|Position Statement by CFCO Intl. Ulema
Islamic Shariah allows only Hilal (sighted moon)-based Islamic dates.
Daleel: Qur’an (2:189): “Ahilla” are the “Mawaqeet.”
The Prophet (S) put this Qur’anic injunction into practice himself:
Daleel: Ahadith: Extra care for sighting Sha’ban moon, Sumu li-Ru’yatihi… , etc.
Consensus and “ta’amul” of the Ummah for the last 1400+ years.
The phrase: “Fa in ghumma alaikum” leaves no doubt that:
R'aa" in this Hadith means only "naked eye, local sighting, of a Hilal".
* Ra’a here cannot be interpreted any other way. It cannot remotely mean "Knowledge of the moon in the sky”. The moon must be "seen by naked eye and not by binoculars, or telescopes. The moon must be "Seen by everybody with normal vision, and not by a few out of a group of observers at any place". It cannot mean “sightability” or “expected visibility” later after the invisible moon has passed by a place hours ago.
b. The moon must appear as a Hilal, and not as broken beads in a powerful telescope.
Matla is “Local” and cannot be global.
The Hilal must be sighted “locally". Obviously, the whole world will not be cloudy or hazy exactly around the sunset to keep the moon invisible. The earth is not a flat field.
The Khulafa and the Companions were unanimous on all these three points.
1. Ibn Abbas (R) asked Kuraib to fast 31st day as a moon was not seen in Medina.
2. Ikrama and Salim: (On a sighting at a place located at some distance from Medina): Ma lana wa li ahl-i Astawa (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah)
Conjunction (The New Moon)
At the conjunction no part of the Moon is visible. Rocket-mounted camera pictures showed a totally black moon. Powerful telescopes cannot detect any visible part of it.
It might be calculated exactly, but cannot be the basis for a calendar as the conjunction occurs at all times of day and night, and not at sunset when the Islamic date/day begins.
Local or extended Matla
1. Islamic date starts from the sunset after a moon is confirmed sighted.
(Fuqaha have established the number of witnesses and rules of Shahadah)
2. Ibn ‘Abbas did not accept Damascus “general sighting” applicable to Medina. He did not tell people in Medina to celebrate Eid because the month of Ramadan had become 30 days by a sighting somewhere else.
3. He asked Kuraib to fast 31st day because on his 30th (but Medina’s 29th) day of fasting a Hilal was not visible on a clear sky. (Bulugh al-Maraam)
(Ittihad vs. Ikhtilaf al-Matali’ Fiqhi positions are meaningless now that all have accepted the world to be a globe, not a flat field, and a Hilal is seen over the globe in 24 hours the same way we see the sun in 24 hours.
Counting a whole country (48 contiguous states in the USA) a "united Matla'" is a recent practice, based on a Maslaha.)
1. Only the moon at conjunction phase can be accurately calculated, but not the Hilal.
2. Accurate calculation of the “conjunction” was known for more than 2,500 years. Babylonians, Chinese, Hindus, and others used the conjunction based lunar calendars.
3. Jewish calendar was based on Hilal-sighting. But Hilel II changed the Jewish calendar to “Calculated by the conjunction-at-Jerusalem” some 2,300 year ago. This calendar was used by the Jews in Medina, and is still in use everywhere by the Jews. (Spier)
4. Arabs tribes used their “sighted-moon” based calendars (Tawqeet by Ishaq al-Nabi).
5. The Prophet (S) fasted the first Ashura in Medina by the Jewish calendar (Ahadith).
6. After Ramadan fasting became obligatory, the Prophet (S) tried to follow the Arab tradition of the “sighted moon”. The friction with the Medina Jews started for both the “sighted vs. calculated” start of the lunar month, and “Nasi”.
7. The Jews started questioning his “Prophet-hood”. (How could he be a ‘navi’ (“Nabi”) when he could not even tell the start of the month?) (Tabari and other Tafaasir on “Shaan al-Nuzuul of Aayah 2:189)
8. The Prophet (S) categorically instructed: La Tasuumu hatta tarawul Hilala, wa la tuftiru…fa in ghumma alaikum…. (Several versions, with “Ghumma, Ghubbiya, etc.)
9. Muslims have been preparing Islamic calendar for hundreds of years based on “sighted moon”, but their fixed dates were never “final” and had to be adjusted by the sighting.
10. Ulema of the Ummah consistently rejected the calculations for fixing Islamic dates as they were “estimation”, and not “Qatai”. A few lesser-known Fuqaha allowed it as an “aid” to sighting.
11. According to Ibn Taymiya: “Those who rely on the calculation (for the Hilal) have gone astray in Shari’ah, invented a “bid’ah” in the religion, and are misconceived intellectually, and in the field of Hisaab.”
1. Local visibility in 48 contiguous US states is easy to calculate since 1978 (Dr. Abdali).
2. For a fixed Islamic calendar for N. America, Monzur / RGO’s (MoonCal) "A" parabola fulfils the “general visibility” Islamic criterion. For a 90% certainty of sighting B, C, and D curves should be excluded. (For example, Sha'ban 1427 moon’s sighting reports on August 24, 2006 from all over the world confirm that hundreds of experienced observers who attempted did not see the moon from Miami to California though the “A” curve covered parts of southern USA)
3. Sightability or expected visibility has no basis in Shari’ah to start a month. Experts considerably differ about when a moon would become visible. CFCO Intl. always projected its dates based on "near 100% visibility somewhere in North America" and the calculated dates proved accurate by consistent observations since 1981.
4. A simple way to check a sighting claim is: "Seen at a place X MUST BE SEEN at Y and all other locations west of X within the parabola."
ISNA Fiqh Council argues that:
“Sighting of the Hilal“ is not required by Shari’ah;
“Calculated” dates based on “Sightability” determine the Islamic dates; and
For the US “Matla” should be extended from London to 180W.
All three have no validity in Shari’ah, and are tantamount to abandoning the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the practice of the Ummah.
For the last 28 years, ISNA (earlier MSA) Fiqh Council has diligently pursued only one goal: Synchronize the Islamic dates in the USA with those of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. First it replaced the “Ru’yah” in 1978 by the “News from any Muslim country” (Kahf). Then it used the “local vs. united” Fiqhi positions to justify its wrong decisions. Since 1986 ISNA astronomers often attested sightings from dubious observers. Last year it seriously thought about “6.5 degree elongation” proposal to scuttle the Hilal requirement. Now it has proposed “the Conjunction before 12:00noon GMT” criterion to get rid of the Qur’anic injunction about the Hilal.
May Allah guide all of us to the right thought process and follow the established Shari’ah norms for correctly fixing the Islamic dates and months. Ameen.