to the other part of the world can be a difference even of 3 days and once in a blue moon it can even go up to 4 days. It may happen.. I don’t know … may be once in thousand years… he gave some calculation which I didn’t understand but normally differing by 1 or 2 days is common, it is scientific. The new moon cannot be sighted on the same day throughout the world, how the sun cannot be sighted on same day throughout the world. So here people fail to realize that celebrating same day throughout the world will be unscientific and it will be un-Islamic also because we have to have 2 witnesses to sight only when 2 witnesses sight as the beloved Prophet said can the people of the area celebrate.
What we can have for convenience, people in a few cities they have a one area of sighting the moon or one full country can have one common area for sighting the moon or if a couple or countries if they are close and fall in the same area they can have but throughout the world its not possible and it is not even scientific. So I agree with Shaikh Ibn Tamiyyah and Shaikh Utaymeen when they say that its not possible to have sighting of the moon throughout the world on the same day.
Yusuf Chambers: Okay, JazakAllah Khair. So from your answer Dr. Zakir its clear that there can be some differences from country to country regarding the sighting of the moon following if the Eid and starting and the end of Ramadhaan, Alhumdulillah. What’s the ruling regarding people in the same city differing regarding Eid and Ramadhaan etc.?
Dr. Zakir: As far as people differing in the same city, the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) was very clear, its clearly mentioned in Hadith of
Tirmidhi on the book of Fasting Hadith no. 697, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said
“The Fast is the day when you all fast”
Means the whole Muslim community fasts
“And the break of fast is the day when you break the fast and the day of sacrifice is the day you sacrifice.”
Means all of you sacrifice indicating that it should be in congregation, people, of the same city cannot differ because the city is not that big where the sighting of moon will differ so the area of sighting of the moon has to cover at least one city. I don’t know of any city in the world which is so big that covers ah.. you know a very large area.
There can be occasions when few cities can be clubbed together and they can have the same area of sighting of moon or the full country can have as I mentioned earlier can have same sighting of moon. Or there can be a few countries close to each other, you know, may have the same sighting of moon but as far as a city is concerned they should have the same sighting of moon, a person cannot differ like in the same city one person starting Ramadhaan today, other person starting tomorrow, its not permissible. All have to star Ramadaan together, end Ramadhaan together and celebrate Eid together.
Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Khair. Its very logical and straight forward, its not rocket science. And Dr. Zakir, there are many non-Muslims no doubt and I have met some of them who are confused and they often ask themselves what sought of a religion is this in which people of the same city, you know, are not united upon this wonderful day, the celebration of Eid and also the beginning and end of Ramadhaan. I would really appreciate it if you could comment on that.
Dr. Zakir: I do agree with you that many a times we Muslims make a laughing stock of ourselves that they wonder what sought of religion is this Islam where they are not united in the same city; you have 2 different days of Eid. Sometimes we have 3 days, 3 different days of Eid. Today, tomorrow, day after tomorrow, 3 different days of Eid so they wonder what sort of a religion is this? And for this as I explained to you in my earlier 2 answers, Islam is very clear there is unanimous decision but we Muslims are to blame. It is not Islam, we Muslims are to blamed because the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) was very clear that we should be united, the Qur’an is very clear, it is we Muslims who are to blamed that we are divided. The problem is not in Islam, the problem is in us Muslims, the problem is that we have many Hilal committees, many. One city has 3 – 4 Hilal committees or many a times there is one Hilaal committee but there are sub divisions, you know, each belonging to one group. So the problem in us Muslims, we have many Hilal committees each belonging to one group, one sect each fighting among themselves or one Hilaal committee having many sub divisions so what happens that there’s ego problem between them and that happens in many parts of the world whether it be USA whether it be UK whether it be Pakistan whether it be India and in Bombay it has happened several times that Eid is celebrated on 2 different days sometimes even 3 different days. And what happens that they have ego problem that if the witness of group of Hilal committee ‘A’ is there and Hilal committee ‘B’ gets angry or may be they want that we should announce first and if Hilal committee ‘A’ announces first, ‘B’ out of the way will differ to prove that we are stronger and they want to show that who has a bigger following so this is a big Fitna. And because of their own ego the problem we have in the Muslim Ummah is that we Muslims, we are being troubled and we are not able to follow ouyr Deen because of these groups. So the main problem is the Hilaal committees because the ego problems between themselves and it does happen several times in several parts of the world that they purposely differ, if group ‘A’ announces, group ‘B’ will go out of the way to differ. So you know what we should have, we should get together and no problem for the betterment of the Ummah we should let our ego go down and we should come together on a common platform and whoever has more ego let him lead, no problem. As long as we unitedly celebrate the Eid. As the Prophet said
“You fast when all the people fast, you break the fast when all the people break the fast, you celebrate the Eid when all the people celebrate the Eid.”
So if you let your ego be reduced and let us come together and see to it that we celebrate the Eid together then this problem…. otherwise this problem will never be solved.
And previously there used to be 2 different dates, no third date has cropped up because of these people following Saudi which I discussed in my earlier 2 answers that you know now they say that okay, we will follow the time of Saudi Arabia, that’s another problem and that has cropped up recently, that has cropped up more and we find that in Canada, in UK, in USA there are 3 days of Eid.
The infighting amongst the local Hilal community is one problem and some people saying we will follow Saudi Arabia that’s another problem so they have further increased the problem. So we Muslims should be as Allah says in the Qur’an in
Surah Ale Imran ch. no. 3 verse no. 103
“Wa’tasimoo bihabli Allahi jamee’an wala tafarraqoo”
“Hold to the rope of Allah strongly and be not divided.”
The rope of Allah is the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith so we should hold to it strongly and be not divided.
Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah what we need to do is bring back the logic of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) and when hew was placing the black stone.. Remember the.. If we could have that back that would be great.
Dr. Zakir: And we see this problem is very little in the gulf countries. In Saudi Arabia there is only one committee where whatever they say everyone follows and fortunately even the countries around them whether it be UAE whether it be Bahrain, they follow Saudi Arabia because they all fall in the same area, it’s not that big countries so there..there is no problem, we are not laughing stock. They celebrate Eid on one day when they announce, everyone follows, its Eid, when they Say Ramadhaan, everyone follows so they are the best examples, the Gulf countries. We Muslims in the non-Muslim countries, we have a problem and we try to show off and ego etc. try to differ that’s the problem. So we should follow the example of the Gulf countries, Alhumdulillah, they are united and they are one. At least as far as the sighting of the moon is concerned.
Yusuf Chambers: And InshaAllah they should improve the more educated our youth get.
Dr. Zakir: InshaAllah, InshaAllah
Yusuf Chambers: and start taking over the place, InshaAllah.
Dr. Zakir: InshaAllah.
Yusuf Chambers: Well Doctor, I am afraid that we’ve got time for it regarding the interview section now we gonna move on to question and answers on the topic of sighting of the moon. Aright, well, the first question we have from one of our respected viewers is why do Muslims follow the lunar calendar instead of the solar calendar?
Dr. Zakir: There are various reasons why we follow lunar calendar and following lunar calendar is much more beneficial as compared to solar calendar because as Allah says in the Qur’an in
Surah Baqarah ch. no. 2 verse no. 189 that
“When they ask thee concerning new moons, Say that they are signs for marking the fixed period of time and as far as the affairs of men are concerned and pilgrimage.”
So in lunar calendar what we have that every year the time and the climate… if we follow the solar calendar for example Ramadhaan or Hajj will come in the same season, it will come in the same month of solar calendar but the season would be the same, it would not change. But if we follow the lunar calendar if the lunar month is the same, it keeps on changing the climate. So because the difference between the lunar and the solar calendar is 11 days approximately. The lunar calendar is 11 days less than the solar calendar so if we follow the solar calendar, if suppose Ramadhaan comes in a country in winter throughout his life, Ramadhaan will come in winter, if in one part of the world, Ramadhaan is in summer throughout the world it will be in summer so it will be a disadvantage.
Someone may complain to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) why am I living in a country where Ramadhaan is always in summer or someone will say O! its good, Ramadhaan is always in winter some people will fast the full Ramadhaan, the full life always having long days, some people have short days.
So when we follow the lunar calendar in approximately 33 years of your life we have Ramadhaan coming in all the seasons of the year. Sometimes it will be in summer, sometimes in winter, sometimes in autumn, sometimes the days will be short, sometimes the days will be long or it will be average throughout your life.
So this is, Alhumdulillah, scientific. So to follow the lunar calendar is beneficial, we have Hajj in all the seasons, we have Ramadhaan in all the seasons, we have Eid in all the seasons. So no one can complain to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and they have taste of all the seasons to follow Ramadhaan and to keep the fast and as well as to celebrate Eid. So it is more scientific to follow the lunar calendar as compared to following the solar calendar.
Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Dr. Zakir. Next question, is it permissible for Muslims who are living in a non-Islamic country to form a committee to confirm the sighting of a new moon for Ramadhaan, Shawwal and Dhul Hijjah?
Dr. Zakir: As far as forming a Hilal committee, a committee for sighting the moon in a non-Muslim country, its permissible, it is infact preferable or it may become compulsory that there should be if there are many Muslims living in that country so that Muslims are united, it is Mustahab, its preferable that they form Hilaal committee so that the Muslims of that area whether living in the USA or living in UK or in India, they have common point of reference but as I mentioned earlier, the Hilaal committee should be united, they should not be fragmented, there should be one Hilaal committee, there should not be many Hilaall committees otherwise we’ll have Eid on separate days as I discussed earlier. There should be but one common committee following Qur’an and Sunnah.
Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Khair for the short answer. Ahh.. next question and unfortunately today’s last question. Can the testimony of a woman is acceptable in regards to sighting of the moon for Ramadhaan?
Dr. Zakir: As far as accepting the testimony of a woman for sighting of the moon is concerned, there are difference of opinion. According to the Hanafis….Hanafi school of thought, if it’s a cloudy day then the testimony of a woman can be accepted, the testimony of a woman can also be accepted by the Hambalis and one group of Shafi also accepts this testimony whereas the other group of Shafis say that testimony of the woman cannot be accepted and the Malikis are unanimous that testimony of a woman cannot be accepted. So there are 2 groups of scholars’ one group says that it can be accepted, one group says, it cannot be accepted.
And Shaikh Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) he says that the testimony of a woman cannot be accepted and he gives reasons for that, he says that because the Qur’an says that there should be 2 just witnesses and the Arabic word used in the Hadith of
Tirmidhi Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2118
It says ‘Shaahidain’
So he says the woman is a Shaahidaa, not a Shahid. So based on that argument he says that woman testimony cannot be accepted.
There is a group of scholars who say, can be accepted and as far as Arabic word is concerned that many a times when the male word is used there even women is included so to just pick on the word and say that…so the other groups of scholars say that its not right to pick on the word and say because its Shahidain, a woman cannot be accepted. And furthermore they say the group we say that the woman testimony can be accepted, they say that when we ask a woman that which is the direction of Qibla and the woman shows a direction, but natural we will follow it and we can ask the timings of Salaah to a woman if you go to a foreign land that what is the timing of Salaah and she tells the timing its accepted. So when we accept this, why can’t we accept the sighting of the moon? That’s what they argue and further they argue that many of the Hadith has been narrated only by one narrator, the chain of narration and Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the wife of the Prophet, she alone has narrated no less than 2220 Ahadith. So when her alone witness is accepted even this Hadith the Sighting of the moon is a Hadith of Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) so when you can accept her narration alone, so why can’t we accept the Shahadah of the woman?
So this argument is very strong, you know, that when we can accept that Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) when she narrated the Hadith of sighting of the moon and we accept the Hadith so why can’t we accept when she says that she has seen the moon. So the group which says that woman’s testimony can be accepted is much more acceptable though there is difference of opinion in this aspect.
Yusuf Chambers: Well JazakAllah Khair for your excellent answer today Dr. Zakir Naik and I think its… it’s a very controversial issue amongst many Muslims and I pray and I ask Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to help us… lessen the difficulties and the differences between us so we can all celebrate Eid in each city, we can all celebrate Eid together and we won’t be the laughing stock of any non-Muslims or such like, InshaAllah. JazakAllah Khair.
Brothers and sisters do join us again tomorrow the same time when we will be discussing the topic ‘Zakaat-ul-Fitr’ until then
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!