Sunday 14th July 2024 | Ahad 7th Muharram 1446 [?]

[Download pdf] - Related: Sighting of the Crescent Moon and the Signs of Qiyamah | The History of the UK following Saudi Arabia

By Mufti Muhammad Yusuf Danka, Croydon Masjid, UK (published 2012, updated 2019)

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has stated in the Holy Qur’aan: “They ask you (O Muhammad صلي الله عليه وسلم) about the crescent moons. Say: They are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage.” Quran (2: 189).

It is necessary to view the crescent moon with the naked eye as proof of the Hilal. If the sky is clear, the Hanafi scholars state that Jame Ghafeer (a large group) is required to have witnessed the crescent moon. In the matter of Jame Ghafeer, there is no difference of opinion from the time of the Salaf to the present day. In Saudi Arabia, even though the skies are clear, there is never a report of Jame Ghafeer. It is unfortunate that the Jamiat and Hizbul Ulama of the UK are blindly following the Saudi announcements, after claiming to be followers of the Hanafi school of thought. They give no regard to the Shari’ah or the rulings of their predecessors behind a guise of a hallucinated unity.

 عن إبن عمر أن رسول الله  قال: الشهر تسع وعشرون ليلة فلا تصوموا حتى تروه، فإن غمّ عليكم فأكملوا العدة ثلاثلين .(صحيح بخارى ص306 صحيح مسلم ص347) اس حديث ميں " فلا تصوموا حتى تروه جمع كا صيغه هے۔"

Sayyidina Ibn Umar  relates from Nabi (ﷺ) that there are twenty nine nights in a month, do not fast until all you see it (the Hilal), if it is hidden from you then complete thirty days. (Sahih Bukhari p,306/ Sahih Muslim p,347)

The word in the Hadith فلا تصوموا حتى تروه، which can mean that when a lot of people sight it (the Hilal) then fasting should begin. Throughout the lifetime of Prophet (ﷺ) ‘Ruyat e A’amah’ i.e. a large group as could be understood by this Athar (speech of Sahabah or Tabi’een ) was practised. Only on one occasion in Madina moon was not sighted and RasulAllah (ﷺ) accepted the witnessed statement of a Nomad Arab. But consideration needs to be taken that the person who accepted the testimony was the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and the witness himself was a just Sahabi (In essence, both parties have no element of doubt). The practice of our Pious Salaf us Saliheen clearly indicates that they insisted upon the ‘Ruyat e A’amah’.

The statements of the Companions (رضى الله عنهم):

Kurayb (رضى الله عنه) related: Sayiddina Abdullah ibn Abbas (رضى الله عنه) sent me to Sayiddina Muawiya  in Syria. I completed my errand there, the moon of Ramadhan was viewed on Friday night in Syria. I returned to Madinah Munawarrah, Ibn Abbas (رضى الله عنه) asked me about my journey and the sighting of the moon. I said: ‘The moon was sighted on Friday night in Syria.’ Ibn Abbas  asked me: ‘Did YOU yourself see the moon?’ I replied: نعم ورآه الناس)) ‘Yes, I and other people also. The next day Muawiya  and the others kept a fast.’ Ibn Abbas  stated: ‘We saw the moon on Saturday night, either we will see the moon for Eid or we will complete 30 days.’ I asked: ‘Is the sighting of Muawiya  not enough for you?’ Sayiddina Ibn Abbas (رضى الله عنه) said: ‘No, The Prophet (ﷺ) has ordered us to do this’ (to act upon their own moon sighting). (Sunan Abu Dawood #562, Sunan Nasai #2115)

It is proven from the above hadith, due to the question and answer of the Companion Ibn Abbas (رضى الله عنه) , it was the requirement of the Sahaba that Jame Ghafeer be performed on the occasion of sighting the crescent moon. Certain people have the belief that due to the blessing of the Haramain Sharifain, Allah  allows the moon to be seen there before anywhere else in the World. It is proven from the above hadith that the Muslims of Syria in the time of the Sahaba sighted the moon before the Arab peninsula.

The Statements of the Tabi’ee رحمه الله :

قلت لعطاء: أرأيت لو أن رجلا رأى هلال رمضان قيل الناس بليلة أيصوم قبلهم أو يفطر قبلهم؟ قال لا، الا ان يراه الناس، أخشى أن يكون شبه عليه. (مصنف عبدالرزاق، باب كم يجوزمن الشهودعلى رؤية الهلال ج4 ص130)

Tabi’i Ataa رحمه الله (who was from amongst the teachers of Imam Abu Hanifah رحمه الله), was asked that if a person was to see the Hilal of Ramadhan a night before the others could see it, should he fast before them, or should he celebrate Eid before them? He replied يراه الناس)) ‘No, not until the people see it. I fear that he is mistaken’. (Musannaf Abdur Razzaq vol 4, p130)

Hadhrat Shaykh Moulana Zakariya رحمه الله relates the statement of Imam Abu Hanifa رحمه الله from the well known book of the Hanbali Fiqh, Al Mughni: ‘If the sky is clear, then a witnessing cannot be accepted without the testimony of a large group of the Muslims. (Aujazul Masalik vol 5, p21)

شيخ الحديث شيخ محمد زكريا قدس سره حنبلى فقه كى معروف كتاب المغنى (جلد3 ص157) سے نقل كرتے ہيں۔ وقال أبوحنيفة رحمه الله في الغيم كقولنا وفي الصحو لا يقبل الا الاستفاضة لأنه لايجوز أن تنظرالجماعة إلى المطلع وأبصارهم صحيحة والموانع مرتفعة فيراه واحد دون الباقين۔ (اوجزالمسالك جلد5 ص21)

The Statements of the Taba Tabi’een  رحمه الله – Zahirul Riwayat:

When the sky is clear and Jamme Ghafeer witnessing of the crescent moon takes place, only then will the Hilal be established. For this, Imam Azam Abu Hanifa رحمه الله‘s student Imam Muhammad Shaybani رحمه الله writes in his 1st book, Kitabul Asal Mabsoot:

وإن لم يكم بالسماء علة فلم أقبل شھادة رجل حتّى يكون أمرا ظاھرا –

 (كتاب اصل،  مبسوط .لامام محمد رحمه الله ، باب تتمته نوادرالصوم، جلدثانى ص280)

Imam Muhammad bin Shaybani رحمه الله writes: ‘If the sky is cloudy, the witness of just one Muslim person for sighting the crescent moon will be accepted for Ramadhan. If it is for Eid ul Fitr, the Hilal cannot be established without the presence of two male witnesses. If the sky is clear, even the witness of one male cannot be accepted until the situation is made clear, with (a large group of the Muslims sighting the crescent).’ (Kitabul Asal Mabsoot, vol 2, p280)

In the commentary on this saying by Allamah Abu Wafa Afghani رحمه الله states: ‘This means that the sighting of the crescent moon is not well known and common knowledge (absence of Jamme Ghafeer).’

All the books that have been written in light of the Hanafi Fiqh have taken the ruling of Imam Muhammad Shaybani رحمه الله above as a fundamental basis for establishing the new crescent moon through Jamme Ghafeer.

وإذا لم تكن با لسماء علة لم تقبل الشهادة حتى يراه جمع كثير يقع العلم بخبرهم.. لأن التفرد بالروية فى مثل هذه الحالة يوهم الغلط فيجب التوقف فيه حتّى يكون جمعا كثيرا. (هدايه- جلد1 ص125، لعلامه على بن أبى بكرالمرغيناني هجرى 592/ مختصرالقدورى مع الشرح ص224، لعلامه احمدالقدورى هجرى428 / نورالإيضاح ص167/ مراقى الفلاح ص236)

‘If the sky is cloudy, the witness of one just Muslim person for sighting the crescent moon will be accepted. If the sky is clear then the witnessing will not be accepted until a large group from the Muslims testify to viewing the crescent, not until there is no doubt of the witnessing.’ (Quduri, p46, Hidayah, vol1, p125)

If the Qazi gives a ruling against the Qur’an or Sunnah of Ijma, it should not be accepted:

اخبرنا عبدالرزاق عن الثورى قال إذا قضى القاضى بخلاف كتاب الله او سنة نبى الله او شئ مجتمع عليه فإن القاضى بعده يرده (مصنف عبدالرزاق، باب ھل يرد قضاء القاضى او يرجع عن قضاه؟ ج8 ص234# ،15377

It is related from the Tabi’een Sufyam Thawri رحمه الله’: If the Qazi gives a ruling against the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ) or a matter upon which there is Ijma, then his ruling will be rejected.’ (Masanad Abdur Razak, vol 8, p234)

It can be said that the ruling of the judge of Saudi Arabia is binding upon the inhabitants of Saudi Arabia. However, it cannot be incumbent upon all Muslims to follow this ruling. Therefore it is necessary for those scholars who blindly follow the Saudi rulings in respect of the new crescent moon, to take note of the advices and rulings of their predecessors. When in Saudi the announcements for the commencement of the new moon is not done in accordance to the required principle and is against the Ijma of the predecessors, it cannot be accepted. The scholars of the UK in particular: the Darul Ulooms, Markaz and scholarly organisations should make an informed decision for their country of residence in accordance with the rulings of their school of thought.

Mufti Rashid Ahmed Luhdyanvi رحمه الله write: The news of the sighting in Saudi Arabia reaching the status of ‘Istifaadha’ is questionable and further, due to the sighting in Saudi being against the principles of the Hanafi Maslak (Fiqh) and logic; it is unacceptable. According to Hanafi Fiqh when the skies are clear, a large group (Jamme Ghafeer) is a condition. (Ahsan ul Fataawaa Vol 4 P 426)

Hadhrat Mufti Sayed Abdur Raheem Lajpuri رحمه الله writes: If the skies are clear the testimony of the two or four people will not be enough. A testimony of such a large group is essential to the extent that the Qadhi, Aalim or Mufti is fully confident and satisfied that the Hilal has been sighted, and no doubts remain. (Fataawa Rahimiyah vol 10, p 169 فتاوى فتاوى محموديہ جلد3 ص129/)

Imam Abu Yusuf رحمه الله requires 40 witnesses to establish Jame Ghafeer as taking place.

وإذا لم تكن بالسماء علة لم تقبل الشهادة حتي يراه جمع كثير يقع العلم بخبرهم لأن التفرد بالرؤية في مثل هذه الحالة يوهم الغلط فيجب التوقف فيه حتي يكون جمعا كثيرا.....ثم قيل في حد الكثير أهل الملة وعن أبى يوسف رحمه الله خمسون رجلا اعتبارا بالقسامة ...۔ (فتح القدير جلد2 ص328، لعلامه إبن همام حنفى 861هجرى) وقيل بلا علة جمع عظيم يقع العلم) الشرعي وهو غلبة الظن (بخبرهم وهو مفوض إلى راى الإمام من غير تقدير بعدد) على المذهب۔ (درمختار كتاب الصوم- جلد3 ص410)

In the Shari’ah of Islam the sighting of the crescent moon is stipulated with the following conditions: If the sky is clear on the 29th night of the month, then for Ramadhan and Eid to be established, Jame Ghafeer has to be witnessed. In the books of Fiqh the number of witnesses required for Jamme Ghafeer to be established range from 50 to 500. Allamah Shami رحمه الله states in respect of the number of witnesses: ‘If by receiving the testimony of the witnesses the Qazi is satisfied, together with 2 conditions: (1) it is possible to sight the moon on that day (2) a large group of the Muslims witness the sighting of the crescent moon.’ For this reason when the sky is clear, the testimony of 3 or 4 people cannot be accepted. (Fatawa Haqqania, vol 4, p137)

شريعت مقدسہ ميں چاند كى رؤيت كيلئے قانون يہ هے كہ اگر (29)انتيس كى رات كو مطلع بالكل صاف هو تو پهر جم غفير كى رؤيت روزه اورعيد كيلئے ضرورى هے. جم غفيرکى تعداد کے بارے ميں مختلف اقوال ذخيره فقه ميں درج ہيں بعض سے پچاس اوربعض سے پانچ سو وغيره مروى ہيں البتہ امام علامه إبن عابدين شامى رحمه الله نے تعداد سے قطع نظر كرکے قاضى کے مطمئن هونے كو ترجيح دى هے ليكن قاضى كا اطمينان بهى دو شرائط کے ساتهہ مشروط هے (1) امكان رؤيت (2) كثرت شهود.. اسلئے صاف مطلع کےدوران تين ياچار آدميوں كى گواهى نا قابل قبول هے-كذافي ردالمختار جلد2 ص101 (فتاوى حقانيہ جلد4 ص137)

The Statement of the Founders and Senior Scholars of Deoband:

Hadhrat Aqdas Sheykh Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi نوّرالله مرقده writes “If the skies are clear then the testimony of two or four people will not be sufficient, whether it is for Ramadhan or whether it is for Eid. On the other hand, if so many people came forward with testimonies, that it becomes clear that they are not lying, nor can such a large group lie, then the testimonies will be accepted and the new month will commence. (Bahishti Zewar part 3 p6/ Ilm ul Fiqh vol 3 p425 By Moulana Abdul Shakur Farooqi رحمه الله/ Ta’limul Islam vol 4, p69 By Mufti KifayatulAllah رحمه الله)

The ruling of Mufti Shafi Uthmani رحمه الله which was authorised by signatures of the senior Scholars and Jurists, Hadhrat Molana Zafar Ahmed Uthmani, Hadhrat Molana Muhammad Yusuf Binori and Hadhrat Mufti Rashid Ahmed Ludyanwi رحمهم الله, in respect of witnessing 2 Eids: ‘When the horizon is clear and 2 or 4 people have witnessed to sighting the crescent, it is not correct to accept their sighting according to the Shariah. Not until a large group of the Muslims do not verify this sighting also, only then will it be acceptable. The sighting of the 2 or 4 people will be ruled as being incorrect or a false statement.’ (Jawahirul Fiqah vol 1, p399-400)  

بہركيف هلال عيدين كيلئے شرعى ضابطہ شهادت کےبارے ميں، حضرت مفتى اعظم پاكستان مفتى محمد شفيع عثمانى نوّرالله مرقده اور اس وقت کےفقہاء كامتفقہ فيصلہ تها كہ "جب چاند كى رؤيت عام نہ هوسكے صرف دوچار آدمي نےديكها هو، تويہ صورت حال اگرايسى فضاميں هو كہ مطلع بالكل صاف هو، چاند ديكهنے ميں كوئى بادل يا دهواں غبار وغيره مانع نہ هو توايسى صورت ميں صرف دوتين آدميوں کى رؤيت اور شهادت شرعاً قابل اعتماد نہیں هوگى، جب تک مسلمانوں كى بڑى جماعت اپنےديكهنے كى شهادت نہ دے چاند كى رؤيت تسليم نہ كى جائےگى- جو ديكهنے كى شهادت دےرهےہيں اسكو انكامغالطہ ياجهوٹ قرار دياجائيگا"- (جواهرالفقه جلد1 ص399-400) (’دستخط كنده 10 1386هجرى، حضرت مفتى محمد شفيع عثمانى، حضرت مولانا ظفراحمد عثمانى، حضرت مولانا محمد يوسف بنورى، حضرت مفتى رشيد احمد لدهيانوى رحمهم الله) 

In Saudi Arabia, there is never a report of a large group that witness the sighting of the crescent moon (Muhaqaq Ru’yat Basari). The reality of the condition is that Saudi Arabia claims to have sighted the crescent moon, yet the continents nearby: Africa, Asia etc do not report a sighting. This makes the Saudi statement very doubtful. It is a unanimous decision of the jurists of Islam, when the sky is clear, it is a necessary condition that the sighting of the crescent moon be witnessed by a large group (Jame Ghafeer). (Fatawa Mazahirul Uloom Saharanpur, Mufti Maqsood & Mufti Muhammad Tahir)

It is wajib alal khifayah to sight the crescent moon, it is for this reason in the UK, when the skies are clear and it is possible to sight the crescent moon (the correct nights of the month), we should not sit at home accepting the announcement of the Saudi government as gospel. (Fatawa Darul Uloom Kandariya, Mufti Abdullah Kawi)

In Saudi Arabia, there is no principle of following the Hanafi Fiqh and the system for observing the crescent moon and commencing the months is also other than the guidance of the Shariah and Sunnah. It is for reason that it is not necessary to accept or recommended for the Muslims in the UK to follow the Saudi announcement, especially for Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha. (Fatawa Jamia Hussainiya Gujrat, Mufti Ismail Wari & Molana Zaheerudeen Faid Abadi, 7/7/2007)

اگر مطلع صاف باشد دررمضان وشوّال جماعت عظيم مےبايد۔ (مالابدمنه ص93 – از قاضى ثناءالله پانى پتى نوّرالله مرقده)      

وقال أبوحنيفة رحمه الله في الصحو لابد من جمع كثير۔ (الروضة الندية جلد1 ص292)

The news of the sighting in Saudi Arabia reaching the status of ‘Istifaadha’ is questionable and further, due to the sighting in Saudia being against the principles of the Hanafi Maslak (Fiqh) and logic; it is unacceptable. According to Hanafi Fiqh when the skies are clear, a large group (Jamme Ghafeer) is a condition. (Ahsan ul Fataawaa Vol 4 P 426 by Hadhrat Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Luhdyanavi رحمه الله)

In conclusion, it can be understood from the time of the Salaf to the present day the same conditions have been upheld for the sighting of the crescent moon. However, the Saudi announcements disregard all of these requirements and adopt a way other than the way of the Shari’ah and Sunnah. ‘It is not acceptable for a Mufti Qadhi or Scholar to ignore the principles of the Shari’ah, in the guise of a hallucinated unity, to give rulings against their Fiqhi Maslak’. (Sharah Uqood Rasmul Mufti)

The laws and restrictions of obeying the order of a Judge (Qadhi) in an Islamic court:

It is proven from the Sahih Ahadith that the Prophet (ﷺ) sent Companions and representatives to different areas of the Islamic kingdom, to act as a judge and governor. For example: Muadh bin Jabal  was sent to Yemen. The responsibility of these governors was to give rulings within their own stipulated districts. They only held the authority to give rulings within their own governorship. This was also the case in the time of the Khulafa Rashideen, independent governors were sent to each district of the Islamic Kingdom. They had a responsibility to enforce the rulings of the Shari’ah for their subjects, in Syria, Egypt, Yemem, Iraq etc… ‘The Shari’ah has placed restrictions upon a judge appointed by the Ameer of an area or country. These restrictions apply both to regions (vicinity of a town or country) and in specific fields (Zakat, Talaq, Iddat etc). The Judge can only decide matters upon topics that he has been appointed to the position for. Further, his ruling will only be enforceable and binding in the area that he is appointed over. A Judge will not have the jurisdiction to enforce a ruling in an area that is not within their appointed dominion, nor will the ruling be established outside of the appointed region’. (Fathul Qadir, vol 7, p254 / Al Bahrur Raiq, vol 6, p259 / Fatawa Hindiya, vol 3, p315 / Adhahul Nawadir, vol 2, p124)

If there is no other way to encourage the masses to follow the Saudi moon sighting, the laymen are told that the order of the Chief Judge in Saudi Arabia has to be followed and it is Wajib to do so. This is incorrect, in accordance to the Islamic teachings and rulings. A layman should not be blackmailed emotionally in this manner by those who hold more knowledge and a better understanding of the Deen.

Z-Hijjah ١٣٩٩هجرى (1979) Sheykh Bin Baaz رحمه الله: The grand scholar Mufti of Saudi Arabia (after doing extensive research on this moon issue, he concludes with this statement). ‘As for those who say that it is necessary to follow the sighting of Makkah (Saudi Arabia) then let it be known that there is no proof or basis for this in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah’. (Al Ba’thul Islami p. 63)

May Allah  unite us in this time of Fitnah and grant us the correct understanding of the Deen. آمين Ameen!

والله وحده هو المسؤول والمستعان وهو الهادي إلى سبل الخير والسّلام .

مفتى محمد يوسف ڈنكا (عفاالله عنه)

{Mufti Muhammad Yusuf Danka, Croydon Masjid}