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