Sighting the moon to determine the start of other than the month of Ramadan

  • Author: Fatwa No. 94378
  • Publish date:12/08/2009
  • Sections:FATWA FOR ALL
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Question:

Assalaamoualaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakaatuh, many of the Ulama have agreed that one witness is sufficient to start fasting the month of ramadan and 2 witnesses are required to end it. However i have never encountered such a hadeeth. I would like to know what is the ruling fot the other month of the iSlamic calender. I would be very grateful if you could provide me with the proofs. Jazaakallah Brother Shafiq
 
Fatwa:
 
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.  
 
The proof that the sighting of the month of Ramadan is confirmed by one trustworthy witness is narrated by Ibn 'Abbaas , may Allah be pleased with him, who said: "A Bedouin came to the Prophet ,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and said: ''I sighted the crescent.'' The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ''Do you bear witness that None has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger? The Bedouin replied: ''Yes.'' Thereupon the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ''O Bilaal, proclaim to the people to fast tomorrow." [Abu Daawood, An-Nasaa'i and At-Tirmithi].
Furthermore, Ibn 'Umar , may Allah be pleased with him, said: "The people sought to see the crescent, and I informed the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )
that I saw it, so he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) fasted that day and ordered people to fast it." [Abu Daawood and Ad-Daarimi]
 
As regards the evidence that two trustworthy witnesses are required to confirm the beginning of the month of Shawwaal (the month following Ramadan), then the ruler of Makkah (Haarith Ibn Haatib) , may Allah be pleased with him, said: ''The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) entrusted us to rely on the sighting of the crescent and if we fail to see it and two trustworthy witnesses bear witness that they had seen it, then we relied on their testimony.'' [Abu Daawood]
 
An-Nawawi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "The crescent of the beginning of the month of Shawwaal and other months apart from Ramadan are confirmed by the sighting of two free trustworthy witnesses is based on the narration of Haatith Ibn Haatib , may Allah be pleased with him, …and it is also proven by analogy to other testimonies which are not (directly or indirectly) related to money and which are (commonly) peculiar to men [like the sighting of the moon], even though the sighting of the crescent for these months is not done for the purpose of worship (i.e. no act of worship is directly related to its beginning) contrarily to the month of Ramadan. This is the view of our School [Shaafi'i], and all the scholars are of the same view except Abu Thawr."
 
Allah Knows best.
 
Fatwa answered by:The Fatwa Center at Islamweb

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