4 Excellent Reasons Why the Local Moonsighting Is Haram
We often come across the most famous argument in the month of Ramazan and that is the topic of moonsighting. Muslims are divided on the issue of whether to start the fast from country to country or to fast based on the international moonsighting which is done when the moon is sighted anywhere in the world. Most Muslims around the world have fallen in to the pit of ignorance and arrogance and have started to blindly follow the bidah of following the local moon sighting which has been falsely interpreted by innovators across the globe. Due to the lack of articles to genuinely refute this innovation on the internet. I am presenting all the refutations to prove how false this concept of fasting in the month of Ramadan by the localized moonsighting (Ihtihad-Al Matali). Below are the four excellent reasons why the local moonsighting is haram in Islam.
The local moon sighting argument is based on the hadith narrated by kuraib.
"Kuraib narrates: “I went to sham and finished the job. I was in sham when the month of ramazan began and we saw the moon the night of Friday. When I reached madina at the end of the blessed month, Ibn Abbas asked me about sham (after answering him) he then asked me when we saw the moon, I said: "we saw the moon the night of jumma. He said “did you see it as well." I said "yes, I saw it too and many others saw it and we all kept fast and so did muawiya (according to that moon sighting). Ibn Abbas said: "but we saw the moon on Saturday night, therefore we will keep 30 days fast according to that unless we sight the moon on the 29th. I said: "you don't think the moonsighting of muawiya and his fasting is enough for you? Ibn Abbas replied: no, this is how the blessed prophet (sal) thought us. (Sahih Muslim and others)
This hadith is taken out of context.
Ibn Abbas said to kuraib that he saw the moon on Saturday night. Then kuraib asked "are you not happy with the sighting of muawiya? Ibn Abbas says "no" this is how the prophet (sal) thought us"
So what did he teach us? He thought us that we should continue to start fasting till the 30 or sight the moon. This is what the prophet (sal) thought us. And this is what ibn Abbas (rali) explained to kuraib and that is what's there in the above hadith. Imam Shawkani gives the wording for this hadith in his book"nayl al awthar" that many people in various madhabs have tried to put their opinions in to the final wording of ibn Abbas (rali). And that is to mean that the hadith means the difference of the lands, difference of the sunset, region, where the sea divides etc. these arguments have no basis whatsoever in the Quran or the authentic hadiths.
This hadith is only talking about the start of ramazan and talks nothing about the end of it. As a mufti, ibn Abbas (rali) explained how we should observe and continue the fast. And his advice to kuraib is based on the hadith in which the (prophet (sal) said:
“Fast on its sighting, open on its sighting. And if it's hidden, complete it as 30"
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The famous argument that is presented by many foolish Muslims is that they try to say that ibn Abbas (rali) tried to mean that
"No kuraib, I don't accept your moon sighting. For you your moon and for me my moon."
Now my question is from where did these people add all this? Where in the words of ibn Abbas has such an opinion been uttered? There is no evidence to prove this assumption. even if ibn Abbas had told this, ibn Abbas(rali) must narrate a narration of the prophet(sal) doing, telling or implementing this. Even if we are to take muawiya (rali)'s fasting and try to say that the local moonsighting is correct, there is no evidence form the Quran and the sunnah to follow the Sunnah of muawiyah (rali).
The prophet (sal) accepted the the men who testified for sighting the moon. The evidence is as follows:
Abu umair bin Anas said on the authority of his paternal uncles who were prophet(sal)' companions' some men came riding to the prophet(sal) and testified that they sighted the hilal the previous day. He thereafter commanded to break the fast and to go to their place of the prayer in the morning (Abu Dawud-graded sahih by Albani)
This hadith proves clearly that the prophet (sal) accepted the moon sighting of some men who had come from a faraway land and he never argued against it. If the local moonsighting was correct, then the prophet (sal) would have not accepted the evidence of these men who came from a faraway land.
It is haram to fast when the other Muslim is celebrating. The below hadith clearly refutes the claim that the local moonsighting is correct.
Abu Ubaid (The slave of Ibn Azhar) Narrated:
"I witnessed the Eid with Umar bin Al-Khattab who said, Allah's Apostle has forbidden people to fast on the day on which you break fasting (the fasts of Ramadan) and the day on which you eat the meat of your sacrifices (the first day of Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul-Adha).(Sahih al Bukhari-no: 211)
This hadith clearly proves that the whole ummah should fast on the same day and when the festival is established, no Muslim should knowingly fast on that day. The Prophet forbade the fasting of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha (two feast days) and also the wearing of As-Samma' (a single garment covering the whole body), and sitting with one's leg drawn up while being wrapped in one garment. He also forbade the prayers after the Fajr (morning) and the 'Asr (afternoon) prayers. (Sahih al Bukhari-no: 212)
If the above hadiths forbid the Muslim ummah to fast on the two eid's then, how come some Muslims can fast in some countries while the others celebrate Eid? This clearly shows that the whole ummah should be fasting on the same day and celebrating on the same day and proving once and for all that the international moonsighting is what is correct.
There is another authentic hadith which proves that the international moonsighting is the only concept that is based on the Quran and the authentic Sunnah of the prophet (sal). The hadith is as follows:
Narrated by Abu hurayrah: the prophet (sal) said:
“Fast when they fast, end the fast when they end theirs, and sacrifice the day they sacrifice
(At Tirmidhi-Authenticated by sheikh Albani)
The above hadith also proves the importance in uniting with the whole ummah.
Some try to falsely argue by quoting sheikh ibn baz, Uthaymin’s fatwas supporting local moonsighting. These scholars as human beings made a mistake. And if the scholar’s opinion goes against the Quran and Sunnah, then his opinion should be discarded. Some sahaba started the fast on different days because there was a communication problem they had to face in conveying the news of the moon sighting. But now, Allah (swt) has given mankind with all the technology. So there is no excuse for not accepting the international moonsighting. There is only a 12 hour difference at the most. Even with so many difficulties in communication during the prophet’s time, the prophet (sal) accepted the moon sighting of some travellers as evidenced in the above narrated hadith of Abu umair bin Anas (rali).
Those who argue in favour of the false local moonsighting concept often quote the wrong fatwas of scholars. One wrong fatwa that was issued was by Sheikh Salih al Uthaymin who said the following when asked whether to fast on the moon sighted internationally:
“This is impossible from an astronomical point of view, because the sighting of the new moon, as Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, differs, according to the scientists who are well-versed in this field. Because it differs, then each country should have its own ruling, according to the reports and according to science. The evidence from reports is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month” (Al-Quran 2:185)
If it so happens that people in a remote region of the world do not see the new moon whereas the people of Makkah do see it, then how can the words of this verse apply to those who have not seen the new moon? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fast when you see it and stop fasting when you see it.” (Agreed upon). So if the people of Makkah, for example, see it, then how can we expect the people of Pakistan and countries further east to start fasting, when we know that that the new moon has not yet appeared in their region, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) connected the start of fasting to the sighting of the moon?”
The above fatwa of Sheikh Uthaymin is wrong and he has made a mistake as a human being. The use of astronomical calculations to determine the sighting of the moon is an innovation that is alien to the true teachings of Islam based on the Quran and the authentic Sunnah as understood by the sahaba. The below hadith proves that the fatwa of Sheikh Uthaymin and others are wrong.
Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal) said:
"We are an illiterate nation. We do not use astronomical writing or computation (for our fasting). A month is so and so (and he pointed with his hands three times, folding the thumb on the third time, meaning twenty-nine days) or so and so (and he pointed with his hands three times, meaning thirty days)"
(Bukhari and Muslim)
This hadith clearly forbids the use of astronomical calculations when determining the month. And this hadith proves very clearly that such use is shirk. I would like to ask those who quote the wrong fatwas of scholars, which sunnah are you going to follow, the sunnah of the prophet (sal) or Ibn Uthaymin? Determining the sighting of the moon using astronomical calculations is going against the sunnah and relying on the astronomers instead of the sunnah is bidah and shirk. Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani (rali) narrated:
The Prophet (sal) led us in the Fajr prayer at Hudaybiyah after a rainy night. On completion of the prayer, he faced the people and said, "Do you know what your Lord has said (revealed)?" The people replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "Allah has said, 'In this morning some of my slaves remained as true believers and some became non-believers; whoever said that the rain was due to the Blessings and the Mercy of Allah had belief in Me and he disbelieves in the stars, and whoever said that it rained because of a particular star had no belief in Me but believes in that star."
In the above hadith the prophet (sal) forbade the belief that stars were reason for the rain because this would reject the message of the prophet (sal) and will amount to shirk. Although astronomy is halal in Islam and using astronomical instruments is ok to determine see the moon, moonsighting should be only determined with the naked eye and assuming that the moon will be or will not be sighted using astronomical calculations is haram because the prophet (sal) clearly said,
“We do not use astronomical writing or computation”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Islam is an extremely easy religion and going to extreme is forbidden. Using astronomy to learn about the creations of Allah (swt) like the stars, planets, galaxies etc. is ok. But, to use that knowledge to determine the day of the crescent is not only wrong but is clear falsehood. No matter how much of modern technology you use to determine the month of Ramazan, or any other month you can't say for sure that the moon can be sighted. No wonder the weather department predictions are mostly wrong because it is Allah (swt) who knows everything. And no one can encompass his knowledge. Astronomical and scientific predictions are based only on assumptions and no one can give an absolutely clear prediction that the moon will or will not be visible tomorrow. Allah (swt) says:
“Verily, Allaah, with Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All‑Knower, All‑Aware (of things)”
The prophet (sal) also said:
“Do not begin fasting until you sight the moon, and do not break your fast (for ‘Eid) until you have sighted it.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
If the usage of assumption was allowed, then the prophet (sal) would have not told us to sight the moon.
The above four reasons prove beyond doubt that the local moonsighting has no basis in Islam and the international moonsighting is what is true. Following the local moonsighting is following an innovation and if done purposely, will take away all the good deeds of a Muslim.