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
May Allah accept all our good deeds and supplications in this holy month of Ramadhaan and bless all to live in unity, coexistence and reconciliation.
Fatwa Committee is one of the fifteen sub-Committees under which the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama is doing a number of services to the Muslim community of this country. In this committee, there are (43) forty three committee members with Fiqh proficiency from many different Da’wa organizations. They review the needful guidance and issue religious decree to the people in need in writing, while responding through telephone inquiries and queries on personal visits.
According to the Constitution of the ACJU, Divisional and District branches of ACJU are not authorized to issue Written Fatwa. It is mentioned as follows in Chapter 9, of Division 14, Sub-division (l):
“Instigating every necessary task to help the Jamiyya (ACJU) achieve its general objectives except issuing Fatwa rulings.”
Moreover, ACJU’s Divisional and District branches can make reviews on needful matters to their area, submit their reports and recommendations to the ACJU head office. The Fatwa committee of ACJU Head office shall review this recommendation and arrive at the final decision. This will be published in writing.
The ACJU wishes to inform all Divisional and District branches of the ACJU that any Fatwa issued in writing by ACJU’s Divisional and District branches shall not be considered as Head Office Fatwa.
Therefore, we request you kindly to cooperate with the ACJU Head Office by avoiding the issue of any Fatwas in writing through ACJU’s Divisional and District branches, while making effort to issue Fatwas through the ACJU Fatwa committee.
Ash-Shaikh M.S.M Thasim
Asst. General Secretary
All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama
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:
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