Shaykhul-Hadeeth Mufti Saeed Ahmed Palunpuri (DB) of Darul-uloom Deoband on British Moonsighting

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

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

Clarification: We have received an objection that this is the personal stance of Mufti Saheb (HA) and not the official stance of Darul-uloom Deoband. This assertion is incorrect, the official stance of Darul-uloom Deoband is the same and the Fatwa can be seen here.

This talk was given at Masjid-e-Umar on the 5th of June 2019 when Mufti Saheb (HA) prayed Eid Salah. He had rejected the Saudi Moon sighting claims and had decided to fast for one extra day and performed his Eid Salah at Walthamstow.

Summary and Synopsis:

The Islamic ruling on anecdotes:

The first graduate and the direct student of the founder of Darul-uloom Deoband Shaikhul Hind Mahmood Hasan (RA) was arrested and detained at Malta. He was released after serving his sentence and when he arrived back in India, thousands flocked to receive him. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, everyone came to receive him because he was a freedom fighter.

Then Shaikhul Hind Mahmood Hasan (RA) traveled to Darul-uloom Deoband because he was the most senior teacher there and he rested. After some rest, he told the people (around him) who were major Scholars who had come to see him in that gathering that he had pondered over the decline of the Muslim Ummah at depth in the prison and he has reached two conclusions.

He was one of the most Senior scholar and he had also pondered so everyone gathered attentively to listen to his analysis. After all, the Muslims were in decline and if they think that Muslims were in decline (back then), imagine our state now! But let’s leave this topic hanging and I will come back to it.

There was a pious person but his wife didn’t appreciate his stature. One day, he decided to fly over (his own house) so his wife can view the majestic occurrence. When he came home, his wife exclaimed in astonishment, “I saw this majestic Wali of Allah Ta’ala fly over the house, you call yourself Wali but this was a majestic sight!” He replied, “O fortunate one, it was me, your husband who was flying”

She retorted, “No wonder the flight was crooked!”.

This is an anecdote, it may be true or may not be true. You cannot derive issues of faith (Eemaan) from anecdotes but anecdotes can damage Eemaan. What is the big deal about flight? Does this anecdote stipulate or obligate that flying is necessary for piety? Bird can fly too…

Let’s now get back to our topic and by the way:

وَلَوۡ أَنَّ قُرۡءَانً۬ا سُيِّرَتۡ بِهِ ٱلۡجِبَالُ أَوۡ قُطِّعَتۡ بِهِ ٱلۡأَرۡضُ أَوۡ كُلِّمَ بِهِ ٱلۡمَوۡتَىٰ‌ۗ بَل لِّلَّهِ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ جَمِيعًا‌ۗ

[13:31] And if there was any qur’an by which the mountains would be removed or the earth would be broken apart or the dead would be made to speak, [it would be this Qur’an], but to Allah belongs the affair entirely…

Imagine if Allah Ta’ala had physically given the ability for the mountains to fly, you would have recited the Qur’aan, got on the mountain and it would have (flown) you to Delhi.

Arabs are the fuel for Islam:

Shaykh (Maulana) Muhammad Umar Palunpuri (RA) who was an elder of Tableeghi Jamaat used to say that the Arabs are the fuel for the vehicle of Islam. We (Indians) are pushing the vehicle along but when the Arabs wake up, the vehicle will self propel itself, gain speed and momentum.

You all need to understand that all Anti-Islam forces are concentrating on the Middle East and on keeping the Arabs away from Islam. They exert some pressure on Indians, Pakistanees and here the focus is on the system of Madaris. However, the real focus is to keep the Arabs away from Islam.

Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) was an Arab and Allah Ta’ala did not originate him (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) from the Arabs, randomly. The (Arabs) have some qualities and some characteristics which are valuable.

Islam will not gain ascendancy until the Arabs wake up.

Two reasons for decline:

The Muslim Ummah is in decline so Hazrat (RA) said that I have understood two reasons for it:

  1. Distance (of the Muslims) from the Qur’aan
  2. Disunity

Those who have knowledge of the Arabic language should try to ponder upon it directly while those who do not, should refer to translations and commentaries which are available in many languages.

It is unfortunate that we have engaged in recitation of the Qur’aan during this month (of Ramadhan) but now we will wrap it and place it in the cupboard until next Ramadhan.

And none of us refer to translations and commentaries to try to ponder upon the Qur’aan anyways! Because if we did, we will come across this verse which is sufficient to boost our morale:

وَلَا تَهِنُواْ وَلَا تَحۡزَنُواْ وَأَنتُمُ ٱلۡأَعۡلَوۡنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ

[3:139] So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.

We would know that we need to work on our faith to be victorious if we pondered over the Qur’aan. Ponder over it (the Qur’aan), act upon it and you will be successful.

Disunity of British Muslims (due to Moon sighting):

Disunity leads to lowering of the stature of Muslims. I have been coming to Britain for 40 years, the first time I came to Bolton. The issues with Moon sighting started 35 years ago so I know about this issue more than some of you because it happened right in front of my eyes.

Perpendicular of Moon sighting

40 years ago, the people of Haqq (i.e. the Deobandees) and forget the whole world, I want to concentrate on the disunity of the Deobandees. 40 years ago, British Muslims used to follow (local Moon sighting) or follow the perpendicular path and take Moon sighting from countries on the perpendicular. Do you know the perpendicular, it is the path of this country in a line, or maybe a little East or West of that path.

Moon cannot be seen in London?

You should attempt to sight the Moon here (in London) but they say that Moon cannot be seen in London? Who told you? What did you see last night?

This (Imam of the Mosque) told me that 100 people have testified to the sighting of the Moon and I was at someone’s home and they showed be picture on the mobile:

So who told you all that Moon cannot be seen in London? You don’t want to sight the Moon and that’s why you say that it cannot be seen. At least try to sight instead of just making assumptions. Sight the Moon yourself and do it locally fiRst and foremost.  Sometimes there are clouds and the Moon cannot be seen and it is true. Once in Bolton, we went to Winter hill to sight the Moon for Ramadhan. There were 10-15 of us and then we got into difference about the direction of sunset, some said its here and some said its there. So we could not have sighted the Moon if we did not know the direction of sunset. If there are clouds or you cannot sight the Moon then take the news from the perpendicular (of Britain) because this is what we used to do.

This is the command of the Qur’aan:

شَہۡرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ هُدً۬ى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡفُرۡقَانِ‌ۚ فَمَن شَہِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّہۡرَ فَلۡيَصُمۡهُ‌ۖ

[2:183]The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever witnesses the month, let him fast it…

  1. The Qur’aan is revealed in Ramadhan
  2. The fasts are in this month because Qur’aan was revealed in this month
  3. Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) has stipulated Taraweeh to be Sunnah (it is not the Qur’aan) and Taraweeh is there to recite the Qur’aan in it.

Some of our brothers bolt from the Masjid after 8 Rakaat like a thoroughbred bolts from a stable. Taraweeh is there for the recitation of the Qur’aan so they are depriving themselves from the recitation of the remaining 12 Rakaat.

Then it says that those among you who observe the month of Ramadhan, should fast. Observation is done with the eyes. The Hadeeth states:

صوموا لرؤيته، وأفطروا لرؤيته

Observe fast when you see it (the new moon) and break fast when you see it (the new moon of Shawwal).

And then it states that if the Moon is hidden from you then complete 30 days of (Ramadhan or Shawwal).

Solution to the Moon sighting dispute

Come towards the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. I have been witnessing this debacle for 35 years and this dispute is due to distancing from the qur’aan and the sunnah. It will not be resolved until you come to the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The solution is to sight the moon! Each and every locality should attempt moon sighting and it will not be left to larger cities and towns. News is not the requirement, moon sighting is the real requirement. When a large number of people start to sight the moon then the sighting of (east) is applicable to the west but bogus sighting claims are not applicable! we will not pay attention to sighting claims, the moon sighting has to be real and it has to be on your perpendicular (of moon sighting).

Hanbali vs Hanafi Madhab:

The scholars need to understand that the Saudees follow the Hanbali Madhab so we differ on the number of people who sight the Moon when the horizon is clear:

  1. We say (in our Madhab) that if the horizons are clear that a large group should sight the Moon. There is no set figure for the large group but it should be large enough that it becomes impossible for such large numbers of people to collude and unite on a lie.
  2. They say (in the Hanbali Madhab) that even if the horizons are clear, the testimony of two people is sufficient.

The horizon is usually clear in Saudi Arabia. It was cloudy and raining for this Shawwal (1440) in Makkah and Madina but Saudi Arabia is a large country but how come its the same set of 2 (or so) people who sight the Moon? It is their Madhab so we leave the matter for them but in our Madhab, a large group of sighters is necessary when the horizons are clear. this large group of sighting (almost) never occurs in saudi arabia so this sighting is doubtful (to us) as the hadeeth states:

دَعْ مَا يَرِيبُكَ إِلَى مَا لَا يَرِيبُكَ

Leave what makes you doubt for what does not make you doubt

Maulvees have created the problem!

People say that the Maulvees have created this problem (of Moon sighting). It may be true but the problem has occured due to deviation from the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The observation of the month in the quraan and sunnah is engaging in observation of the crescent and then obtaining news.

The Saudi menace:

I am the witness because I am in the Mosque in Bolton during Ramadhan.

The Saudi Fitnah started long before this. When I was a teacher at Randair (Gujarat) the (Saudees) arranged a conference on Taheedul-Ahila (unity of crescent) i.e. one Moon for the whole world, it was soundly and unanimously and soundly rejected by all major scholars of the world. After rejection, they started making announcements on the new Moon (locally), how can someone sight the (new) Moon, it is not possible. I am referring to this issue as “Fitnah”

British Moon sighting debacle of 35 years ago:

The Fax (from Morocco) used to come to a shop. The debacle happened 35 years ago. The Moon sighting committee sat for a decision and waited until midnight and no fax came so they made a decision to fast and went home. The shop opened at 10:00 and found the fax that the Moon had been sighted. I was a visitor and I don’t interfere in local matters so everyone fasted so did I. When they could not decide, they came to me. I said that you make decisions on Morocco and you went to sleep at 12 and you should not have and it is your error but now the fax has come so break the fast and perform Eid the next day. I stood after dhohar in Bolton and drank water to indicate that I was breaking my fast but 3 people did not and I do not wish to take their name. When these 3 people did not break the fast, people were astonished and they said, “You 3 asked us to follow Morocco and now you are not following Morocco!” so this started your British dispute of Moon sighting…people abandoned Morocco and went to Saudia because people who proposed morocco did not break their fast

Moon sighting from the East:

It is correct that the news from East is acceptable to the East but the news has to be correct and authentic.

Why I fasted at the beginning?

When Saudi Arabia announced the start of Ramadhan, I was in Britain. I fasted with the intention of an optional fast. We should not create dispute in the Mosque so I fasted. If we fast for an extra day (as an optional fast), what is the big deal? So I fasted…

Why I continued to fast (& celebrated Eidul-Fitr on Wednesday)?

But then the news emerged from Saudia about Shawwal 1440 and I was fasting. I could not let go of my obligatory fast. I fasted on the first day for the sake of unity with the intention of an optional fast but I could not skip an obligation on account of unity so I continued to fast. We cannot skip obligations for the sake of unity e.g. should we skip Dhohar prayers today so people can stay united? No, we cannot do so.

We had two bogus sighting at the beginning and at the end so there were two different ways of dealing with them.

7 Stages of setting the scene for Ramadhan

Allah Ta’ala sets the scene in the Qur’aan. Allah Ta’ala prepares the mind to accept (an obligation or prohibition). The prohibition of Alcohol was done in four stages and these stages are dispersed throughout the Qur’aan. However, the setting the scene and the stages for Ramdhan are in continuity and here they are:

 أَيَّامً۬ا مَّعۡدُودَٲتٍ۬‌ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ‌ۚ وَعَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ ۥ فِدۡيَةٌ۬ طَعَامُ مِسۡكِينٍ۬‌ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيۡرً۬ا فَهُوَ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّهُ ۥ‌ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُواْ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّڪُمۡ‌ۖ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ (١٨٤) شَہۡرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ هُدً۬ى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡفُرۡقَانِ‌ۚ فَمَن شَہِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّہۡرَ فَلۡيَصُمۡهُ‌ۖ وَمَن ڪَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ‌ۗ يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡيُسۡرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡعُسۡرَ وَلِتُڪۡمِلُواْ ٱلۡعِدَّةَ وَلِتُڪَبِّرُواْ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَٮٰكُمۡ وَلَعَلَّڪُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ (١٨٥) وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ‌ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعۡوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ‌ۖ فَلۡيَسۡتَجِيبُواْ لِى وَلۡيُؤۡمِنُواْ بِى لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡشُدُونَ (١٨٦)

[2:183-186] [Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew. The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful. And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.

  1. Fasting is for a few (limited days)
  2. If you are ill or on a journey make up the missed fast (later), If you have missed 5 days, fast for 5 missed days.
  3. If you “observe” the month of Ramadhan, then fast. Observing the month means observing the Moon.
  4. The Qur’aan was revealed in the month of Ramadhan so it has a special connection.
  5. Glorifying Allah Ta’ala means the extra Takbeers. The extra Takbeers in the Eid Salah have come from Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) due to this verse.  There are two narrations of extra Takbeers (and they are both weak), one is of six extra Takbeers (3 in each) and the other is of 12 (7 in the first and 5 in the second). The Hanafees adopted the first narrations of six extra Takbeers because if these are “extra” then the less extra in prayers, the better. The others adopted the second narration because they said that these “extra” Takbeers beautify the (Eid) prayers so the more adornment the better. It is a difference of opinion and it is what it is…
  6. Then we are asked to commanded to give gratitude to Allah Ta’ala. This Dua which we do after Eid Salah is a Dua of gratitude. It is connected to the next verse.
  7. Then connected is the last part which is the Sadaqatul-Fit’r and it is also in gratitude. When we perform obligations, inevitably we miss things so this charity is to make up for what we may have missed.

Supplicating vs choreographed supplications:

People do not like brevity, they like extended and elongated matters. If you make dua (supplicate) in a few words, people don’t like it. People like these long extended choreographed supplications which go on and on for 45 minutes. My beloved SHAYKH (MAULANA) MUHAMMAD ZAKARIYYA KANDHLAWI (RA) used to say that I know how to supplicate but I do not know how to choreograph supplications! He was the head of Tableeghi Jamaat, today Tableeghi Jamaat supplications go on and on and on. Tableeghi Jamaat has exaggerated the matter and crossed all limits in their choreographed supplications. 45 minutes…45 minutes…And people come from far and wide to be part of this “supplication”. It is not supplication, it is a speech because the one making the supplication is even moving his hands about! Are you supplication or are you delivering a speech? He makes (Sunnah) Duas in Arabic and then he switches to Urdu or English and then the gestures begin, what is this?