Darul-uloom Dhabel endorses Moroccan Moon Sighting for Britain

Darul uloom Deoband

Ques­tion: You will be well aware of the con­tro­ver­sies regard­ing the sight­ing of the moon here in the UK. For a peri­od of time our respect­ed schol­ars and the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the esteemed insti­tute of Deoband fol­lowed the authen­tic sight­ings of Mor­roc­co con­sid­er­ing it as a near­by coun­try, which is in accor­dance with the Shari­ah and the Hanafi school of thought.

The only set­back was that occa­sion­al­ly the news of sight­ing the moon was delayed to an extent that on one occa­sion we fast­ed on not hear­ing any news about the moon being sight­ed, only to find out lat­er on that day that it was sight­ed, there­fore the fast was bro­ken and Eid cel­e­brat­ed.

The indi­vid­u­als who were respon­si­ble for the research of the moon sight­ing should have calmed down the sit­u­a­tion and rebuilt con­fi­dence in the gen­er­al com­mu­ni­ty, but instead, they went run­ning around to and fro, to Darul Iftaa’s around the globe to get a fat­wa issued so that fol­low­ing Saudi’s sight­ings would be made per­mis­si­ble. They pub­lished such fat­wa exten­sive­ly cre­at­ing an atmos­phere that fol­low­ing Saudi’s sight­ing was the only per­mis­si­ble way and that it was wrong to fol­low Moroc­co. When in real­i­ty the out­come of the­se fat­was was to grant some flex­i­bil­i­ty in times of dif­fi­cul­ty. Grant­i­ng flex­i­bil­i­ty under tem­po­rary cir­cum­stances and issu­ing ver­dicts for per­ma­nent sit­u­a­tions are sep­a­rate mat­ters alto­geth­er.

This all lead to a con­fu­sion result­ing with a group of peo­ple try­ing to insti­gates Saudi’s obser­va­tions and con­trary to this, some schol­ars eager to fol­low the right­eous path, who were nev­er sat­is­fied with the Saudi obser­va­tions. As time passed Saudi sight­ings were proved wrong on many occa­sions.

If the Saudi obser­va­tions had been cor­rect, there would not have been any con­tro­ver­sy at all. But time and time again Saudi has proved itself incor­rect. The evi­dence is that on many occa­sions Saudi announces the sigh­ing of moon, when not a sin­gle per­son sights the moon in any part of Asia or Africa where the hori­zon is most­ly clear as well. What’s more is that there is no sight­ing of the moon in any part of Amer­i­ca, Canada or West Indies where the sun sets eight hours after Saudi; and the cres­cent has grown much big­ger.

For instance, this Shawwal 1423H on Wednes­day evening Saudi made an announce­ment for Eid and a large num­ber of Mus­lims here in the U.K. cel­e­brat­ed Eid on the fol­low­ing day where­as Mus­lims were fast­ing Amer­i­ca, Canada, Pana­ma, and Bar­ba­dos and they cel­e­brat­ed Eid on Fri­day. This episode repeats itself near­ly every year.

The pur­pose of putting this in writ­ing is so that we pon­der over the prob­lems and dilem­mas that are aris­ing as a result of the­se pre­ma­ture Saudi announce­ments and to rec­ti­fy the sit­u­a­tion (if pos­si­ble).

The fol­low­ing prob­lems will arise when­ev­er Saudi will make a pre­ma­ture announce­ment:

  1. Keep­ing a fast of Ramad­han in Sha’ban, which con­tra­dicts the Hadeeth as well as mis­leads peo­ple into think­ing that it is a fast of Ramad­han when in real­i­ty it is not
  2. Chang­ing a day or two of Sha’ban into Ramad­han, which con­tra­dicts the verse of Qur’an in which the peo­ple of the days of igno­rance were pro­hib­it­ed from chang­ing the names of the months. They used to change the name of the mon­th accord­ing to their lik­ings.
  3. Cel­e­brat­ing Eid in Ramad­han
  4. Omit­ting a fast of Ramad­han, when all are equal­ly com­pul­so­ry
  5. Chang­ing Ramd­han into Shawwal, which is for­bid­den as above
  6. Many pious peo­ple start the six fasts of Shawwal straight after Eid and under such cir­cum­stances they would be fast­ing on the day of Eid which is in com­plete con­tra­dic­tion with the Hadeeth
  7. It is under­stood from many books of Fiqh that any form of Ibaadah is not accept­able before the due time, but is accept­ed if it is per­formed lat­er than sched­ule time due to any valid excuse and the respon­si­bil­i­ty of ful­fill­ing that ibaadah is dis­charged. For exam­ple pray­ing Zuhr Salaah 2 min­utes before Zawal will not be accept­ed under any cir­cum­stances at all. But if it was prayed late close to Asar time, it would be accept­ed and no sin com­mit­ted if there was a valid excuse. Sim­i­lar­ly, Qur­bani can be made on the eleven­th or twelfth if it is not made on the ten­th but under no cir­cum­stances can it be made on the ninth of Zil-Hij­jah. It is the same com­mand for fast­ing and Eid. If fast or Eid is cel­e­brat­ed before time it will not be accept­ed, but if for any rea­son there is a delay because the sight­ing of the moon can­not be clar­i­fied then this Ibaadah will be accept­ed and the respon­si­bil­i­ty dis­charged
  8. How is it pos­si­ble that when-ever Saudi makes a hasty announce­ment of the moon sight­ing, it is not vis­i­ble in Asia, Africa, or any oth­er west­ern coun­tries even though they have a clear hori­zon. How can it be pos­si­ble that the moon is sight­ed at sun­set time in Saudia and 8 hours lat­er it can­not be seen in Amer­i­ca, Canada or the West Indies? The prob­lem has occurred many times as well as this year. There­fore, this itself weak­ens the claims of the Saudi obser­va­tions
  9. It is stat­ed in a Hadeeth from which we can under­stand that we should stop and start fast­ing in accor­dance with the moon sight­ing com­plete 30 days of Sha’ban if moon sight­ing is not pos­si­ble due to dis­tort­ed vis­i­bil­i­ty If we look at real­i­ty, we have left the prac­tice upon this Hadeeth. What, don’t we have per­mis­sion to keep com­plete 30 days of Sha’ban or Ramad­han? Don’t we have the flex­i­bil­i­ty to wait instead of jump­ing to con­clu­sions and act­ing upon Saudi’s hasty sight­ing where there is a great pos­si­bil­i­ty of our Ibaadah not being accept­ed because it is done before due time? We should there­fore act only upon such ver­dicts that save us from ruin­ing our Ibaadah.
  10. From a Hanafi point of view, a sin­gle trust­wor­thy person’s sight­ing is accept­ed for fast­ing, but for the sight­ing of Eid, it is impor­tant for a large group of peo­ple to give evi­dence of the moon being sight­ed. A num­ber of peo­ple upon whom oth­ers have con­fi­dence and sat­is­fac­tion. Where­as accord­ing to them (the Saudi) one or two per­sons sight­ing is accept­ed for Eid.
  11. There has always been an atmos­phere of con­tro­ver­sy, con­fu­sion and argu­ment amongst the Schol­ars and the gen­er­al com­mu­ni­ty when­ev­er Saudi has made hasty announce­ments about the sight­ing and when­ev­er they com­plete 30 days there is peace and sat­is­fac­tion amongst the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty. Our elders have always had doubts and sus­pi­cions regard­ing the Saudi announce­ments. If their dates were accept­ed to be accu­rate then Pak­istan, India etc. would be under more oblig­a­tion to fol­low them because they are more closer to Saudi than U.K. Hakeemul Ummah Sheikh Thanwi (RA) has stat­ed and which is men­tioned in Fatawa Raheemiyah at the end of vol­ume sev­en, that if the obser­va­tion of Saudi is proved to be accu­rate then the Mus­lims of India should fol­low Saudi. This was said approx­i­mate­ly 60–70 years ago when in real­i­ty this has not been act­ed upon since, when there is only the Ara­bi­an Gulf sep­a­rat­ing the Indi­an sub-con­ti­nent from Saudi and there is not much time dif­fer­ence between them as well.
  12. If Saudi obser­va­tion is fol­lowed blind­ly, peo­ple will avoid con­sult­ing the learned schol­ars and the respon­si­ble author­i­ties. The sources of media are so advanced that peo­ple can learn the news of the moon sight­ing through tele­phone, T.V. and satel­lite and many a time they start to spread the news by mak­ing their announce­ments before sun­set. In future if this con­tin­ues, then peo­ple will not wait for the announce­ment to be made from their local Mosques and it will be impos­si­ble to act con­trary to the­se hasty announce­ments.

The­se are some major prob­lems that have been cre­at­ed by act­ing upon pre­ma­ture announce­ments of the moon sight­ing. What is hap­pen­ing in this coun­try is that schol­ars of all dif­fer­ent schools of thought are con­stant­ly try­ing to fig­ure out a solu­tion for this great cri­sis, but unfor­tu­nate­ly a great major­i­ty of our schol­ars fol­low­ing the Deobandi school of thought are sleep­ing with a con­tent mind decep­tive­ly assured that what was made per­mis­si­ble for cer­tain cir­cum­stances under tem­po­rary con­di­tions can be made prac­ti­cal in all sit­u­a­tions, even though we have under­stood hasty actions can ruin our Ibaadah where­as delay­ing does not.

Alhum­do­lil­lah, a num­ber of peo­ple who take inter­est in knowl­edge and research includ­ing our up and com­ing gen­er­a­tions of Mus­lims here in the U.K. who hold great knowl­edge and are flu­ent in Eng­lish, under­stand the weak­ness­es of Saudi obser­va­tions.

At the moment in time, what we need is for the local schol­ars to sit down and acknowl­edge the weak­ness of the­se pre­ma­ture announce­ments and the prob­lems that are aris­ing from them. The gen­er­al pub­lic still awaits for the cor­rect announce­ments to be made. It would prove to be a great step in the right direc­tion even if there is a sin­gle schol­ar in each local­i­ty who takes up the respon­si­bil­i­ty of explain­ing to the com­mu­ni­ty the real­i­ty of the­se hasty announce­ments.

The schol­ars of truth have always had a habit of not being afraid of speak­ing the truth regard­less of any oppo­si­tion. I have firm and full belief through my knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence that the gen­er­al com­mu­ni­ty pos­sess­es the capa­bil­i­ty to accept the­se changes because they are in view of the prob­lems and weak­ness­es cre­at­ed by the Saudi pre­ma­ture announce­ments. If it is done with great wis­dom, by point­ing out the errors and respec­tive cor­rec­tions, through lec­tures or pri­vate gath­er­ings, there will be no sign of any uproar or aggres­sion. May Allah grant us all the abil­i­ty to rec­ti­fy and cor­rect (Ameen)

I have stud­ied your queries very atten­tive­ly. It has been writ­ten from here in the past that announce­ments should be made for the sight­ing of the moon, based on infor­ma­tion of sight­ings from your close coun­try.

It is incor­rect to make announce­ments of Eid and Ramad­han by fol­low­ing Saudi for the sake of ease. Even if a fat­wa has been obtained for this pur­pose, it is again­st the prin­ci­ples of Shari­ah.

There is a far greater dis­tance between Britain and Saudi where­as Moroc­co is a lot closer to Britain. To aban­don a close country’s sight­ings and to accept Saud­is sight­ing, is in con­tra­dic­tion with the prin­ci­ples of Fiqh. There­after con­sid­er­ing the state of Saudi obser­va­tions and the dif­fi­cul­ties that are aris­ing from them, which you have writ­ten and atten­tion towards; no deci­sion should be ever made blind­ly in accor­dance with the Saudi obser­va­tions. You should enforce with full strength the prac­tice of fol­low­ing Moroc­co sight­ings. This is the clos­est to the truth.”

Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Habibur Rah­man
Mufti Darul-uloom Deoband
18th of Safar 1424 AH

The Answer is cor­rect!
Hazrat Maulana Kafeelur-Rah­man Nishat
Hazrat Maulana Mufti Zafeerud­din
Hazrat Mufti Muhammed Abdul­lah

Darul uloom Mazahirul Uloom

The answer is cor­rect and in accor­dance with the prin­ci­ples of Shari­ah. The coun­tries closer in dis­tance should be con­sid­ered where there isn’t a lot of dif­fer­ence between sun­rise and sun­set times.”

Mufti Muhammed Tahir Maza­hirri
Mufti Maza­hir­ul-uloom Saharun­pur
1st of Sha’aban 1424 AH

Darul uloom Mazahirul Uloom

I also ful­ly agree with the answer.

Mufti Ahmed Khan Puri
Madrasa Islamia Taleemud-Deen Dhabail”

Urdu Translation:

احقر بهی جواب بالا سے پورے طور پر متفق ہے۔