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Calculation over moon sighting

Fatwaa ID: 862

Question:
If a Muslim in a Muslim country (Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc) gives witness to a court that he has seen new moon, yet astronomical calculations which are very accurate when it comes to sunset, moonset times and time of birth of astronomical new moon takes place. While calculations suggest it was not possible as birth of new moon has not taken place.
Can Qadi of court reject scientific data and accept witness in this situation?

(This is one of the reason why we as Ummah are having two Eids, apart from Ummah’s global authority Khilafah which is missing).

Answer:
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

At the outset, we wish to point out that your conclusion and alleged premise are incorrect. Islam does not demand uniformity from us. It demands unity. It is possible to maintain unity while having Eid on different days. This was always the practice for the last 14 centuries and continues to be till today in most places. A country would commence their month and also observe their Eid based on their local moon sighting. No one followed the sighting of another place. No “calculation” method was adopted. This was the situation even when the caliphate was present.

Nevertheless, the Ahaadith advise us to search for and observe the crescent on the 29th after Maghrib. If we are unable to see it for whatever reason such as due to it not coming up or due to a cloudy sky, then the month is completed as 30 days. There is no need or reason to adopt calculation. That is indeed a bid’ah which results in abandoning the Ahaadith of sighting.

It is from the sunnah for the people to go out and observe the crescent. This has many benefits, including bonding and building unity. It also makes a person more skillful.

Eye witness in the court holds more importance than “scientific data”. The former is primary while the latter is secondary. Furthermore, it is important to remember that our Deen is simple, easy, practical and applicable to people of all spectrums and backgrounds.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York
https://askthemufti.us/

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين

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