Why did Wifaqul Ulama reject Mozambique, Kenyan and French Sightings?

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

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

France: 29th of Sha’bān 1440 (05th of May 2019)

A team of Scholars from Wifaqul Ulama and Batley Moon Sighting Committee (BMSC) have visited France, observed the processes of OLMF, spoken and discussed Moonsighting with the brothers at length and in depth. Moonsighting and setting of the Islamic dates in France is done by Grande Mosquée de Paris. The brothers involved in Moonsighting do not have their decisions endorsed by scholars and lack the validity of Qadhā (judgement by Scholars).

They made it clear before our visit, they spoke about it during the visit and have since spoken after the visit. It is to the extent that when Grande Mosquée de Paris makes a decision, the brothers who have sighted the Moon abandon their own sighting and follow the decision of Grande Mosquée de Paris.

Our noble and honourable brothers at OLMF have also discussed for Wifaqul Ulama to act as Qadhā and endorse their sighting. This is an ongoing discussion at Wifaqul Ulama and discussed twice in the Shura. Wifaqul Ulama anticipated the issue and discussed it in the Shura about 4 weeks ago.

One option is for the UK to adopt French sighting and for Wifaqul Ulama to send a team every single month (physically) to France, sight the Moon on the ground and also act as Qadhā to validate the OLMF sightings.

The system of Moonsighting has to be consistent for all 12 months, we cannot merely pluck out Ramadhān sighting just because it suits our needs. The system has to be applicable and valid for all 12 months.

As it stands, French sightings have no endorsements from Ulamā (French or otherwise) and those sightings defer to the decisions of Qadhā (i.e. Grande Mosquée de Paris) and rightly so.

Moonsighting of France most certainly makes a lot more sense for Britain than following the sighting of distant countries but as it stands, it cannot be enforced on millions of British Muslims when those who are sighting (the Moon) abandon their own sighting and follow another decision. Those sighting the moon in France as it stands do not have their sighting validated by French Scholars and in addition they do not follow their own sighting but act in contradiction to their (own) observed sighting and follow Grande Mosquée de Paris. Since they are abandoning their own sighting and acting in contradiction to their own personal observance in terms of Fiqh, the sighting cannot be used by British Muslims without another method of verification. It is not a matter of just plucking Ramadhan sighting from France but the whole system needs to be looked at and analysed. We have been actively looking at this option and will continue to work with OLMF. Currently, Wifaqul Ulama uses French sightings for secondary verification when a primary (credible and verified) sighting has already occurred.

Mozambique: 29th of Sha’bān 1440 (05th of May 2019)

17:18 (Wifaqul Ulama London)

Wifaqul Ulama became aware of certain Moonsighting claims in Africa. Our members were in touch with Scholars in South Africa and they assured us that they have members within their country to investigate any claims. Scholars in South Africa were also in touch with neighbouring countries to check and verify any sighting claims.

17:40 (Wifaqul Ulama London)

There have been no claims of Moonsighting in Africa, so far.

17:40 (Wifaqul Ulama Dewsbury/Batley)

South African Ulama make the decision that Moonsighting has been negative.

18:02 (Wifaqul Ulama London)

Contact was made with the scholars in Zambia, checking for the Moonsighting status. We were informed that Ulama are in the middle of consultation and decision making process.

Zambia is the neighbouring country to Mozambique.

18:07 (Wifaqul Ulama London)

Zambia Ulama make the decision that Moonsighting has been negative, the final announcement was received.

18:09 (Wifaqul Ulama London)

Malawi Ulama make the decision that Moonsighting has been negative, the final announcement is as follows:

On Behalf of the chair NRHC wishes to announce that the new moon for the holy month of Ramadan has not been sighted anywhere in the region hence 1st Ramadan will correspond to Tuesday 7th May 2019.

1st Taraweeh Monday 6th May 2019 Please inform all Jamaats affiliated with your Institute. Br Osman please proceed with announcement on Radio Islam. Wish all a blessed and a peaceful month

Abdur Razak Kassam
National Coordinator
National Ruyutul Hilaal Committee

Please see statement released on the next day, below.

18:09 (Wifaqul Ulama Midlands)

Zimbabwe Ulama make the decision that Moonsighting has been negative, the announcement is as follows:

Moonsighting Announcement

The Hilaal for RAMADAAN 1440 AH HAS NOT BEEN sighted. As such, in Zimbabwe, 1st of Ramadaan 1440 AH corresponds to Tuesday 7th May 2019.

InshaAllah Taraweeh prayers will commence on Monday 6th April 2019 after Esha.

Hilaal Committee – Masjid Al-Abbas (Zimbabwe)

18:35 (Wifaqul Ulama London)

Botswana Muslim Association make the decision that Moonsighting has been negative, the announcement is as follows:

The Botswana Muslim Association confirms the moon for Ramadan 1440 was NOT sighted. 1st Ramadan will begin after Maghrib on 6 May 2019. The first fast will be on Tuesday 07 May.

19:42 (Wifaqul Ulama Midlands)

Jamitaul Ulama de Mozambique makes a decision based on sighting of the Moon in their country.

19:47 (Wifaqul Ulama London)

Immediately ask for an investigation and research into Mozambique Moonsighting.

19:59 (Wifaqul Ulama London)

Information received from a Mufti in Mozambique that Moon has been sighted in Tete and Nampula.

20:05 (Wifaqul Ulama Shura)

Two teams are assigned to investigate and prepare a pack for the meeting after sunset (in London).

  1. Team 1: Analyse Astronomical data to look at the Moonsighting in Tete and Nampula using Yallop and ODEH criteria and present the findings to the Shura (as a pdf).
  2. Team 2: Investigate the ground reality in Mozambique and verify if this decision is being unanimously followed. Have the neighbouring countries accepted the Mozambique sighting?

Both of these tasks were completed.

There was a split within Mozambique (itself) and this sighting was rejected by some. All neighbouring countries (to Mozambique) also rejected the Mozambique sighting including Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Tete sighting was roughly 170 Kilometres from Malawi but there was no sighting in Malawi.

21:00 & onwards (Wifaqul Ulama Shura)

The Shura decided to reject Mozambique sighting based on the fact that it was rejected in its own country and by all of the neighbouring countries.

There was an opinion in the Shura that since Jamitaul Ulama de Mozambique is a body of Scholars which has endorsed this sighting, Wifaqul Ulama should also accept it based on (their endorsement), regardless of the problematic nature of the sighting. However, this was discussed and rejected because the claims of sighting itself were disputed in its own country and by its neighbouring countries.

How can Wifaqul Ulama accept a claim not accepted in its own country, roundly rejected by the neighbouring countries and enforce it on British Muslims?

Mozambique: 30th of Sha’bān 1440 (06th of May 2019)

Wifaqul Ulama revisited the Mozambique sighting and have (reconfirmed) that Mosques in Tete (Mozambique) disputed and rejected the sighting claims. In fact, a large number of Muslims in Tete have rejected the Tete sighting.

Nampula sighting has also been rejected by many Muslims and in general many Muslims in Mozambique are not fasting today. We have verified with multiple sources that these sightings were not unanimously accepted by all in Mozambique, let alone by neighbouring countries (all of them rejected it).

Malawi issued an official statement today, which is as follows:

Direct (PDF) Download Link

Click to view PDF in Mobile App

Kenya: 06th of May 2019

There is no validated, credible and established monthly Moonsighting system in Kenya. The start of Ramadhān and ending of it is disputed and disagreed upon within Kenya. Jomvu constituency legislator Badi Twalib said in Mombasa that it was high time Kenya established the title and office of Grand Mufti due to the issue which are faced by Kenyan Muslims.

He said while speaking at Bahati area in his constituency while opening the Masjid Tawba Islamiya that the establishment of the Grand Mufti office will not only solve the disputes arising from the sighting of the moon but also other issues that affect the over 10 million Muslims in the country.

Wifaqul Ulama will not subject the acts of worship of millions of British Muslims to randomly plucking Ramadhān Moonsighting from countries with recorded problems. Our Duās are with the Muslims of Kenya in resolving their disputes and once a credible, transparent and reliable monthly Moonsighting system is in place, Wifaqul Ulama will revisit the issue of establishing bilateral links with Kenya and consider their Moonsighting. Fasting is an obligatory act of worship and we will not subject it to “Googling”, declarations from Facebook posts and WhatsApp messages!

Reviewed, checked and approved by:

  1. Mufti Zubair Dudha
  2. Mufti Zakariyya Akudi
  3. Mufti Amjad Mohammed
  4. Qari Shoyaib Nurgat
  5. Shaykh Suliman Gani: He was also asked to join the conference call with the Shura to discuss Mozambique sighting during his Moonsighting in South London. Shaykh has done independent investigation into the issue and reached the same conclusion that Moonsighting claims were rejected by many in Mozambique and by neighbouring countries.
  6. Mufti Yusuf Danka: I have reviewed this article and I also agree with the research and the rationale.
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