Ramadan's crescent sighting by a reliable authority
Question: I live in Leeds, a British city, where we face an issue. The Shaykh of our Masjid (Mosque) says that we follow the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in fasting Ramadan and determining the first day of the ‘Eed. This year, however, he suddenly decided that he will not follow ECFR and we do not know which authority he will follow. He has stated that next Tuesday will be the first day of ‘Eed, though most of the Muslim and Arab countries consider next Wednesday the first day of ‘Eed. Should we observe fasting on Tuesday or not? It should be taken into consideration that we perform the Friday Prayer as well as other prayers in that Masjid. Please advise - thank you very much!
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.
Consequently, if there exists a reliable council or authority responsible for crescent sighting and it sees it, then all those who live in that country will be required to act accordingly in terms of observing and breaking fasting. This is proved when a trustworthy person testifies to seeing the crescent of Ramadan and when two trustworthy persons testify to seeing the crescent of the ‘Eed. If the crescent is not seen in your country, though it was seen in another country, you can act according to the opinion of the majority of scholars by observing and breaking fasting according to other Muslim countries. Also, you can act according to the other opinion which, from our point of view, is the preponderant opinion.
Allah Knows best.
The majority of scholars are of the view that the difference in moon sighting (between countries) should not be taken into account), which means that when the crescent of Ramadan is seen in a country, all Muslims worldwide are required to observe fasting accordingly. However, the Shaafi‘i as well as some of the Hanafi scholars are of the view that Muslims in each country or territory have their own sighting and are not obliged to fast according to the sighting of another country. The latter is the more preponderant view that we adopt here in Islamweb.