Here is a case where Muslims have 2 Fatwa for establishing the beginning and
end of Ramadan. If we have Caliph for the Islamic Ummah, many of our Fiqh,
political, fighting problem will be solved InShaa Allah. May Allah have mercy
Can we say that this is a case of multiple correct answers? I just pray to
Allah SWT that no Muslim, somewhere, accuses me of not being a Muslim (Wa
Aliyaz Bi Allah) for asking this question. Believe me I am Muslim, Al Hamd le
Possibility of Multiple Correct Answers
Evidence for this is an incident in which the Prophet (SAW) witnessed the
companions disputing, but did not rebuke them for doing so. The incident
relates to the dispute regarding the Asr prayer on their way to Bani Qurayzah.
The Prophet instructed the companions to go and fight the Jews. He said, "Do
not pray until you get to Bani Qurayzah". On route to Bani Qurayzah the time
for Asr was drawing to a close. A dispute ensued. One group understood the
prophet's command metaphorically, thinking that the Prophet (SAW) meant hurry
up. A party of the believers prayed there whilst the others prayed after Asr
time when they arrived at Bani Qurayzah.
When they next met the Prophet (SAW) they asked him who was right and who was
wrong. It is important to note the response. Only one of them could have been
right, but the Prophet (SAW) did not point out who that was, rather he said,
"Whoever performs ijtihad and errs will receive one reward. Whoever performs
ijtihad and arrives at the correct answer gets double the reward."
Had it been haram to differ, the Prophet (SAW) would have rebuked those
differing from the correct opinion and praised those who were right. This
example teaches us to tolerate opposing Islamic opinions which are arrived at
by those qualified to do so after performing ijtihad.
The scholars in the past recognized this; "The most
learned amongst the people is also one who is most knowledgeable of the
difference amongst the people" (Ghazali, Shawkani, Abu Zahrah)
Before performing Ijtihad it is a prerequisite for a scholar to be aware of all
the differences on the issue at hand.
My Own preference, and I am not Faqih or Saudi
I believe that both methods are correct. The great benefit to agree on one
method is for the Unity of Ummah.
So the whole Muslim Ummah can follow astronomical calculations OR we follow
Saudi Arabia, since we all follow
them on Hajj.
Should they follow the European Council even though they use astronomical
We run an Islamic center in the city in Britain, and we want to establish the
dates of the beginning and end of Ramadaan for the people who pray in our
center. Our goal is to try to unite the Muslims on this matter, but some of them
think that we should sight the moon whilst others think that we may use
calculations. The European Fatwa Council has its own view on this matter, please
note that it is the body which takes care of issuing fatwas to the Muslims in
Europe. Our question is: Should we follow the European Fatwa Council even though
they use calculations to determine the beginning and end of Ramadaan, or should
we continue our efforts to unite the mosques in Our city even though that goes
against the view of the Council?.
Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible to use astronomical calculations to establish the
beginning and end of Ramadaan. It is obligatory to sight the moon as the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fast when you see it (the
moon) and break your fast when you see it.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1909; Muslim, 1081. See also question no. 1602.
The Muslims are agreed that it is not permissible to follow astronomical
calculations instead of sighting the new moon if the sky is clear. However if
the sky is cloudy then some of the scholars held an odd view and said that it is
permissible to follow astronomical calculations, but this applies only to the
person doing the calculations.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
It is a basic fact of Islam that we must sight the crescent moon with regard to
fasting, Hajj, ′iddah, eelaa′ (period of four months abstention which is
required if a man swears an oath that he will not have marital relations with
his wife) and other rulings that are connected to the lunar calendar. There are
many texts from the Prophet which indicate that, and the Muslims are unanimously
agreed on that. No difference of opinion was known concerning that in the past
or in modern times, apart from some fuqaha′ after the third century AH, who
claimed that if the new moon is covered by clouds it is permissible for an
astronomer to follow calculations himself, so that if his calculations indicate
that the moon could have been sighted he may fast, otherwise he should not.
This view, even though it is subject to the condition that there be clouds and
it applies only to the astronomer, it is an odd view that is outweighed by the
consensus on the opposite view. With regard to following calculations when the
sky is clear or applying the results of the calculations to the general public,
this is something that no Muslim has ever suggested.
Majmoo′ al-Fataawa, 25/132.
Based on this, it is not permissible to follow the Council mentioned if they
depend on astronomical calculations and not on sighting of the crescent.
So you have to sight the moon as is the command of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) and as is the consensus of the Muslims.
May Allaah help you to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.
And Allaah knows best.
The Fiqh Council of North America
Islamic Lunar Calendar
While it can be argued that "seeing the hilaal" is a method used to
determine the beginning of the Islamic lunar months, The Fiqh
Council of North America concludes that it is not the only method to
do so. Hence, after careful research, deliberations and discussion
The Fiqh Council of North America has adopted a new position
regarding the determination of the beginning of the Islamic lunar
months. This position is based primarily on the following Fiqhi
Sighting the Hilal (ru′yah) is not an act of ′ibadah in itself; it
is rather a means to know with certainty about the beginning of the
new month related to Islamic ′Ibadat.
Ru′yah as a means was indicated and used by the Prophet �peace be
upon him- because he himself said that the Ummah at that time was
not literate and did not know how to write or to calculate
(complicated astronomical data).
Some classical jurists were willing to accept the calculations.
Some classical jurists refused to allow calculations in this matter
because in their time astronomy and astrology were not quite
distinct sciences. Jurists were suspicious that astronomical
predictions may not be based on exact science but on whims,
conjectures, magic etc.
During the last century an increasing number of Muslim jurists
indicated that calculations could be used to negate erroneous
reports of crescent sighting. Some jurists were of the opinion that
calculations could also be used as a positive method to determine
the new Islamic lunar months.
There are now many Muslim astronomers who have been working for many
years to develop a global lunar Islamic calendar. Fiqh Council
particularly appreciates the efforts of its consultants Dr. Imad
ad-Dean Ahmad, Dr. Khalid Shaukat, Dr. Muhib Durrani and Dr. Ahmad
Dr. Salah Soltan and Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah also presented scholarly
papers to give thorough evidence from Fiqh Perspective that the use
of calculations is not against the Sunnah of the Prophet �peace be
The Fiqh Council of North America considered the following factors
in making its decision:
Use of calculations in determining the Islamic date is not against
Sure astronomical methods are now available to determine Islamic
dates of Ramadan and the two Eids.
Shari′ah is based on ease and considers the convenience of people.
Announcement of Islamic dates ahead of time will reduce a lot of
hardship, chaos and confusion that happen every year at the time of
the beginning of Ramadan and the two Eids.
Announcement of Islamic dates will help Muslims to plan their
activities, to take day off from their work, students can take day
off from their schools and many other benefits will result from
Announcement of these dates will also remove unnecessary financial
burdens from the Muslim community in North America.
Muslim of America will become more united in their celebrations.
Muslims of America can also work to have their Islamic holidays
The Muslim community of North America will lead a way towards the
development of a unified global Islamic calendar for the whole
Fiqh Council will continue working with the Imams and scholars of
the communities to develop a consensus in this matter. It is,
however, hoped that whether some of us agree or disagree with this
position, we shall all recognize the validity of ikhtilaf in this
issue and that the Ummah should be united in brotherhood despite any
legitimate fiqhi differences.
Discussion of a number of research papers led to the conclusion that the use
of calculation both in negation as well as affirmation of the beginning of
the new Islamic Lunar months has a firm basis in the Qur′an and Sunnah as
well as in the opinion of some classical and contemporary jurists.
The new moon (i.e. time of conjunction) is when the Moon passes between the
Earth and the Sun closest to the Sun-Earth line. This time of conjunction is
precisely predictable by astronomical calculation.
The conjunction before 12:00 GMT would give enough time to the new moon to
be visible somewhere on the globe before the end of the night in North