Moon Sighting Committee

Can you please tell me about the monthly Moon Sighting system of Wifaqul Ulama, the Ulama who supervise the decisions and the Ulama who endorse this system?

DRAFT TRANSLATION: NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE

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

As-salā­mu ‘alaykum wa-rah­mat­ul­lāhi wa-barakā­tuh

The detailed process quot­ed below was delib­er­at­ed among the Schol­ars at Depart­ment of Darul-Iftaa (Wifaqul Ula­ma) and the con­clu­sion reached after dis­cus­sion was as fol­lows:

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم
هو الموفق
حامدا ومصليا ومسلما
الجواب ومنه الصواب

In con­clu­sion, the Moon Sight­ing deci­sions are based on sound Shari­ah prin­ci­ples under the guid­ance of trust­wor­thy Schol­ars. These deci­sions are made after delib­er­a­tions and announced every month and the sys­tem has been robust and effec­tive for over 10 years. We feel that the pub­li­ca­tion of Bat­ley Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee (BMSC) pub­lished under the guid­ance of Mufti Yusuf Sacha (DB) answers many of these ques­tions and a sum­marised trans­la­tion is pre­sent­ed.

  1. (Mufti) Amjad Mohammed (HA)
  2. (Mufti) Bilal Issak (HA)
  3. (Mufti) Faisal al-Mah­mu­di (Cana­da)  (HA)
  4. (Qad­hi) Imran Sayed Falahi (HA)
  5. (Mufti) Mohammed Ash­faq (HA)
  6. (Qari) Muham­mad Shoy­aib Nur­gat (HA)
  7. (Mufti) Zakaria Aku­di  (HA)
  8. (Mufti) Zubair Dud­ha (HA)

Dis­claimer: Wifaqul Ula­ma pro­vides answers as gen­er­al guide­lines based on known rel­e­vant mat­ters at the time, and are not intend­ed for use for any oth­er pur­pos­es (legal or oth­er­wise) with­out our spe­cif­ic writ­ten con­sent.


(Potential) Members of Monthly Moon Sighting Committee:

The stip­u­lat­ed set num­ber of mem­bers (as per the rules) must be present in the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee (month­ly). Schol­ars who are not local can join the meet­ing via Tele­phone or Video link. Schol­ars who are part of the (month­ly) meet­ing and make the deci­sion must be iden­ti­fied by name and their atten­dance made pub­lic. Bat­ley Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee (BMSC) will be respon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing details of all atten­dees on a month­ly basis.

  1. Shaykhul-Hadeeth (Maulana) Moham­mad Ayub Bande Ilahi (DB), Leices­ter
  2. (Maulana) Yaqoob Qas­mi (DB) , Bat­ley
  3. Allamah (Dr) Khalid Mah­mood (DB), Man­ches­ter
  4. (Maulana) Sameerud­din Qasmi(DB), Man­ches­ter
  5. (Maulana) Muham­mad Hasan Bod­han­vi (DB), Wal­sall
  6. (Mufti) Ismail Kacholvi (DB), Bat­ley
  7. (Mufti) Yusuf Sacha (DB), Bat­ley
  8. (Maulana) Nausar­ka (DB), Bat­ley
  9. (Maulana) Yusuf Mama (DB), Bat­ley
  10. (Maulana) Hashim Rawat (DB), Bat­ley
  11. (Maulana) Sulaiman Bodiy­at (DB), Bat­ley
  12. (Qari) Haneef (DB), Bat­ley
  13. (Maulana) Shab­bir See­dat (DB), Bat­ley
  14. (Maulana) Marghoob Ahmed (DB), Bat­ley
  15. (Maulana) Haseeb (DB), Bat­ley
  16. (Maulana) Hashim Sacha (DB), Bat­ley
  17. (Mufti) Amin Pan­dor (DB), Bat­ley
  18. (Maulana) Abdul-Hai See­dat (DB), Bat­ley
  19. (Mufti) Yusuf Aku­di (DB), Bat­ley
  20. (Maulana) Musa Gora (DB), Bat­ley
  21. (Maulana) Habeel (DB), Bat­ley
  22. (Maulana) Wasif Sacha (DB), Bat­ley
  23. (Maulana) Irfan Soni (DB), Bat­ley
  24. (Maulana) Mush­taq Bal­akad­hi (DB), Bat­ley
  25. (Maulana) Imran Lunat (DB), Bat­ley
  26. (Maulana) Bilal May­at (DB), Bat­ley
  27. (Maulana) Sulaiman Mak­da (DB), Bat­ley
  28. (Hafiz) Yusuf Gar­di (DB), Bat­ley
  29. (Maulana) Yusuf Baig (DB), Bat­ley
  30. (Maulana) Afzal Wali Mul­la (DB), Bat­ley
  31. (Maulana) Tariq Mah­mood (DB), Bat­ley
  32. (Qari) Muham­mad Shoy­aib Nur­gat (DB), Lon­don
  33. Shaykh Suli­man Gani (DB), Lon­don
  34. (Maulana) Sohail Bawa, Lon­don
  35. (Maulana) Farid Patel, Lon­don
  36. (Mufti) Muham­mad Yusuf Dan­ka, Croy­don
  37. (Maulana) Mohamed Huza­y­fah Shaikh, Croy­don
  38. (Mufti) Zakaria Aku­di, Bat­ley
  39. (Mufti) Muham­mad Ash­faq Sur­ti, Brad­ford
  40. (Mufti) Javid Pathan, Pre­ston
  41. (Mufti) Zubair Dud­ha, Dews­bury
  42. (Mufti) Tahir Patel, Birm­ing­ham
  43. (Maulana) Hashim Sacha, Bat­ley
  44. (Maulana) Iftikhar Hus­sain, Birm­ing­ham
  45. (Qad­hi) Imran Sayed Falahi (DB), Leices­ter

Method of Moon Sighting Announcements:

  1. Wifaqul Ula­ma (web­site)
  2. Twit­ter
  3. Face­book
  4. Insta­gram
  5. Bat­ley Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee (BMSC) have their own local pro­ce­dures for Month­ly announce­ments
  6. Text Mes­sages and What­sApp: This method relies on oth­er Mus­lims for­ward­ing mes­sages to each oth­er.

 


عمدة التحقيق في احكام الأهلة لأهل باتلي و بريطانيا

This is a sum­marised trans­la­tion of the book­let.  The evi­dence of the prin­ci­ples (described below), dis­cus­sions and opin­ions of Ula­ma have been delib­er­ate­ly left out to present a sim­ple set of rules for Mus­lims in Britain to under­stand. We encour­age those inter­est­ed in in-depth dis­cus­sion to read the book­let in full.

9th of Jumadut-Thani 1429

Sat­ur­day, 14th of June 2008

Proof of (Moon Sighting):

Three dis­tinct terms name­ly “News”, “Tes­ti­mo­ny” and “Announce­ment” are used in con­nec­tion to Moon Sight­ing. It is imper­a­tive that these are under­stood in their Islam­ic (Shari­ah) con­text to avoid con­fu­sion. It is our opin­ion that major­i­ty of the mis­un­der­stand­ing lies in lack of com­pre­hen­sion of these terms. Moon Sight­ing can be proven from any of these five (5) meth­ods:

  1. (Actu­al) Moon Sight­ing
  2. Tes­ti­mo­ny of Moon Sight­ing and it can be split into 3 cas­es:
    1. (Direct) Tes­ti­mo­ny of (Actu­al) Moon Sight­ing
    2. Tes­ti­mo­ny upon some­one else’s (direct) Tes­ti­mo­ny of (Actu­al) Moon Sight­ing
    3. Tes­ti­mo­ny upon some­one else’s Qad­ha (legal­ly accept­ed judge­ment of Ula­ma that tes­ti­mo­ny of (Actu­al) Moon Sight­ing has been accept­ed)
  3. Cor­re­spon­dence between Qad­hi (Judge) to anoth­er Qad­hi
  4. Isti­fad­ha
  5. Radio, Tele­vi­sion, Tele­phone, Let­ters, Fax­es or oth­er accept­ed means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion

Procedure of establishing Islamic Month:

Bat­ley Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee (BMSC) under the guid­ance of Mufti Yusuf Sacha (DB)have encap­su­lat­ed these as eight (8) prin­ci­ples and these are as fol­lows:

  1. Where the 1st of the Islam­ic Month is estab­lished in Sau­di Ara­bia, Moroc­co and (South) Africa on the same day it should be adopt­ed for Unit­ed King­dom, unless it con­tra­dicts (Islam­ic) prin­ci­ples or intel­lect  (to be adopt­ed here)
  2. Train, pro­vi­sion and estab­lish (com­mit­tees of peo­ple) who estab­lish (actu­al) Moon Sight­ing. They should be well versed in ide­al sight­ing loca­tion as they change through­out the year
  3. If 29th is firm­ly estab­lished in British (as per prin­ci­ple 1, above) then announce­ment should be made
  4. If the Moon is not sight­ed on the 29th (of the Islam­ic Month) then the tes­ti­mo­ny can be obtained from oth­er coun­tries pro­vid­ed:
    1. They have the Islam­ic date as Britain
    2. Act­ing on the infor­ma­tion must not make an Islam­ic Month have 28 or 31 days in Britain
    3. The Moon Sight­ing sys­tem should match or close­ly agree with prin­ci­ples of Moon Sight­ing in the Hanafi Mad­hab
    4. Mem­bers of the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee should have trust in the infor­ma­tion (being received)
  5. There should be a bilat­er­al agree­ment with the coun­tries from which the infor­ma­tion is being received (in prin­ci­ple 4, above). Fur­ther­more, these coun­tries should have their own reli­able and robust (local) Moon Sight­ing sys­tem and not rely on sight­ing from oth­ers
  6. The sta­tus of “news” received on the phone is the same as the let­ter. It should be con­clu­sive­ly estab­lished that the per­son on the phone is the same as being claimed. The per­son receiv­ing the phone call must know the per­son on the oth­er (end) and the infor­ma­tion must be ver­i­fied with oth­ers. This infor­ma­tion should reach the sta­tus of reli­a­bil­i­ty through ver­i­fi­ca­tion by oth­er means and then the announce­ment should be made.
  7. Peo­ple must not rely on infor­ma­tion (received) from oth­er coun­tries and make deci­sions. They should con­tact (local) Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee, pro­vide all the (nec­es­sary) infor­ma­tion and then reply upon the deci­sion of the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee
  8. Tes­ti­mo­ny of (those who sight­ed the Moon) can be reject­ed if it con­tra­dicts oth­er exter­nal fac­tors (e.g. the one pro­vid­ing the tes­ti­mo­ny may be hon­est but with  weak eye­sight). Tes­ti­mo­ny of a Faasiq (sin­ner) can be accept­ed if it agrees with oth­er exter­nal fac­tors.

The tim­ings to make a deci­sion depend upon the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee. Where infor­ma­tion is not received from over­seas, announce­ments will be made after com­plet­ing 30 days for Eid. This is because cau­tion is nec­es­sary for the com­ple­tion of acts of wor­ship (i.e. fast­ing in Ramad­han) ver­sus months of non-fast­ing. Over­seas infor­ma­tion will be delib­er­at­ed, con­sult­ed and relied upon after sun­set in Britain (even dur­ing longer sum­mer days).

Procedure for Ramadhan Announcement when Horizons are clear:

  1. When the hori­zons are clear, a large group (Jamm-e-Ghafeer) must tes­ti­fy to the sight­ing of the Moon so the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee can reach a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion.
  2. When the hori­zons are clear and there is no local sight­ing but a reli­able and trust­wor­thy Mus­lim man or woman reports sight­ing from an ele­vat­ed van­tage point (when the hori­zons are unit­ed), an announce­ment can be made if the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee can reach a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion.
  3. When the hori­zon is clear and there is no local sight­ing but a large body of Mus­lims come and tes­ti­fy from anoth­er loca­tion, an announce­ment can be made if the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee can reach a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion.

Procedure for Ramadhan Announcement when Horizons are not clear:

  1. Tes­ti­mo­ny of a sin­gle Baa­ligh (adult) Mus­lim man or woman regard­ing sight­ing will be accept­ed
  2. Tes­ti­monies of a two reli­able and trust­wor­thy Mus­lim men or women that so and so appeared in front of Mus­lim (Qad­hi) in anoth­er loca­tion and Mus­lim (Qad­hi) made a deci­sion based on the tes­ti­mo­ny, in our pres­ence
  3. Tes­ti­mo­ny of a sin­gle reli­able and trust­wor­thy Mus­lim that so and so sight­ed the Moon but he is unable to appear in front of the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee, he has tes­ti­fied in front of me and I am wit­ness
  4. Infor­ma­tion about the deci­sion of Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee is relayed by mobile or tele­phone in such a way that the voice is rec­og­nized and the infor­ma­tion s ver­i­fied through oth­er means
  5. Infor­ma­tion from the Inter­net, Radio or TV about a coun­try with which we have a bilat­er­al agree­ment will be only be accept­ed when ver­i­fied by estab­lished means.
  6. Reli­able and ver­i­fied infor­ma­tion from those who sight­ed the Moon is com­mu­ni­cat­ed through var­i­ous Radio sta­tions (etc) when those who are sight­ed are iden­ti­fied or a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Mus­lim (Qad­hi) or Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee makes the announce­ment, an announce­ment can be made if the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee can reach a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion
  7. So many let­ters, fax­es or phone calls come from a region that an over­whelm­ing con­clu­sion is reached that Moon was sight­ed.
  8. Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee sends a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to anoth­er region and he comes back and tes­ti­fies that Moon was sight­ed.
  9. Mus­lim (Qad­hi), Mufti or rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee sends a let­ter to the head or mem­ber of Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee (exclu­sive­ly) and the authen­tic­i­ty of the let­ter is estab­lished.
  10. Mus­lim (Qad­hi), Mufti or rep­re­sen­ta­tive of anoth­er Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee decides about the start of the Month at anoth­er loca­tion. A sec­ond Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee which has a bilat­er­al agree­ment with (the first) informs us (via phone or let­ter or any oth­er reli­able and trust­wor­thy means) and it is rea­son­ably estab­lished that the news is accu­rate and cor­rect.

Procedure for Shawwal/Dhul-Hijjah Announcements when Horizons are clear:

  1. When the hori­zons are clear, a large group (Jamm-e-Ghafeer) must tes­ti­fy to the sight­ing of the Moon so the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee can reach a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion.
  2. When the hori­zons are clear and there is no local sight­ing but a report from anoth­er loca­tion is tak­en and the num­ber (of those who have sight­ed) is large enough such that refu­ta­tion is improb­a­ble, an announce­ment can be made if the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee can reach a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion.

Procedure for Shawwal/Dhul-Hijjah Announcements when Horizons are not clear:

  1. A report from anoth­er loca­tion is tak­en and the num­ber (of those who have sight­ed) is large enough such that refu­ta­tion is improb­a­ble, an announce­ment can be made if the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee can reach a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion.
  2. Tes­ti­monies of a two reli­able and trust­wor­thy Mus­lim men or a sin­gle reli­able man and two reli­able women using the word “Sha­hadah (tes­ti­mo­ny)” in front of Mus­lim (Qad­hi).
  3. Tes­ti­monies of a two reli­able and trust­wor­thy Mus­lim men or a sin­gle reli­able man and two reli­able women (from anoth­er loca­tion) that Mus­lim (Qad­hi) in anoth­er loca­tion made a deci­sion after accept­ing tes­ti­monies
  4. Tes­ti­monies of a two reli­able and trust­wor­thy Mus­lim men or a sin­gle reli­able man and two reli­able women present their tes­ti­mo­ny to two reli­able and trust­wor­thy Mus­lim men or a sin­gle reli­able man and the first appoint the sec­ond as their rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the sec­ond group presents the tes­ti­monies, pro­vid­ed that these tes­ti­monies are done sep­a­rate­ly and not col­lec­tive­ly (in front of each oth­er)
  5. Mus­lim (Qad­hi), Mufti or rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee sends a let­ter to the head or mem­ber of Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee (exclu­sive­ly) and the authen­tic­i­ty of the let­ter is estab­lished by two reli­able Mus­lims. The mes­sen­gers who bring the let­ter can also be estab­lish the authen­tic­i­ty of the let­ter
  6. A sin­gle reli­able Mus­lim tes­ti­fies (for him­self) and two reli­able Mus­lims tes­ti­fy on behalf of anoth­er Mus­lim
  7. Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee sends a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to anoth­er region and he comes back and tes­ti­fies that Moon was sight­ed.
  8. Tele­phon­ic news has the same sta­tus as let­ter i.e. authen­tic­i­ty needs to be estab­lished either via video link or web­cam or any oth­er method such as that it is estab­lished that voice is not being forged etc and the per­son is reli­able and reli­gious. In addi­tion, oth­er means of con­fir­ma­tion for exam­ple con­firm­ing direct­ly with those who have sight­ed (the moon) or have heard about the sight­ing (direct­ly) if the num­ber of those who know about the sight­ing reach­es a large num­ber (such that authen­tic­i­ty of news is estab­lished), this news can be relied upon
  9. Reli­able and ver­i­fied infor­ma­tion from those who sight­ed the Moon is com­mu­ni­cat­ed through var­i­ous Radio sta­tions (etc) when those who are sight­ed are iden­ti­fied or a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Mus­lim (Qad­hi) or Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee makes the announce­ment, an announce­ment can be made if the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee can reach a sat­is­fac­to­ry con­clu­sion
  10. So many let­ters, fax­es or phone calls come from a region that an over­whelm­ing con­clu­sion is reached that Moon was sight­ed
  11. Mus­lim (Qad­hi), Mufti or rep­re­sen­ta­tive of anoth­er Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee decides about the start of the Month at anoth­er loca­tion. A sec­ond Moon Sight­ing Com­mit­tee which has a bilat­er­al agree­ment with (the first) informs us (via phone or let­ter or any oth­er reli­able and trust­wor­thy means) and it is rea­son­ably estab­lished that the news is accu­rate and cor­rect and the one inform­ing one is recog­nised

Procedure for Announcements for all other Months:

  1. Tes­ti­monies of a two reli­able and trust­wor­thy Mus­lim men or a sin­gle reli­able man and two reli­able women is suf­fi­cient whether the hori­zons are clear or not

Principles and Responsibilities of Members of Moon Sighting Committee

  1. Com­mit­tee must con­sist of a min­i­mum of 11 peo­ple
  2. Com­mit­tee must con­sist of a peo­ple of Knowl­edge. If this is not pos­si­ble at least 3 mem­bers should be peo­ple of knowl­edge and the rest must be wise and have suf­fi­cient ground­ing in basic Mas’ail (issues) of Deen
  3. Announce­ments must be made using specif words and ratio­nale for the deci­sion must be in the expla­na­tion
  4. All local­i­ties must have local Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tees
  5. The func­tion of local Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee should be to accept local Moon Sight­ing tes­ti­monies
  6. Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing should be for­mal. The meet­ing should be presided by a (for­mal) chair­per­son and in his absence a chair­per­son should be appoint­ed. He should be the Ameer and will make the final deci­sion, and the announce­ment should be from him
  7. Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing should at least have 7 mem­bers present when make deci­sions for Ramad­han, Shaww­al and Dhul-Hij­jah
  8. It is rec­om­mend­ed that Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing should at least have 5 mem­bers present when make deci­sions for all oth­er months
  9. Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee mem­bers who are Non-Schol­ars shall have the right to give an opin­ion but final deci­sion will be made by Schol­ars
  10. If the num­bers of the Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee mem­bers decline then the the local Schol­ars will be giv­en the right to select suit­able mem­bers
  11. If the local Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee ceas­es to func­tion the respon­si­bil­i­ties should be passed to local Schol­ars
  12. If the local Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee rules need to be amend­ed it can be done with con­sul­ta­tion pro­vid­ed the prin­ci­ples (above) are not con­tra­dict­ed or vio­lat­ed
  13. Moon Sight­ing com­mit­tee will be allowed to receive news from abroad (when required) pro­vid­ed the prin­ci­ples (above) are not con­tra­dict­ed or vio­lat­ed