Sighting of Moon a Must – ‘Ulema Board
Sighting of moon a must, Ulema board
MAKKAH – The Board of Senior Ulema dismissed the idea of determining the beginning of Ramadan with astronomic calculations without visibly sighting the month’s crescent, Al-Madina reported.
The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Aal Sheikh, said astronomic calculations are based on mathematical equations and are not acceptable in terms of fasting. He said the Prophet’s (pbuh) Hadith of “Fast at its sighting” and the one of “Do not fast until you sight it” were clear and decisive.
The Board finished discussing the issue last Tuesday and concluded to continue depending on sighting the crescent since only three members agreed on using the mathematical calculations instead.
‘Fasting begins only after moon sighted’
MAKKAH: The Saudi Council of Senior Scholars has rejected the demand that the beginning and end of lunar months should be determined on the basis of astronomical calculations.
“Shariah does not accept astronomical calculations based on mathematical computing as the basis for the beginning and ending of Ramadan,” said Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, grand mufti of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the council.
“If anyone doubts our moon-sighting, fasting and feasting, it betrays his weak faith and defective perception,” the grand mufti, who is head of the Administration of Research in Religious Sciences and Fatwa said. He cited a Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which says, “You start fasting when you see (the moon) and stop it when you sight (the next moon) and when it is hidden by clouds, complete (30 days of) fasting.”
The grand mufti added that it is obligatory on the Muslims to start fasting when any Muslim known for his honesty and healthy eyesight claims to have sighted the new moon. This is the practice in the Kingdom, he said, dismissing suggestion that Muslims may depend on astronomical calculations to begin fasting in Ramadan and celebrate Eid.
It is the Supreme Judicial Council that announces the sighting of the new moon to mark the beginning of Rajab (seventh month of the Islamic calendar), Shaaban (the month preceding Ramadan), Ramadan, and the three months following it, Al-Madinah newspaper reported.
The senior scholars’ council concluded a series of discussions on the issue and came to the conclusion on Tuesday that sighting of the moon should be the basis of a month’s beginning though three of its members supported the idea of depending on astronomical calculations.