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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
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Assalamu alaikum There has emerged a group
in my country, who claim that the Prophet
(pbuh) never ordered for the Islamic month
to be started by the sighting of the first
crescent. They claim this is a bid'a and
sighting of the first crescent or Hilal is a
'satanic suggestion'. They re-interpret the
hadith of the Prophet(pbuh) 'ruya' to mean
as 'to know' rather than 'to see' and state
that for 1400 years, no one understood the
meanings of the verses on this matter
(2:185) and hadith on this matter. They start
fasting and break fasting based on the
astronomical conjunction. Can these people
be considered as part of Ahl sunna Wal
Jamaath or just mubtadis?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the
Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of
worship except Allah, and that Muhammad
is His slave and Messenger.

We have already issued Fataawa clarifying
that what is considered in determining the
beginning of the month is the actual sighting
of the crescent or by completing the month
of Sha'baan 30 days as there are many
authentic narrations proving this.
Undoubtedly, it is an innovation to claim
that the nation was not able (since 1400
years) to understand the verse of Allah and
the Prophetic narration, which you referred
to in the question. The nation, all perfect
praise be to Allah, understood from the
verse that "whoever sights the month,"
means he is present during the month of
Ramadan, then he is obliged to observe the
fast as long as he is resident (not travelling)
and in good health (not sick).

The saying of Prophet : " Observe the
fasting according to the sighting of the
crescent (of the month of Ramadan) ", refers
to really seeing it by one's own eyes, and not
by calculating it astrologically, and this is
what the wording obviously means, as
calculation is not called sighting. Therefore,
whoever says that the meaning of sighting in
the narration refers to astrological
calculation, is required to provide evidence
as he is taking the meaning of the word out
of its proper context. What proves that the
Prophet meant the sighting by one's
own eyes is his saying: " We are an illiterate
nation; we can neither write nor know how
to calculate. The month is like this and
this" (raising his fingers to indicate that it is
sometimes of 29 days and other times of 30
days) . [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Therefore, whoever says this, is required to
repent to Allah and whoever has religious
knowledge should clarify to him the truth
with wisdom and soft words. Then, if he
repents, this is what is required, but if
insists on his statement after establishing the
evidence against him, then he is an innovator
and he innovated something new for the
Allah Knows best.


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