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Fast at its sight, and break fast at its sight

The fasting of Ramadhan, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, besides being acts of worship which regulate the relationship of Muslims with their Lord, are of the externally visible aspects of the Islamic Ummah. Muslims start fasting together on the same day and they celebrate Eid together on the same day in obedience to the orders of Allah (SWT) which unite them. They do not do this in obedience to the political decisions of the rulers, nor to the hypocritical opinions of the government scholars, which have been designed to divide them.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said "Fast at its sight and break fast atits sight. If it turned out to be cloudy over you, then complete Sha'ban for thirty days". He (SAW) also said "Fast at its sight and break fastat its sight it. If it (the moon) was clouded over, then complete the thirty". He (SAW) said "Indeed the (count of the) month is twenty nine. So don't fast until you see it (the moon). If it was cloudy over you estimate it."These Prophetic ahadeeth are explicit in their indication that the legal cause for the start of Ramadhan is the sight of the moon of Ramadhan and that the legal reason for Eid al-Fitr is the sight of the moon of Shawaal. The speech of the law-giver (Ash-Shari) in these ahadeeth is addressed to all of the Muslims, with no difference between those of ash-Sham and those of al-Hijaz or between those of Indonesia and those of Iraq for the words of the ahadeeth came in the general form where the plural pronouns (Sumoo and Aftiroo) indicate all of the Muslims. The word ru'yateeh (its sight) is a generic noun (ism jins) added to apronoun, which means the sighting of the moon by any person. However there are ahadeeth that restricted this sighting to Muslims. It was narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas that "A Bedouin came to theProphet (SAW) and said 'I saw the moon'. The Prophet (SAW) said 'Do you bear witness there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ?' He answered 'yes'. Then the Prophet (SAW) called upon us to fast". The sighting of the moon of Ramadhan or the moon of Shawaal by a Muslim obliges all the Muslims to fast or break fast, with no difference between a country or another or between a Muslim or another because any Muslim who saw the moon is proof for any who did not see it.

The witnessing by a Muslim in any country is not more deserving than the witnessing by a Muslim in any other country. There is no value of the divisions and borders which the kuffar established in the Muslims' lands, which made it so that the Muslims of Dar'a in Syria start fasting while the people of Ramtha in Jordan do not, although there is nothing between the two cities except imaginary borders drawn by the kuffar since the Khilafah was demolished, and the rulers endeavour that they (the borders) remain.The command in the Messenger's (SAW) ahadeeth regarding the fasting of Ramadhan at the sighting of the moon is an obligation, because it is a command of a duty proved by the saying of Allah (SWT) "The month of Ramadhan, in which Qur'an was revealed as guidance to mankind and also in it are clear signs of guidance and judgement, so everyone of you who is present during the month should spend it fasting". The command of breaking the fasting at the sight of the moon of Shawaal is also an obligation. This is because the Messenger of Allah (SAW) forbade fasting on two days; the day of al-Adha and the day of al-Fitr. Since this forbiddance is either regarded as an act of Mandoub (recommendation) or an act of Fard (obligation), it indicates that the command in his saying "and break the fast at its sight" is an obligation. As for the difference between the regions in which the moon is seen at any particular time ( ikhtilaf al-matali') which some people use as anexcuse, it is an issue of verifying the reality (tahqeeq al Manaat) of the situation in which the Muslims used to live, a subject which previous scholars discussed. Where the Muslims were unable to inform all the territories of the huge Khilafah state in one day of the moon's sighting, it was because the means of media at that time did not make it possible. To some of those who hold to this view we present that which was narrated from Kurayb that Umm al-Fadl sent him to Muawiyah inash-Sham. He said "I came to ash-Sham and executed her mission, and Ramadhan started while I was in ash-Sham. I saw the moon on Friday night. Then I arrived in Al-Madinah at the end of the month. Abdullahibn Abbas asked me about things and about the moon. He said, 'When did you see the moon ?' I said 'we saw it on Friday night'. He said 'Did you seen it yourself ?' I said 'yes and the people saw it and they and Muawiyah started fasting.' He said 'But we saw it on Saturday night, sowe will continue fasting for thirty days or we will see it (the moon ofShawaal)' I said 'Is not Muawiyah's sighting and fasting enough for you?' He said 'No, this is how the Messenger of Allah (SAW) commanded us."This is not a divine evidence. It is rather ijtihad by Ibn Abbas regarding the saying of the Prophet (SAW) "Fast at its sight and breakfasting at its sight." Ibn Abbas did not accept the sighting of the moon by the people of Damascus because the people of Madinah did not see it on the same day. This ijtihad disagrees with the explicit meaning of the hadeeth narrated by a group of Ansaar. The narrator said "The moon of Shawaal was covered by clouds for us, so we woke up the next day fasting. Some travellers came to Madinah toward the end of the day and they gave witness to the Prophet (SAW) that they had seen the moon the previous day. So the Prophet (SAW) ordered them (the people of Madinah) to break the fast and to go out for their Eid the following day". So the Messenger of Allah (SAW) ordered them to break the fasting on a day they thought of as part of (Ramadhan) because some people other than them saw the moon of Shawaal in a place other than al-Madinah al-Munawara, for the travellers saw the moon one day before they arrived in al-Madinah.

Today, however, the media means are available to all the states to convey the news of the moon sighting to the whole world in a few seconds. So Muslims are obliged to start fasting or to break the fasting the moment they hear the news that the moon sighting has been determined from any place on the face of the earth. Whether this sighting was confirmed through a direct sighting, binoculars, glasses, or magnifying-lenses. The valid sighting is by the eyes. There is no value in the astronomical calculations if the eye sight was not proven because there is no legal value in the astronomical calculations in determining the fasting and the breaking of the fast. This is because the legal reason for fasting and the breaking of the fast is the sighting of the moon by the eye. This is due to the saying of the Prophet (SAW) "If you have seen it fast, and if you have seen it break your fast. If it was cloudy over you estimate for it" This saying " If it was obscured" means if you did not see it by eyesight. As for his (SAW) saying "estimate it", it does not mean to refer to astronomical calculations. Rather, it means what the Prophet (SAW) explained in his saying "If it was cloudy over you, then complete the thirty".

Oh Muslims!Disunity on the sighting of the moon is but one of many problems that face the Muslims due to the absence of the Khilafah state, which looks after the affairs of Muslims by the rule of Islam, and unifies them under the flag of La ilaha Il Allah Muhammad dur rasul ullah. So Muslims have to adhere to al Hukm Sharia' in their fasting, in their breaking of the fast and all their actions, even if their rulers did not adhere to it. For there is no obedience to creation in disobedience to the creator. So if the news of the moon sighting for Ramadhan from anywhere on the face of the earth reaches them they must start fasting and if the news of the moon sighting of Shawaal by any Muslim from any where on the face of the earth reaches them they must break their fasting.

The true fundamental solution of all the Muslims' problems is in your power, which is the serious work with the sincere workers to resume the Islamic way of Life by re-establishing the Khilafah state, and appointing a Khalifah who unifies their states and implements the Sharia of Allah (SWT) upon them so they carry with him the message of Islam by Jihad to all mankind, so that the word of the kafireen becomes low and the word of Allah (SWT) becomes high. Thus they live with honour and dignity in the dunya and attain the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and His reward in the Akhira. Allah (SWT) says

"And say: work (righteousness), soon Allah willobserve your work and His Messenger and the believers. And soon youwill be brought back to the knower of what is hidden and what is open.Then he will show the truth of what you did".

25th Shabaan 1419
14 December1998
Hizb-ut-Tahrir

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