Assalamu alaikum warahmathullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise is due to Allah. Salath and Salam be upon the final Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu alaihi wasallam, all his Progenies and Companions.
When the commencement of the Month of Ramadhan is declared in a certain locality, the people therein are required to start their fast. Likewise, when the end of the Month of Ramadhan is declared, the people of the locality are required to celebrate Eid festival the next day. The above guidelines have been provided by the past and the present Ulama alike, based on the likes of the Ahadith below:
"The fast is the day the people fast, the breaking of the fast is the day the people break their fast, and the sacrifice is the day the people sacrifice."
(Books: Sunan Al-Thirmidhi 697, Sunan-Ibni Majah -1660, Al-Sunan Al Khubra 8010, Sunan-Abi Dawood – 2324, Sunan Al-Daraqutni – 2177)
Abdullah Ibnu Umar Raliyallah Anhu narrates that a Lunar month generally consists of either twenty-nine days or thirty days.
“The Prophet (ﷺ) (holding out his ten fingers thrice), said, "The month is thus and thus and thus," namely thirty days. Then (holding out his ten fingers twice and then nine fingers), he said, "It may be thus and thus and thus," namely twenty nine days. He meant once thirty days and once twenty nine days.”
(Books: Saheehul Bukhary – 5302, Saheehu Muslim – 1080)
That means: a month shall be either thirty days or twenty-nine days.
Based on the above evidences, there is an Ijma' (consensus) amongst the Religious Scholars that a month cannot be less than twenty-nine days; and, if the moon cannot be sighted on the eve of the twenty-ninth day, the month shall complete thirty days.
“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and stop fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete thirty days of Sha'ban."”
(Books: Saheehul Bukhary – 1907, Saheeh Muslim – 1081)
Based on the above, one should start fasting when the locals of the area have commenced their fasting; and should celebrate Eid festival when the locals have declared that it is the day of Eid.
Moreover, if a person commences his fasts in one part of the world, and thereafter travels to another part and remains there till the festival, he shall follow the locals of the latter location in completing his fasts and celebrating Eid, regardless of whether he commenced his fasts on the same day as the locals or not. Therefore, If such a person had already completed thirty fasts, and the locals declared the next as fasting (as they had completed only 29), he will fast his 31st fast and celebrate Eid with the locals on the following day. On the contrary, if he had completed only 28 fasts, and the locals declared the next day as Eid (as they had completed 29), he shall celebrate Eid with the locals and shall make up for the one fast as a Qadha; as a lunar month cannot be less than 29 days, according to the clarification provided.
Similarly, if the month of Ramadhan was commenced by sighting the crescent or completing the month of Sha’ban with thirty days, and the crescent of Shawwal was sighted following the correct protocols, after having completed only 28 days of Ramadhan, the festival shall be celebrated on the twenty-ninth day and one day’s fast shall be made up for on another day as Qadha.
An event like this has occurred during the period of Khilafat of Ali Raliyallahu anhu. He commanded the people to make up for a day’s fast as Qadha. This has been recorded in Books such as Sunan Al- Baihaqi, Musannaf Abdir Razzack.
Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, in Hijri 1404, the people of the country completed Sha’ban with thirty days, as the skies were cloudy, and thereafter started Ramadhan. After the completion of 28 days, the moon was sighted. Hence, a decision was made by the Standing Committee for Research and Fatwa of KSA that the next day be declared Eid and to make up for a day’s fast as Qadha on another day.
Therefore, like any other Lunar month, Ramadhan could consist of either twenty-nine or thirty days. Similarly, if Shawwal moon-sighting is confirmed on the twenty-eighth day’s evening, it is compulsory to make up for a day’s fasting on any other day after the festival.
All clarifications on the above are recorded in the Books of Islamic Jurisprudence. Notably in, “Minhaajuth Thalibeen” of Shafie school of thought and its commentary books, “Mawahibul Jaleel” of Malik school of thought, “Raddul Muhthaar” of Hanafi School of Thought and contemporary Hanafi Fatwa Books called “Ahsanul Fathawa” & “Fathawa Raheemiyya”. Further, Jordan’s Official Fatwa Center and the recent scholars such as Ash-Sheikh Ibnu Baaz and Ash-Sheikh Ibnu Usaimeen and others have expressed similar opinions on this.
Allah knows best.
1. Ash-Sheikh M.L.M. Ilyas, Secretary, Fatwa Committee, ACJU
2. Ash-Sheikh I.L.M. Hashim Soori, Supervisor, Fatwa Division, ACJU
3. Ash-Sheikh M.M.A. Mubarak (Ghaffoori), General Secretary, ACJU
4. Ash-Sheikh M.I.M. Rizwe (Mufti), President, ACJU