Mufti Radha Ul Haq endorses Observatory Assistance & Negates Saudi Sighting for Britain
(Mufti) Radha Ul Haq
Mufti Raza ul Haq Saheb Damat barakutuhum is a very senior Mufti, and Sheikh ul Hadith of Darul ul Uloom Zakaria, South Africa. Hadhrat is a student of Allama Sayed Muhammad Yusuf Binnori RA, and the former grand Mufti of Pakistan, Mufti Wali Hasan Tonqi Saheb RA. After graduation he served the Darul Iftaa at Binnori Town and also taught Books of Hadith and Fiqh at Binnori Town for a number of years, before Moving to South Africa. Where he is serving the Ummah till today, he is well known as the grand Mufti of South Africa. His students number thousands; many Ulama residing here in the UK are from his students.
Fatawa of Hadhrat Mufti Raza ul Haq Saheb Damat Barakutuhum, have been published at present in three volumes, and are widely available here in bookshops in the UK.
The chapter regarding Moonsighting was of great interest to us as it consists of Fatawa/Research that is in accordance with the Wifaq ul Ulama thinking. We have translated those Ibaaraat/writings that are relevant to us here in the UK, for those who do not read Urdu. For those who read Urdu, complete text/Fatawa could be read by buying the book itself, or parts of it have been loaded on the Wifaq website.
Astronomy can be used to reject false sightings:
The question of ‘whether Astronomy could be used to negate false sighting has always been of importance and debate’. Our view was that in this age of Fitna and mischief it should be permissible, as we are observing, that people for whatever reasons are coming forward with false and questionable testimonies of sighting. This permission would eradicate such lies or mistakes.
Alhamdulillah in the Fatwa printed on Pg 241 in Volume three of ‘Fatawa Darul Uloom Zakaria’ this permission is clearly given. For the benefit of the reader we will translate the question and part of the answer:
Question Some countries determine and announce the Eid ul Fitr before the ending of Ramadhan. They tend to say that through Astronomy we can calculate the dates, what is the ruling of these calculations in Shariah?
In the Mas’alah of Moonsighting, astrologers, and those who have knowledge of the stars are not to be relied upon, hence on the basis of their calculations the Hilal will not be determined. As Shariah has determined the Fast and Eid on sighting of the Moon, hence the opinion of the Astrologer however researched it may be cannot be deemed as conclusive. Rather many a times their opinions could differ.
Yes, new Astronomical calculations COULD BE USED TO NEGATE FALSE SIGHTING, but cannot be used to determine a sighting. Although those (calculations) that are conclusive could be used… (Fatawa Darul Zakaria Vol 3 Pg 241)
The testimony of hilal from South Africa is acceptable for the United Kingdom:
The Wifaq ul Ulama has listed South Africa as one of the countries from where we will get our Hilal information from. We have a direct link with the Jamiat ul Ulama hilal body there. Many people question this following, here in the answer below Hadhrat Mufti Raza ul Haq Saheb very clearly states that South Africa could be followed, and the Nizam of sighting the Hilal in South Africa is very good. (This permission was granted by Darul Uloom Deoband before).
Hadhrat Mufti Saheb writes in a Fatwa:
‘Yes; unity (of Hilal decisions) of Pakistan, India, and the Arabic countries is easy and possible. Rather if South Africa was made the ‘standard/criterion’, as its location in the South West means that the possibility of Sighting (Imkan e Ruyat) is greater, and also the organisation and system of Moonsighting is very precise and strong, the problem of Moonsighting in Africa, EUROPE, India, Pakistan and the western countries could be solved. ..’ (Fatawa Darul Zakaria Vol 3 Pg 255)
Why the Hilal authority of Saudi Arabia cannot be followed?
In an answer to a question that ‘can Madinah Munawwarah, be followed in Moonsighting, and if not, why?’
Hadhrat Mufti Saheb writes: ‘The reason for the non acceptances of the Saudi testimony is that many a times the testimonies are against reality and logic. (Khilaaf e Zaahir) As the moon is sighted in the east and the west on one day, and that is not possible according to the past and present rules of Astronomy.
(If the morning the moon is sighted on the eastern horizon in the Morning of the 29th of the month, then there is no possibility of sighting the hilal on the western horizon on the same day. Unfortunately claims of such sighting are made in Saudi Arabia, as one can understand by a letter written by Hadhrat Sheikh Ul Hadith Moulana Muhammad Zakaria Saheb RA addressed to Hadhrat Moulana Yusuf Motala Saheb DB on 2nd Shawwal 1393AH. Published in Muhabbat Naamay Volume 2 Page 539. Translator)
Another reason is that sighting is not claimed anywhere else. Rather many a times there is no sighting even on the next day, despite the horizon being clear. Never mind a sighting by a large crowd, not even a few people sight the hilal. (On the Next day. Translator). Sometimes the moon is five to six hours old and sighting is claimed, and sometimes even before the birth of the moon a sighting is claimed! Hence how can a testimony going against reality and logic be accepted?’
The second reason is that in Saudi Arabia, the fiqh of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal RA is followed, the testimony of one person for Ramadhan and two people for Eid is sufficient. Whereas in the Fiqh of Imam Abu Hanifa RA, when the skies are clear, testimony of a large group is essential. Even then it is easy to save our selves from the difference of opinion, as when the Hambali Qadhi has accepted a testimony the Ahnaaf can also accept it, but to accept a testimony going against reality and logic (Khilaaf e Zaahir) is difficult. The other point is that majority of the people are unaware of the details of the testimony received. As there is a monarchy there, to acquire details of the witnesses or testimonies is very difficult. Rather, just about impossible. Do not think that the Saudi sighting is always wrong, rather in the eyes of the Ulama it is not very trustworthy…’ (Fatawa Darul Zakaria Vol 3 Pg 259)
جزاك اللهُ خيرًا