MOON SIGHTING — A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY
Written and Compiled by;
Assoutudeen Abu Mubaashir
The majority of scholars are of the view that sighting the new moon of Ramadaan on the first night and 29th of the same month is a communal obligation, and if all the people fail to do it then they are sinning. Some of the fuqaha’ were of the view that moon sighting is mustahabb (encouraged).
It is mustahabb (encouraged) to sight the new moon so as to be on the safe side with regard to fasting and so as to avoid disputes most especially as month of Ramadhaan knocks the door in some hours.
It is an act of disobedience and in fact, a major sin to the uncreated Creator for one to intentionally choose a date for fasting without making full consultations of the Qur’an and Sunnah as regards the method of sighting moon.
📚 It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to count the days in Sha’baan more carefully than at any other time, then he would fast when he sighted (the new moon) of Ramadaan. Narrated by al Daaraqutni with a saheeh isnaad.
Sighting the new moon is something that is decreed by the fact that some acts of worship are connected to specific times. It is prescribed for the Muslims to strive in seeking it and it is more important on the night before the thirtieth of Sha’baan, in order to find out whether Ramadaan has begun, and on the night before the thirtieth of Ramadaan in order to find out whether the month has ended and Shawwaal has begun, and on the night before the thirtieth of Dhu’l-Qa’dah to find out if Dhu’l-Hijjah has begun. These three months have to do with two of the pillars of Islam, namely fasting and Hajj, and the setting of the dates for ‘Eid al-Fitr and ‘Eid al-Adha.
📚 The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) encouraged seeking the sighting of the moon. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fast when you see it and break the fast when you see it, and if it is too cloudy then complete the number (of days) of Sha’baan as thirty.”
📚 And it was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The month is twenty-nine days, so do not fast until you see it (the crescent), and if it is cloudy then complete the month as thirty days.”
The first hadeeth enjoins fasting the month of Ramadaan when its new moon is sighted or when the month of Sha’baan is completed with thirty days, and it enjoins ending the fast when the new moon of Shawwaal is sighted, or when Ramadaan is completed with thirty days. The second hadeeth forbids fasting Ramadaan before the new moon is sighted or before Sha’baan has been completed if it as cloudy.
At this juncture, we humbly persuade our dear Muslim brethren and some religious leaders who are full of desires to kindly shun the do or die syndrome of fixing a date to start their Fast whether the moon is sighted or not. Submitting to the wills of Allah over our own whims and caprices no matter the condition should be the foremost objectives of a rightly guided and conscious muslim leader and followers.
We implore us to follow our recognised leader in each country as sultan is the only recognised leader in Nigeria. Any other authority claiming possession of power outside those leaders should not be listened to/given any regard whatsoever.
We pray to the uncreated Creator to accept all our Ibaadah in the course of this year’s (2020) Ramadhaan, grant us respite to witness more of it in good faith and health, count us amongst those who will witness the end of the month, make this year’s eidul fitri an easy one for us all, grant us safety from the recent pandemic (covid-19) and protect all Muslim Ummah in general from different calamitous calamities, assist us all in all our endeavors and grant us all Al-jannah. (Aameen)
In conclusion, sighting the new moon of Ramadaan, Shawwaal and Dhu’l-Hijjah is a communal obligation, because it is connected to two of the pillars of Islam: fasting and Hajj.
At APMF, We say Ramadhan Kareem in advance while we follow the government rules by staying safe.
And Allah knows best!
© Assoutudeen Prophetic Medicine Foundation (APMF)