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

Jaza­kallah
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.
جزاك اللهُ خيرًا