Neighbouring Countries and their Moonsighting

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

Muslim communities of the neighbouring countries, i.e. Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, etc. have always relied on South Africa for moonsighting purposes (if moonsighting was not reported within their own countries) and consider South Africa’s moonsighting as sufficient and valid for their calendar purposes. Ulama in South Africa had adopted a policy to accept moonsighting in South Africa only (and not that of neighbouring countries) for various reasons. Amongs them:

1.      If the moon was not sighted in the eastern parts of the country, then it would in most cases be sighted in the Cape (due to its far west geographic location), depleting on the need to rely on moonsighting outside South Africa.

September 28, 2010

Procedure of taking testimony

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

Principally, the responsibility of taking testimony on moonsighting and making announcement on the commencement of the respetive months accordingly lies with the Qadhi or Hakim. In non-Muslim countries or countries with Muslim minorities, the Muslims may adopt any one of the following to facilitate this function:

1.      Appoint an Ameer or leader;

2.      Setup Hilaal committees

3.      Each locality appoint any Aalim as an authority.

(Umdah al-Riaayaha vol.1 pg.309)

After the testimonies are taken and an announcement is made accordingly, then the decision reached by any of the above 3 groups is binding upon its area of jurisdiction.

September 27, 2010

Ikhtilaaf al-Mataali’e

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

Matala refers to the place of rising of the moon. The moon is born in different parts of the world and accordingly will rise and set at different times depending on the various geographic locations. Thus, the moon will rise and will be visible at a particular place and might not be visible at another place at the same time due to the latter having different moonrise and set times.

Based on the above, two questions arise: Is this concept of ikhtilaaf-e-Mataali’e recognised in the Shari;ah, and will it be considered for calendar purposes?

September 26, 2010

The Saudi Sighting

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

The Saudi calendar as regulated by the Majlusl Qadhaa a’Alaa was based on a 32 year pre-set calendar set in accordance with the Greenwich New Moon Astronomical Timetable from 1409 AH to 1440 AH. This resulted in the month commencing approximately 1.5 days prior to the visibility of the moon or some 8 – 9 hours before its own new moon time.

September 25, 2010

Can We rely on astronomical data or not?

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

There are 3 opinions on this issue:

1. Those that place complete reliance on astronomical data, negating any role of actual sighting. According to this group, the new month will begin as forecasted by astronomical data irrespective of whether actual sighting took place or not. This view goes contrary to Ahaadith of Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] and is therefore unacceptable.

September 24, 2010

Astronomical Data and its relevance in the Shari’ah

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

Certainly, Allah after creating the sun, the earth and the moon has not left them to wonder at random, rather they move within an organised, fixed pattern without any scope or margin for error or variance as a basis for the calculation of time and the calendar.

Appreciating this fact (movement of the moon, earth and the sun are the basis of calculting time and passing thereof), the question that arises is that to what extent has atronomy secured this information; how reliable is it and what components  thereof can be proven conclusively without a reasonable doubt.

September 23, 2010

The Moon and its Phases

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

A phase of the moon is any of the aspects or appearances presented by the moon as seen from earth, determined by the portion of the moon that is visibly illuminated by the sun. The lunar phases vary cylically as the moon orbits the earth and the earth moon system orbits the sun, according to the relative positions of the earth, the moon and the sun. Since the moon appears bright only due to the sun’s reflected light, only half of the moon facing the sun is illuminated.

September 22, 2010

Prerequisites for Accepting the Sighting of the Crescent Signalling the Commencement of Shawwal

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

a) If the skies are not clear or are obscured due to dust, smoke, mist, etc. then the testimony of 2 males or 1 male and 2 females is required.

b) If the skies are clear or unobscured, then as in the case of the month of Ramadhaan, the testimony of a large group that necessitates Dhann-e-Ghaalib is required.

Furthermore, in the remainder ten months of the year, i.e. other than Ramadhaan and Shawwal, the prerequisites for accepting sighting of the crescent are the same as in the month of Shawwal.

September 21, 2010

Prerequisites for Accepting Sighting of the Crescent Signalling the Commencement of Ramadhaan

Fiqh, Moon Sighting

a)      If the skies are not clear or are obscured due to dust, smoke, mist, etc. then the declaration of one upright Muslim, whether man or woman is sufficient.

b)  If the skies are clear and no obscurity exists due to dust, mist, etc. then the testimony of even a few individuals will not be sufficient. The Khabar (information) of such a large group of people that would necessitate certainty or overwhelming assurance is required. This is required as the prevailing sky condition warrants that a large group of people sight the moon and that the sighting would not normally be limited to a few individuals.

September 20, 2010


Fiqh, Moon Sighting

Islam being a religion that is natural, embraces simplicity and is a perfect way of life for all people of all times irrespective of their age, class, creed, nationality or background has made those aspects upon which is dependant the spiritual life of every believer easily understandable, securable and natural, whether one may be rich or poor, lettered or unlettered.

September 19, 2010