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?