Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Mufti Ebrahim Desai endroses Wifaqul Ulama Moon Sighting

Mufti Ebrahim Desai (DB) 1st Fatwa

If a moon is sight­ed in place A, what is the max­i­mum dis­tance for which this sight­ing is valid accord­ing to the Hanafi Mad­hab.  Please could you state the view of the Imam and his two famous students.


In the name of Allah, Most Gra­cious, Most Merciful

Assalaa­mu ‘alaykum waRah­mat­ul­lahi Wabarakatuh

Accord­ing to the mad­hab of Imam Abu Han­i­fa (Rah­mat­ul­lah Alay­hi), the pre­ferred view is that the dif­fer­ent hori­zons (ikhti­laf matali’) are not tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion. There­fore, there is no max­i­mum dis­tance for the valid­i­ty of the cres­cent sight­ing. If the cres­cent is sight­ed in one coun­try then it is accept­able in anoth­er, no mat­ter what the dis­tance may be between the two. How­ev­er, this is only valid with cer­tain con­di­tions and if cer­tain pro­ce­dures are followed.

If a coun­try or loca­tion is unable to sight the cres­cent moon due to over­cast skies, then the sight­ing of anoth­er coun­try or loca­tion will be accept­ed only if the infor­ma­tion is relayed through one of the fol­low­ing four methods:

  1. Sha­ha­dat ‘alar Ru’yah (شهادة على الرؤية) – two males, or one male and two females bear tes­ti­mo­ny that they have sight­ed the moon in their com­mu­ni­ty or coun­try, using the words أشهد, or the equiv­a­lent in their local language.
  2. Sha­ha­dat ‘ala Sha­ha­dat (شهادة على الشهادة) – two sane, mature Mus­lims bear wit­ness that two sane, mature Mus­lims bore wit­ness in front of them that they have sight­ed the crescent.
  3. Sha­ha­dat ‘alal Qad­ha  القضاء على شهادة – two sane, mature Mus­lims from anoth­er com­mu­ni­ty or coun­try bear wit­ness that an offi­cial dec­la­ra­tion was made by the muq­ta­da (the lead­ing schol­ars of the com­mu­ni­ty) that the cres­cent has been sighted.
  4. Tawatur wa Isti­fad­hah تواتر و استفاضة – many peo­ple from anoth­er com­mu­ni­ty or coun­try inform that the cres­cent has been sight­ed in their com­mu­ni­ty or coun­try; and the muq­ta­da of the com­mu­ni­ty or coun­try are con­vinced that the cres­cent has been sight­ed in that com­mu­ni­ty or coun­try based on tawatur and istifadhah.

It is also impor­tant to note that if the cres­cent moon can­not be sight­ed in a loca­tion due to over­cast skies, then it is not com­pul­so­ry upon the peo­ple of that loca­tion to acquire infor­ma­tion from oth­er com­mu­ni­ties or coun­tries. How­ev­er, if the cres­cent has been sight­ed in anoth­er loca­tion and the infor­ma­tion reach­es a com­mu­ni­ty which has not sight­ed the moon, then it will be incum­bent upon the muq­ta­da of that loca­tion to accept the news as long as the infor­ma­tion is pro­vid­ed through one of the four above­men­tioned methods.

If the infor­ma­tion of sight­ing is not relayed by one of the four meth­ods, the sight­ing will not be regard­ed as valid.

Judg­ing by the infor­ma­tion that the dif­fer­ent hori­zons are not tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion in the Hanafi mad­hab, it may seem as if it is per­mis­si­ble to fol­low the sight­ing of . This would be accept­able if the prop­er method is used. How­ev­er, it is a known fact that sha­ha­dat bir ru’yah or sha­ha­dat ‘ala sha­ha­dat are not the meth­ods used in and their deci­sions are based on a pre-cal­cu­lat­ed method. The Hadith com­mands us to start the month of fast­ing after the actu­al sight­ing of the cres­cent, not mere calculations:

عن عبد الله بن عمر رضى الله عنهما أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذكر رمضان فقال « لا تصوموا حتى تروا الهلال ، ولا تفطروا حتى تروه ، فإن غم عليكم فاقدروا له » . رواه البخارى

It has been nar­rat­ed on the author­i­ty of Abdul­lah ibn Umar (Rad­hiyal­lahu Anhu­ma) that Nabi (Sal­lal­lahu Alai­hi Wasal­lam) said, “Do not fast until you have seen the cres­cent (of Ramad­han) and do not stop observ­ing fasts until you have seen the cres­cent (of Shaww­al); and if the skies are over­cast, then com­plete the month”.

(Sahih al-Bukhari Vol.2 Pg.281 – Darul Fikr)

Due to the dif­fer­ences which exist in the present day Ummah, each coun­try’s muq­ta­da should make an inde­pen­dent deci­sion based on the prop­er Shar’ee method.

May Allah Ta’ala give us guid­ance to fol­low all aspects of deen accord­ing to the meth­ods pre­scribed by Shariah.

 قوله : ولا عبرة باختلاف المطالع  فإذا رآه أهل بلدة ، ولم يره أهل بلدة أخرى وجب عليهم أن يصوموا برؤية أولئك إذا ثبت عندهم بطريق موجب ، ويلزم أهل المشرق برؤية أهل المغرب

(Al Bahr Al Raiq Vol.2 Pg.270 – Mak­tabah Rasheediyah)

وإذا ثبت في مصر لزم سائر الناس فيلزم أهل المشرق برؤية أهل المغرب في ظاهر المذهب

(Fathul Qadeer Vol.2 Pg.243 – Mak­tabah Rasheediyah)

( واختلاف المطالع ) ورؤيته نهارا قبل الزوال وبعده ( غير معتبر على ) ظاهر ( المذهب ) وعليه أكثر المشايخ وعليه الفتوى بحر عن الخلاصة ( فيلزم أهل المشرق برؤية أهل المغرب ) إذا ثبت عندهم رؤية أولئك بطريق موجب كما مر ، وقال الزيلعي : الأشبه أنه يعتبر لكن قال الكمال : الأخذ بظاهر الرواية أحوط .

وإنما الخلاف في اعتبار اختلاف المطالع بمعنى أنه هل يجب على كل قوم اعتبار مطلعهم ، ولا يلزم أحد العمل بمطلع غيره أم لا يعتبر اختلافها بل يجب العمل بالأسبق رؤية حتى لو رئي في المشرق ليلة الجمعة ، وفي المغرب ليلة السبت وجب على أهل المغرب العمل بما رآه أهل المشرق ، فقيل بالأول واعتمده الزيلعي وصاحب الفيض ، وهو الصحيح عند الشافعية ؛ لأن كل قوم مخاطبون بما عندهم كما في أوقات الصلاة ، وأيده في الدرر بما مر من عدم وجوب العشاء والوتر على فاقد وقتهما وظاهر الرواية الثاني وهو المعتمد عندنا وعند المالكية والحنابلة لتعلق الخطاب عملا بمطلق الرؤية في حديث { صوموا لرؤيته } بخلاف أوقات الصلوات ، وتمام تقريره في رسالتنا المذكورة .

(Rad­dul Muhtar Vol.2 Pg.393 – H.M. Sa’eed Company)

(Fatawa Rahimiyya, Vol.7 Pg. 210–230 – Darul Isha’at)

And Allah knows best


Ml. Asif Umar,
Stu­dent Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved (with fol­low­ing comments):

Alham­dulil­lah, the wifaq-ul-ula­ma of the and many oth­er senior ula­ma of the have agreed that fol­low­ing Sau­di sight­ing is incor­rect. A pos­i­tive step has been tak­en to rec­ti­fy the wrong.

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madras­sah In’aamiyyah

Mufti Ebrahim Desai (DB) 2nd Fatwa


  1. Have you stud­ied close­ly the cri­te­ria of Wifaqul Ula­ma lon­don, and Rabetat­ul Ula­ma Batley?
  2. If so, do you agree with them?
  3. Deci­sion to fol­low South Africa’s ru’y­at in the event of no sight­ing in UK, even with no imkaane ru’y­at in UK accord­ing to astro­nom­ic cal­cu­la­tion, seems not sound, though we fol­low glob­al hori­zon in such an event. Thus we have cel­e­brat­ed last Ramad­han and Eidain well off the imakaane ru’y­at. is this proper?


In the name of Allah, Most Gra­cious, Most Merciful

Assalaa­mu ‘alaykum waRah­mat­ul­lahi Wabarakatuh

  1. I have stud­ied the cri­te­ria of moon-sight­ing by Wifaqul Ula­ma and Rabetat­ul Ulama.
  2. I agree with the criteria.

In prin­ci­ple, if the cres­cent has been sight­ed any­where in the world and that is reli­ably com­mu­ni­cat­ed then that infor­ma­tion is valid in Shari­ah. It fol­lows, if the cres­cent was sight­ed in South Africa, it will be suf­fi­cient for the UK. Imka­nee  Ru’yat by astro­nom­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion is used mere­ly as a guide and by no means is the Sharia cri­te­ria for sight­ing. Fur­ther­more, on the basis of not fol­low­ing Ikhti­lafe Matal­ih, there is no need for Imka­nee Ru’yat only in UK.

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Was­sala­mu Alaykum

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madras­sah In’aamiyyah

Mufti Ebrahim Desai (DB) Clarification on South Africa

Q:) How many Ula­ma are there in the moon sight­ing committee?

There are three main orga­ni­za­tions in South Africa that are looked upon and revered by the Mus­lim pub­lic, name­ly : Jamiat­ul Ula­ma Kwa Zulu Natal, Jamiat­ul Ula­ma Trans­vaal, and Mus­lim Judi­cial Coun­cil in Capetown. All these three orga­ni­za­tions have a coor­di­nat­ed sys­tem regard­ing the hilal sight­ing. Each one of this three have their own Hilal Com­mit­tees and coor­di­nate with the oth­er com­mit­tees around the coun­try. Alham­dulil­lah, every month the com­mit­tee from each province goes out in search for a Hilal. What ever is the out­come, it is com­mu­ni­cat­ed to their con­stituen­cies and the oth­er committees.

Q:) Are there local com­mit­tees or a coun­try wide committee?

Ref to #1

Q:) Is the effort made to sight the moon every month?

Yes. Ref. to #1

Q:)  Do you use the knowl­edge of astron­o­my? If so to what extent?

There are cer­tain aspects of astron­o­my that are absolute. (Qat’i) and cer­tain aspects of astron­o­my are Dhan­ni. I have elab­o­rat­ed on this in pre­vi­ous arti­cles. The gen­er­al posi­tion is that astro­nom­i­cal data is per­sua­sive but not con­clu­sive. Ru’yi­at is ulti­mate­ly necessary.

Q:) Once a deci­sion has been made, are all the com­mu­ni­ties unit­ed through­out S.Africa?

Yes. Ref. to #1

Q:) Do you accept the moon dec­la­ra­tions of neigh­bor­ing countries?

Accord­ing to Zahirur Riway­at , Ikhti­laf e Mta­lae’ is not con­sid­ered. There­fore as a prin­ci­ple sight­ing from the neigh­bor­ing coun­tries could be accept­ed, how­ev­er due to poor infra­struc­tures and coor­di­na­tion in these neigh­bor­ing coun­tries UUCSA (Unit­ed Ula­ma Coun­cil of South Africa) has put a Mora­to­ri­um on this until a sound struc­ture is put in place. How­ev­er the neigh­bor­ing coun­tries do accept our sight­ing due to our sound sys­tem and structure.

Q:)  Are the dec­la­ra­tions for each month based on actu­al sighting?


And Allah knows best


Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Darul Iftaa,