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Last Updated: Aug 29, 2011 09:38:31

For years there has been a misconception that the scholars in the United Kingdom have called Ramadan and Eid on the wrong days. This is far from the truth and this is the talk of ignorant people without any real Islamic knowledge.

For years Saudi Arabia have followed a predetermined calendar, based on scientific calculations. ‘Sighting the moon’ is defined as seeing the new moon with the naked eye. Under the Hanafi School of thought (as well as the other 3 schools) you cannot call Eid or Ramadan through calculation, no matter how accurate science seems to be. Here we understand that the knowledge of the new moon isn’t the determining factor on when we can call Ramadan and Eid.

Science tells us that the New Moon will be born at 04.04(BST) on 29th August 2011. This proves the Eid should be on the 31stAugust. Firstly the sighting has to take place from Maghrib up until Fajr beginning time (the true dawn) and secondly qualified Muslim astronomers and reliable visibility forecasts indicate that on Monday the only major land region of the globe that will have a decent likelihood of a naked eye sighting of the moon is in South America. For a detailed breakdown please see the diagram below.

The source of this diagram is Utrecht University and you can view the diagram on their website by clicking here

To avoid further confusion please read below for details of how under Hanafi law you should sight the moon.

The following rulings are derived from the Hanafi Madhab using Imam Shurunbullali's classical fiqh book Nur-al-Ida. 

Establishing the Moon of Ramadan and Eid

Both Ramadan and Eid are established when the moon is sighted, and if the moon is not sighted then the people are to complete the month of Sha’ban as thirty days and then begin fasting (this is what occurred this year).

The Sighting of the Moon

Whoever sees the moon of Ramadan alone, yet his statement is rejected by the Mufti, he is required to fast on his own. If however one sees the moon for Eid ul Fitr alone and his statement is rejected by the Mufti, then he must continue to fast, as he is not permitted to celebrate Eid alone.

Verification of the Moon if there are obstructions in the Sky

When sighting the moon is obstructed, such as clouds or dust, the Mufti can take the sighting of the moon from one upright person or one whose situation is unknown. The Mufti can also take the statement from a witness that testifies his sighting on the basis of being told by another person. I.e. Person X sees the moon and then tells person Y and person Y then tells the Mufti. However it is a condition both person Y and X are upright individuals. There is no condition the witnesses have to be given by Muslims here but there has to be evidence that they are not wrong doers.

If the sky is obstrubted for Eid al-Fitr, it is conditional for the Mufti to have a testimony from two men, or from one man and two women (with the condition they are all Muslims).

Here in the UK, when we cannot sight the moon we will go to our nearest Islamic country for a verdict, which is Morocco.

Verification of the Moon if there are NO obstructions in the Sky

The testimony of a large gathering is required here, the Mufti will determine the size of the group.

If after 30 days there are no signs of Eid al-Fitr then you are NOT permitted to cease fasting. This means that Ramadan was started on the wrong day so you will need to continue fasting, so in total 31 days of fasting and Eid will occur the following day.

Ruling of Seeing the Moon from Different Places

If the moon is sighted in one horizon than it becomes obligatory to adhere to this sighting, but we must take into account different cities have different horizons. Imam al-Ghazali in his Ihya Ulum al-Din maintains that if a moon is sighted in one town and not the other, and the distance between the two is less than 6 miles, the people of both towns are required to fast; but if the distance is greater than 6 miles than every town will have its own legal ruling.

Therefore we must realise that the UK and Saudi Arabia have different horizons and there is no basis in Hanafi law to follow the Saudi’s rulings on Ramadan and Eid.

Please note, you cannot sight the moon during the day, it has to be seen from Maghrib up until the start of Fajr.





Prayer / Salah / Namaz Times: Bradford
Thursday 25 April 2024 11:52
15 Shawwal 1445
Salah Start Jama'ah
al-Fajr: 3.44 5.00
Sunrise 5.46 n/a
al-Dhur (Juma'ah) 13.06 14.00
al-Asr 18.05 18.30
al-Maghrib 20.31 20.31
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