Assalamu alaikum.Could you kindly answer the following question about Hadith of Abu Dawood(Allah’s mercy on him)Book 13 Number 2331.This reference is of English translation.In Arabic the number might be different.Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar(Allah be pleased with him)Husain ibn al_Harith-al-Jadli Qays said:The Governor of Mecca delivered a speech:The Apostle of Allah(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)took a pledge from us that we should perform the rites of Haj after sighting the moon.If we do not sight it and 2 reliable persons bear witness,we should perform the rites of Haj on the basis of their witness.I then asked al-Husain ibn al-Harith:Who was the governor of Mecca?………………….Then Hadith ends-He said “This is Abdullah ibn Umar and he spoke the truth.He was more acquainted with Allah than he.Then he said:For this is what the apostle of Allah(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)commanded us to do”My question is,Does not the word’ PLEDGE’ indicate the importance of sighting?Could you kindly explain?as pledges should not be broken.Is breaking pledge kufr?Was Salaam.
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 is His Slave and Messenger.
The narration which you mentioned in the question is also reported by Ad-Daaraqutni . It is an authentic narration, and is classified as such by Al-Albaani .
The narration is not only evidence on the importance of sighting the moon, but it is evidence that sighting is a condition for confirming the beginning of the month of Ramadan. Therefore, the Muslims should seek to sight the moon of Ramadan on the night of the 29th of Sha’baan each year. If they see the moon, they should fast otherwise they should complete Sha'baan thirty days. For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 90491.
As regards breaking one's pledge then this is an act of disobedience and not an act of disbelief unless one believes that this is permissible, as in this case he is denying what Allah Says, and what the Prophet said, and this is disbelief without any doubt.
For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 89470.
Allah Knows best