CLARIFICATION REGARDING RAMDHAAN 1439 HILAAL SIGHTING IN SRI LANKA

May 31, 2018

2018.05.31 / 1439.09.14

 

Among the various Hilaal sighting systems adopted internationally for determining the first moon, looking at it with the bare eyes is the closest system to the guidance of Quran and Hadith. It is this system most of the religious Scholars have proposed.

In the subject matter concerning commencement of Islamic month may change from country to country. It is not possible to see in the history of the past 1400 years that the whole Muslim community implemented the commencement of Islamic month by sighting from one location. But, the Sahabahs activities show that they were based on the moon-sighting at various locations. It is clarified in Saheehul Muslim as given below:

Muhammad bin Abi Harmalah (RA) narrated:

"Kuraib (RA) informed me that Umm Al-Fadl bin Al-Harith sent him to Mu'awiyah in Ash-Sham. He said: 'So I arrived in Ash-Sham and finished her errand, and I saw the crescent of Ramadhaan while I was in Ash-Sham. We saw the crescent on the night of Friday. Then I arrived in Al-Madinah at the end of the month. Ibn Abbas was questioning me, then he mentioned the crescent and he said: "When did you see the crescent?" I said: "We saw it on the night of Friday." He said: "Did you see it on the night of Friday?" I said: "The people saw it, so they fasted, and Mu'awiyah fasted." He said: "But we saw it on the night of Saturday, so we will not stop fasting until we complete thirty days or we see it." So I said: "Is not the sighting and fasting of Mu'awiyah enough for you?" He said: "This is not how the Messenger of Allah ordered us." – Saheeh Muslim 1087 |Thirmidhi 693 |Abu Dawud 2332 |Nasa’ee 2111|Musnad Ahmad 2789.

This narration has been recorded in the above mentioned Kithabs, under the Chapters on Hilaal sighting locally.

Imam Thirmidhi (Rah) (Hijri 210 – 279) upon recording the above Hadith, states the Islamic Scholars practiced Hilaal sighting based on this narration.

On the evening of 29th Sha’baan 1439 (16th of May 2018), the meeting for Ramdhaan Hilaal sighting was conducted under the leadership of Ash Shaikh Abdul Hameed (Bahji), President of the Hilaal Committee at the Colombo Grand Mosque, Representatives of Trustees of Colombo Grand Mosque, their Hilaal Committee and Mufti M.I.M. Rizwe, President of ACJU, Ash Shaikh A.L.M. Rila, Vice President of ACJU, Ash Shaikh M.S.M. Thassim, Asst. Secretary of ACJU, Ash-Sheikh M.L.M. Ilyas, Secretary of ACJU Fatwa Division ACJU, Members of ACJU Hilaal Committee, Director of MRCA and Trustees of Memon Hanafi Masjid participated in this meeting.

The Committee at the CGM contacted their respective regional Sub-Committees and the representatives of more than 35 areas including Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Ampara, Trinco, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Puttalam Districts and areas such as Kattankudy, Akurana, Kandy, Mawanella etc. Even though it was speculated as per astronomical calculations that the 'Moon Lag Time' was for one hour and the chances of Hilaal sighting was highly possible, no sightings was reported due to adverse rainy and cloudy weather conditions that prevailed in the country during the time of Maghrib, especially in the areas where the Hilaal sighting was highly anticipated.

Finally the Colombo Grand Mosque, ACJU and the Dept. for Muslim Religious & Cultural Affairs (MRCA) collectively decided to act upon the ruling derived from the below Hadith and the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama’s criteria on moon-sighting.

Narrated by Abu Hurayrah RadhiyAllahu Anhu,

The Prophet (ﷺ) said - "Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and give up fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete thirty days of Sha'baan." - Saheeh Bukhari Hadith No. 1909.

Hence it was decided that as the Hilaal of Ramadhaan 1439 was not sighted, therefore, Sha'baan 1439 will complete 30 days and the 1st of Ramadhaan 1439 shall be on 18th of May 2018.

ALL CEYLON JAMIYYATHUL ULAMA’S FIVE BASIC CRITERIA ON MOON SIGHTING

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama assigned a special team of professionals In order to carry out a deep research on Moon sighting within the purview of Sharee’ah. The concerned team submitted a comprehensive report to the Head Office of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, after several months of research on Sharee’ah issues with regard to Moon sighting. Following this report a special meeting was held at the Head Office of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama on 06.09.2006 to arrive at the final resolution on Moon sighting. Important Religious Scholars on behalf of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama and the Colombo Grand Mosque were present at the meeting, where the following five basic criteria on Moon sighting were resolved:

  1. All decisions on Islamic month shall be based on sighting of crescent locally.
  2. The first crescent shall be sighted with naked eyes from the earth.
  3. If some reliable Muslim astronomers confirm that on a particular day sighting the first crescent is not possible, based on the observation of astronomy that day shall be accepted as a day the first crescent shall not be visible.
  4. A committee consisting of professionally qualified religious Scholars shall serve in support of the Scholars of Hilaal Committee of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama.
  5. On the day when it was decided the sighting of crescent is impossible, if one or more claim to have seen they in obedience to the leadership, and inorder to go in pace with the Muslim community at that particular day they shall not fast or encourage others to fast or to celebrate the Festival or declare. Whoever claims to have sighted shall get the permission to act upon what they have claimed to have seen.

The monthly Hilaal sighting in Sri Lanka is conducted by the Colombo Grand Mosque (CGM), All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) & the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs (MRCA).

From the 2014, there are around 40 Hilaal Sub Committees across the island, which consists members representing the above institutes and various other members. These Sub-Committees were formed with the objective of minimizing the errors and to curb the disputes which can occur while Hilaal sighting in the respective areas.

There is common misconception that in order to express the ‘Unity’ of Muslims living around the world, the commencement of Ramadhaan and celebration of Eid should be marked on the same day globally.

The majority of the Ulama have clearly declared that the Unity of Muslims should be embedded in the hearts of all Muslims whereas the Religious observances should be according to the Quran and Sunnah, hence such ‘Unity’ expression is incorrect.

The Muslim community has a widely spoken opinion that ‘unity’ can be expressed, only by following one crescent system and commencing Ramadhaan Fast together and celebrating Eid Festival together. This is wrong conceptual. In fact it is baseless, while it is unwise and impossible one. The reason is that on the earth there will be always day and night prevailing.  At similar occasion even time difference part by part might appear. It will practically prevail even for 24 hours, maximum 2 days. These are scientific knowledge in general.

Therefore, in the name of making effort to unite this community through what is impossible is unsuitable.  All ‘Ibadahs have to be practiced through religious guidance. Unity should be embedded in hearts.  A Muslim should be of excellent conduct and honor the dignity and rights of others. He does not cause any harm to others but maintains strong bonds of kinship, reconciles differences among Muslims and is helpful to all. These are various ways by which Muslims could prove ‘unity’ among the community.

`Ikrima (Ral) narrated: Ibn `Abbas (Ral) said: "Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) delivered a sermon on the Day of Nahr, and said, 'O people! (Tell me) what is the day today?' The people replied, 'It is the forbidden (sacred) day.' He asked again, 'What town is this?' They replied, 'It is the forbidden (Sacred) town.' He asked, 'Which month is this?' They replied, 'It is the forbidden (Sacred) month.' He said, 'No doubt! Your blood, your properties, and your honor are sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours, in this (sacred) town (Mecca) of yours, in this month of yours. - Shaheeh Bukhari 1739.

Internationally Hilaal was sighted in the current year at different countries at different dates, Namely, Turkey announced its Ramadhaan on Wednesday, 16th May, Saudi Arabia and majority of Arab countries announced Thursday, 17th May, meanwhile Sri Lanka and Bangladesh announced on Friday, 18th May. In this regard Religious Scholars never criticized others. They all accepted the different decisions taken by Religious Scholars in different countries as correct. This is the collective decision of Religious Scholars.

Furthermore, due to cloudy sky and adverse weather condition Sha’ban has been completed by 30 days and only if 28 days are availed for Ramadhan, there is beautiful guidance in Shari’ah. This similar events have occurred many times in the history. Insha Allah ACJU’s Fatwa Division will release this guidance very soon.

Allah knows best.

 

 

Ash-Shaikh K.M Muqsith Ahamed

Secretary – Hilaal Division

All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama

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