Why can’t we follow the Moonsighting of anywhere on the globe in UK?

(Qari) Muhammad Shoyaib Nurgat

Ques­tion: Why can’t we fol­low Moon­sight­ing of any­where on the globe in UK? Wherever the Moon is seen and we get the news, we sim­ply take it and move on with it. Please give me a sim­ple answer as to why this is not pos­si­ble?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gra­cious, the Most Mer­ci­ful.

As-salā­mu ‘alaykum wa-rah­mat­ul­lāhi wa-barakā­tuh

I would like to begin by extend­ing our grat­i­tude to you for ask­ing this ques­tion. May Allah Ta’ala give you the best of rewards (Ameen).

I will try to keep the answer as sim­ple as pos­si­ble as per your wish­es. But, I would like to add that there are close to 3 Mil­lion Mus­lims in Unit­ed King­dom and we have to think of a solu­tion for the coun­try.

In order to take your pro­pos­al for­wards, we can either take the Moon­sight­ing from coun­tries to the west or coun­tries to the east of us. Please take east or west in the gen­er­al terms and not in terms of exact and speci­fic direc­tions.

Countries to the West:

Let’s con­sid­er the case of coun­tries to our west, imag­ine that the Moon­sight­ing infor­ma­tion will come from San­ti­ago (Chile), Miami (Amer­i­ca) or Los Ange­les (Amer­i­ca). I live in Lon­don so here are the time dif­fer­ence:

San­ti­ago Miami Los Ange­les
-4 -5 Hours -8 Hours

Let’s sup­pose that it will take 45 min­utes to an hour for the­se coun­tries to actu­al­ly sight the Moon and reach a deci­sion and for the infor­ma­tion to be made pub­lic.

How do you pro­pose we noti­fy 3 Mil­lion Mus­lims in Unit­ed King­dom 5 or 6 hours after our sun­set regard­ing the start­ing of Ramad­han or end­ing of Ramad­han? This is the same prac­ti­cal prob­lem with mak­ing Makkah the cen­tre of the world (in terms of Moon­sight­ing), all coun­tries with a sig­nif­i­cant time dif­fer­ence will face this issue.

Countries to the East:

Due to time dif­fer­ences being in our favour, it is pos­si­ble for us to Moon­sight­ing infor­ma­tion from the East. But if we enforce this as a blan­ket solu­tion, the Islam­ic tra­di­tion of Moon­sight­ing ceas­es to exist in this coun­try! Many nar­ra­tions of Prophet Muham­mad (Peace be upon Him) such as the­se sim­ply cease to be prac­tised in our coun­try:

Sayyid­i­na Abu Hurairah (RA) nar­rates that the Prophet Muham­mad (Peace be upon Him) said: Observe fast on sight­ing it (the new moon) and break (fast) on sight­ing it (the new moon), but if the sky is cloudy for you, then com­plete the num­ber (of thir­ty).” [Mus­lim]

Sayyid­i­na Ubaidul­lah (RA) report­ed: At the sight of the new moon (of the lunar mon­th), the Prophet Muham­mad (Peace be upon Him) used to sup­pli­cate: “Allahum­ma ahillahu ‘alaina bil-amni wal-iman, was-sala­mati wal-Islam, Rab­bi wa Rab­buk-Allah, Hilalu rushd­in wa khair­in (O Allah, let this moon appear on us with secu­ri­ty and Iman; with safe­ty and Islam. (O moon!) Your Rubb and mine is Allah. May this moon be bring­ing guid­ance and good).” [At- Tir­mid­hi].

We (as Schol­ars) are unable to for­mu­late rul­ings which may lead to an ero­sion of the prac­tise of Sun­nah, no mat­ter how con­ve­nient the rul­ing may seem. In the case of accept­ing Moon­sight­ing from any­where in the world, it is nei­ther con­ve­nient nor log­i­cal.

I request that you lis­ten to the fol­low­ing short talk by my stu­dent (Maulana) Abdul Basit Gear­ay since I believe that our approach is both sim­ple, log­i­cal and prac­ti­cal.

 May Allah Ta’ala give all the abil­i­ty to under­stand, obey and prop­a­gate the com­mands of Allah Ta’ala  and noble Sunan of His Prophet Muham­mad (Peace be upon Him) (Ameen).

جزاك اللهُ خيرًا