Sighting of the moon.
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers has asked this question:
Dear Mr. Burhanbhai,
There has been lot of controversies on the above and all over the world the majority of Sunni Muslims and some Shiites still believe and follow the above procedure with the only exception of the Dawoodi Bohras.
To enlighten more and to give the true picture, can you pls advise us which is the correct way to determine the lst of Ramazan and the lst of Shawaal (Idd), and is it compulsory to sight the moon? We always have arguments with our fellow Sunni Muslim brothers and they say that it is in the Holy Quraan that the Islamic month is to be determined by sighting of the moon and one has to fast by seeing the moon and celebrate Idd ul Fitr accordingly and not the modern geographic calendars. We are really confused and shall be obliged if you give us a correct and true answer of the same and the Islamic calendar set by the Dawoodi Bohras is correct.
Urgently and anxiously awaiting your reply by return.
Thanking you in advance.
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our brother for circulation in confidentiality.)
Sighting of the moon.
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
The correct method of following the commandment of fasting or any other Islamic rite of worship is to follow the guidance of the Holy Quran and the tradition of our beloved Prophet (saws). Any person or group or sect that creates or changes the tradition of the Messenger of Allah will be inventing an innovation in Islam, and this innovation should be rejected as stated by the Messenger of Allah.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 10 Surah Yunus verse 5: It is He (Allah) Who gave the sun his brightness and the moon her light, and ordained the moon's phases precisely so that you may calculate years and dates from this.
In an authentic narration, the Prophet (saws) mentioned Ramadan, and said, "Do not fast unless you see the crescent of Ramadan and do not give up fasting till you see the crescent of Shawwal, but if the sky is overcast, then act on estimation and count Sha'baan as 30 days.
In another authentic narration the Prophet (saws) said, The month can be 29 days, so do not fast till you see the moon, and if the sky is overcast, then complete Sha'baan as thirty days.
In light of the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (saws), the muslims at the time of the Prophet (saws) always determined the number of days of every Islamic month, including Ramadan through the sighting of the moon. That Sunnah of the Prophet (saws) is still followed today by the majority of muslims who follow the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (saws), and even today the Islamic dates are determined by the sighting of the moon by the believers worldwide.
The Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam claim to see the so-called haqiqi moon to determine the days of Ramadan and every other Islamic month according to their published calendar. They must be able to see their haqiqi moon months in advance, as their Islamic calendar is published at the beginning of every Islamic year! Brother, I really do not have any knowledge of this so-called haqiqi moon! It would be best to ask this question to one of the Bohra scholars to get a reply regarding this innovation in the method of the Prophet (saws).
What we do know from the Prophets (saws) authentic traditions is that He (saws) certainly determined the days of Ramadan and every other Islamic month through the sighting of the actual moon. Thus the people who follow the Prophet (saws), even today, and until the end of time, Insha Allah, will start their reckoning of the months by the same method as used by the Prophet of Allah (saws).
The haqiqi moon must have appeared after the Prophets (saws) death, because He (saws) never saw or mentioned anything regarding the haqiqi moon! Even the Bohra scholars will agree that the Prophet (saws), during his life, always started the Islamic months by sighting the actual moon.
Any changes in the way or tradition of the Prophet (saws) is known as a bida or innovation.
It has been reported by Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (r.a.) that the Prophet (saws) said: If anyone introduces an innovation (in religion), he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all the people.
It has been reported by Jabir ibn Abdullah (r.a.) in another authentic narration that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon: The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al Quran; and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohamed (saws). The most evil affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is an error.
Thus, whoever wants to follow the tradition and way of the Prophet (saws), must do as He (saws) did, and start their reckoning of the Islamic months, by sighting the moon. Those who do not want to follow the tradition of the Prophet (saws), are the ones who determine their months through the haqiqi moon! The choice is entirely upto you whether you want to follow the Prophet (saws) or you want to follow somebody who changed His (saws) ways and introduced an innovation!
This leads us to another more serious and important question that should naturally arise from this: How many other traditions and ways of the Prophet (saws) have these people changed?
Allah Alone knows Best, and He is the Only Source of Strength.
May Allah guide you and us all to the Siraat al-Mustaqeem
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,