(1) The Islamic months, being lunar months, commence with the sighting (rooyat) of the crescent moon (hilal). The principle is the sighting of the hilaI, not the birth of the moon.
(2) It is Wajib (obligatory) for the people to search for the hilal at the end of the 29th day of Sha’ban, i.e. at sunset.
(3) if the hilal is not sighted nor is reliable news of the sighting of another place received, the month of Sha’ban should then be completed with 30 days. This is the clear, straight forward and simple instruction of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). If this instruction is adhered to, all controversy usually associated with moon-sightings nowadays, will be eliminated. Regarding the hilal and associated controversies, the MujIisul Ulama has published a book: ‘THE SIGHTING OF THE HILAL’. Write for a copy to Y.M.M.A., P.O. Box 18594, Actonville 1506, South Africa.
There are many masa-il (rules) related to the sighting of the hilal and its confirmation. However, since these rules are necessary for only those in positions of Islamic leadership (the Mufti, Imam, etc.), these will be omitted from this book.
(4) In the present time people indulge in needless controversy regarding Ramadhan and Eid. In some countries such as England, where the hilal cannot be sighted at the end of the 29th day due to perpetual overcast conditions, the desire is almost always to ignore the simple and clear instruction of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) viz. if the hilal is not sighted, the month should be completed with 30 days. The attitude adopted by people of such places conveys the impression that it is wrong to follow the example of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), hence attempts are made to obtain news of moon sightings from nearby or even distant countries. In the process of receiving and accepting news and information of this kind, irregularities are committed. Many a time, the news is not regarded reliable in Shar’i terms.
The, inhabitants of such countries will render themselves a favour should they opt for following Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)’s advice in matters of sightings of the hilaI. It does not matter at all if every Islamic month is a thirty day month on account of the hilal not being sighted at the end of the 29th, day.
There is no need for the institution of elaborate, expensive and time-consuming measures for the purposes of confirming the sighting of the hilal. Simple Islamic practices of the Sunnah are inexpensive and do not give rise to controversy. The Sunnah method is simply to regard the month as a 30 day month if the hilal is not sighted at the end of the 29th day.
(5) Another act of deviation in regard to moon-sighting is the introduction of the baseless principle of ‘Eid in conjunction with Makkah’. Some deviated people have of recent come up with this idea. However, in the Shariah there is no such principle as ‘Eid in conjunction with Makkah’. If the sighting is not confirmed according to Shar’i rules, the month will not commence regardless of the month having been started in Makkah Muazzamah. The Shariah does not require all regions of the world to follow Makkah Muazzamah in regard to moon-sighting.