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Muslims who prayed on Tuesday in Zomba: Were they misled?

Eid Adha Confusion: Has the truth come?

Muslims who prayed on Tuesday in Zomba: Were they misled?
Muslims who prayed on Tuesday in Zomba: Were they misled?

If you are among those who prayed on Tuesday following Saudi Arabia Calender, then next year you might consider your decision.

This article, acting as a response from Shaykh Saalih Al-Uthaymeen (RA), a well known and respected sheikh from Saudi Arabia reveals it all.

It contains Quranic verses and hadith to back up those who prayed on Wednesday.

Question: Because of some personal circumstances we moved to Pakistan, where a lot of things are different, such as the time of prayer, etc. I want to ask you: I am keen to fast on the day of ‘Arafah, but the Hijri date in Pakistan is different from the date in Saudi: when the date in Pakistan is the 8th of the month, it is the 9th in Saudi. Should I fast on the 8th – which is the 9th in Saudi – or should I fast according to the date in Pakistan?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: what if the day of ‘Arafah is different because of the moon being sighted at different times in different countries? Should we fast according to the moon sighting in the country where we are or according to the moon sighting in al-Haramayn (the two Holy Sanctuaries)?

He replied: This is based on a difference of opinion among the scholars: Is there only one moon sighting for the whole world or does it vary according to when the moon rises in different places?

[tweetable]The correct view is that it varies according to when the moon rises in different places. For example, if the moon is sighted in Makkah, and today is the ninth, and it is sighted elsewhere one day before Makkah, and the day of ‘Arafah in Makkah is the tenth for them, it is not permissible for them to fast on this day because it is Eid.[/tweetable] Similarly if it so happens that they sight the moon after Makkah, and the 9th in Makkah is the 8th for them, then they should fast the day that is the 9th for them, which is the 10th in Makkah. This is the correct view, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you see it (the new moon) fast and when you see it break your fast.” Those who did not see the moon in their own location have not seen it. Just as people are unanimously agreed that the times for dawn and sunset vary according to their own location, so too the months are also worked out by location, just like the daily timings. Majmoo’ al-Fataawa , 20.

And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about some people who worked in the Saudi embassy in a foreign country, who said that they were having a problem concerning the fast of Ramadaan and the fast on the day of ‘Arafah. The brothers there had split into three groups: One group said: we will fast with Saudi and break the fast with Saudi. Another group said: we will fast with the country where we are living and break the fast with them. The last group said: we will fast Ramadaan with the country where we are living, but we will fast the day of ‘Arafah with Saudi.

They asked the Shaykh to provide them with a detailed answer concerning the Ramadaan fast and fasting the day of ‘Arafah, whilst noting that for the past five years, in the country where they were living neither Ramadaan nor the day of ‘Arafah had been observed on the same days as in Saudi; their Ramadaan started one or two days after it had been announced in Saudi, and sometimes three days after.

He replied:

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) differed concerning the issue when the moon is sighted in one part of the Muslim world and not in another: do all the Muslims have to act on the basis of that, or only those who sighted it and the people who live in the same region, or only those who sighted it and the people who live under the same government? There are many different points of view.

The most correct view is that the matter should be referred to those who have knowledge of it. If the moon rises at the same point for two countries they become like one country, so if it is sighted in one of them that ruling applies to the other. But if the rising points differ, then each country has its own ruling. This is the view favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him); this is the apparent meaning of the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah and what is implied by analogy.

In the Qur’aan it says (interpretation of the meaning):

“So whoever of you sights (t he crescent on the first nigh t of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts ) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of da ys which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allaah intends for you ease, an d He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He want s that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for havi ng guided you so that yo u may be grateful to Him [al-Baqarah 2:185]

What is implied by this verse is that whoever does not see it is not obliged to fast.

In the Sunnah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you see it (the new moon) then fast, and when you see it, break your fast.” What is implied by this hadeeth is that if we did not see it we are not obliged to fast or to break the fast.

With regard to analogy, the times for starting and ending the fast each day should be worked out in each country on its own, according to the local times of sunrise and sunset. This is a point on which there is scholarly consensus. So you see the people in east Asia starting their fast before the people of west Asia, and breaking their fast before them, because dawn breaks for the former before the latter, and the sun sets for the former before the latter. Once this is established with regard to the times for starting and ending the daily fast, it also applies to the start and end of the monthly fast. There is no difference between them.

But if many regions come under the same government, and the ruler gives the command for the fast to start or end, then his command must be followed, because this is a matter of scholarly dispute but the command of the ruler dispels that dispute.

Based on the above, you should fast and break your fast along with the people of the country where you are living, whether that is in accordance with your country of origin or not. Similarly on the day of ‘Arafah you should follow the country where you are living.

Written by Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, 28/8/1420 AH. Majmoo’ al-Fataawa , 19.

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15 comments

  1. Brother Lazarus, you have a very good point.. I agree with you but some people will still argue..they want all people to be of their view which is impossible.. What is important is for our sheikhs to come together,discuss and tell the nation what to do on this issue..sizotengera ma personal issues mkumalowetsa mu deen ya Allah

  2. This norm/tradition of local/regional determination can not be backed by any Quranic verse or hadeeth. The proof from those who insist that we should not used regions is that the prophet when saying the hadeeth was addressing to the whole ummah of the muslims not a particular region. He told us to start counting the month if the moon is sighted and not individually or locally. The issue of regions or areas were established by the sheikhs and not the prophet not even the sahaabah. You have no authority to back your view point not even one.

  3. Ask for a fatwa, you’ll get what you think suits you. Ask with taqwa, your Lord will guide towards what in His Infinite Wisdom is best for your circumstances.

    When you ask the learned, be prepared to submit to the response no matter unfavourable it may seem to you. That’s taqwa. Otherwise, with your limited understanding, how do you grade the soundness of one opinion over another?

    Unity of the Ummah which closes the door of discord (fitna) within a community is also a goal of the Shariah. Look now how we are suspicious of each other… Scholars take all such factors into consideration when giving their recommendation, differences of opinion withstanding.

    The burden of proof is on those who have deviated from the norm; the tradition which has been long-established over the years in terms of local/regional sighting in Malawi. It’s up to them to convince the rest especially that this topic is not new ‘controversy’ within the field of Islamic jurisprudence.

  4. Chakula ku malawi kuno ndikuzikonda kwa ma sheikh athu,ndawelenga & I quote akuti ngati mwezi tauona b4 ku makka tikuyenera kumanga ndikupanga eid b4 Yaum Riafat yaku Makka

  5. The above ayat talks about the month of Ramadhan , which I have no problem with as the same verse say that those Muslims on journey and/or sick can make up the missed number of days later. But the verse does not say that people can make up for the missed fasting on day of Aarafah. Besides Malawi and Soudi Arabia’s time difference is only 1(one) hour as opposed to countries like Pakistan cited in the article.