Moon Sighting Issue

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ

As we approach Maghrib on this Wednesday 1st April 2020, my message today may be the most important one I have sent out thus far.

Today, I want to draw the attention of all brothers and sisters to the ‘Moon Sighting Issue’

Since the arrival of the Muslims in the UK in the 1950s and the 1960s, the senior Muftiyān-e-Kirām of the world endorsed the Moon Sighting of the Kingdom of Morocco for the UK due to the difficulty of Moon Sighting here. This position was maintained for over 30 years ‏مَا شَآءَ الله. To the extent that when in the mid 1980s a few groups started to follow Moon Sighting news from Saudi Arabia, a specific group was formed by the ‘Ulamā which was named Hizbul ‘Ulamā, specifically to follow the Moon Sighting news of Morocco. That is how strong the feelings were for Morocco. Until then there was only Jam’īat ul-‘Ulamā. But now Hizbul ‘Ulamā came into existence.

In 1986, a fax from Morocco was either received very late by Hizbul ‘Ulamā on the 29th of Ramaḍān or seen very late because of which this issue came under discussion. The historical 1986 agreement between Jam’īat ul-‘Ulamā and Hizbul ‘Ulamā states that ‘although following Morocco is the most safest method’, the Muftiyān-e-Kirām are giving flexibility to follow ‘the Moon Sighting info received from Saudi Arabia each month IF the moon is not visible in the UK on the 29th’.

Muftiyān-e-Kirām across the world were asked whether the UK could follow actual Moon Sighting from Saudi Arabia; not a calendar. The Muftiyān-e-Kirām allowed this, as mentioned above, with the condition that, first you do local sighting and if not possible, then take actual Moon Sighting news from Saudi Arabia. A number of senior Muftiyān-e-Kirām and ‘Ulamā did not accept the ruling and still remain with Morocco till this day.

So what is the issue?

In Islām, there are 12 months. Each month starts with the sighting of the moon by the eye. That is the Shar’ī position, and will determine our worship, which is related to the date. For example, fasting each month on the 13th, 14th and 15th (al-Ayyām ul-Bīdh), Āshūrā, Shab Barāt, start of Ramaḍān, Laylat ul-Qadr, ‘Eid ul-Fiṭr, Ayyām ut-Tashrīq, Yawm ul-‘Arafah, ‘Eid ul-Aḍḥā, etc. 

Since 1987, a number of questions have arisen around whether Saudi Arabia follows Moon Sighting with the eye each month, a calendar for all 12 months, or maybe the calendar for the 9 non-worship months and Moon Sighting with the eye for the worship months. 

The issue is very simple. It needs all the ‘Ulamā to get together and review. However, for some unknown reason, no one wants to touch this issue. Many tried so much and finally made their own groups like Wifāqul ‘Ulamā and Batley Moon Sighting Committee. They fully researched the issue and ‏مَا شَآءَ الله have chosen a criteria which has been endorsed by all the top Muftiyān-e-Kirām of the world. They follow local, then Morocco, then South Africa. 

The key is actual sighting, not a calendar. That is the Shar’ī position. Actual sighting with the eye, not a calendar. Therefore,brothers and sisters, we are at a very important juncture today now, at this very moment. Our Central Moon Sighting Committee (CMSC) has already announced the start of Shābān and according to their announcement, our Imāms will now announce Shab Barāt to their congregations this Friday. 

My humble message is, ask your Imām Ṣāḥib ‘Is Shab Barāt according to Moon Sighting with the eye or is it according to a calendar’? If your Imām Ṣāḥib says ‘we are following our CMSC’ then please politely ask your Imām Ṣāḥib which criteria the CMSC follows and respectfully ask for evidence. 

My own research is very clear. It is according to a calendar and not Moon Sighting with the eye. Hence. I have openly called for a review of the criteria we are following at the moment. 

I sincerely do apologise for the length of this message. 

In trying to think of all those things by which we might have upset Almighty Allāh this careless approach in such an important act of worship seems to be the number one reason. 

Please take action and take action now. It’s still not too late. Happy to discuss.

جزاك الله خيرا
Request for Du’ās
والسلام Hanif Dudhwala