IMPORTANCE OF MOONSIGHTING
Sighting of the new moon is of great significance in Islam. Sadly we
have become the slaves of our desire and easily accept telephonic
messages from outside our city as proof to keep fast and make Eid.
This is totally incorrect and against the Shariat. The beautiful Sunnat
of going out to see the moon has been almost eradicated in our
community as we now solely rely on telephonic messages passed on
to us from other parts of the country.
The Holy Prophet has stated, Commence fasting by seeing the
moon and end fasting (celebrate Eid) by seeing the moon, and if the
skies are cloudy then complete the counting of thirty days. (Bukhari,
Muslim). We sit in our homes today, waiting for news of sighting
from Cape Town. Almost none of us go out to really scan the skies
and attain the reward for this great Sunnah.
It must be noted that according to the Shariah, there are two general
concepts in this discussion. One being “Khabr” (News) and the other
being Shahaadat (Testimony). Khabr is not sufficient for the
commencement of Eid, but testimony is absolutely necessary and the
decision of Islam is based on this testimony.
When we receive telephonic messages from other towns informing
us that the moon has been sighted, this is not regarded as testimony
but it is merely a message, a kind of news that can be true or false.
According to the Islamic Shariat, two people from that town who
saw the moon should come to the next town (such as Durban) and
give witness before the Muslim Authority there.
They need to testify that they have seen the moon and that they give
testimony accordingly. The other method is for those who see to
make two others witness onto what they have said and those two will
come to Durban and testify on the basis of the testimony passed on to
them by the actual persons who saw the moon. Another method is
where the Muslim Chief Justice (Qaadi) of one town sends a sealed
letter mentioning that proper testimony of moonsighting has taken
place before him and that he has accepted this testimony.
This letter must be brought to the other town (such as Durban) by
two witnesses appointed by the Qaadi and they in turn should hand it
over to the Qaadi of the next town and they should testify to what
they have brought. The Qaadi of the next town (such as Durban) still
has the right to accept or reject the testimony. It must also be noted
that those giving testimony must be credible witnesses according to
Shariat. They should not be Faasiq Mul’in (open sinners).
The issue of testimony in moon sighting is very simple to
understand. I would like to present two worldly examples before you,
for the sake of better understanding the ruling of testimony for
confirmation of moon sighting:
Example: A person witnessed a murder in Durban and after a few
days had to go to Cape Town on urgent business. He hears of the
court case taking place in Durban and decides to testify in the said
case. He telephones the Judge and introduces himself and request
permission to testify on the phone.
Will the courts allow him to telephone them from Cape Town and
tell them that he has witnessed the murder, and that he would like his
testimony to be the means for the prosecution and sentencing of the
said murderer and the main source of influence on the decision of the
Judge in the said case?
Absolutely not! The courts will not take the testimony of someone
who has not been present before the Judge and Jury or of someone
who just claims to be a witness. The court will require him to be
present during the trial to testify to the said crime. The judge will
then decide whether the testimony is valid and is without any doubt
correct. Only after this, will the judge render his decision. If the
judge is not satisfied with the testimony or if it is proven that the
witness is not a credible witness, then the judge will have the right to
reject his testimony even though he is before the judge.
Do that which is correct and which pleases Allah and His Rasool .
Do not do wrong because you do not wish to be slandered by people.
Did the people not slander the Prophet when he passed the
Message of Islam? Did they not try to assassinate him? Did they not
beat him? History bears testimony to the hardship and persecution
that the Prophet faced when he announced the truth.
Are we so weak that we cannot announce the true command of the
Holy Prophet ? Do we wish to throw away this great Sunnah of the
Prophet just for the sake of materialistic convenience? Search
Deep into your hearts and see what is right, the word of the Prophet
or the words of ordinary men? I am sure that you will have no
doubt in your mind that the true word is the word of the Prophet .
If the moon is not sighted in your town or city and the proper
testimony of sighting does not reach you, then keep an additional fast
and make Eid the following day. How fortunate are we if Ramadaan
stays with us for one more day. Why are we in so much of a hurry to
say farewell to the month of blessings and mercy? Do not follow the
masses; follow the Prophet . Today we have a misconception that
we need to follow the Majority.
We do not even understand what majority refers to. On the plains of
Karbala, Imam Hussain (Allah is pleased with him) and his followers
were very few in number compared to the Army of Yazid and Ibn
Ziyaad, who also claimed to be Muslims. Did Imam Hussain (Allah
be pleased with him) follow them because they seemed to be the
No, He followed that which was the command of Allah and His
Rasool . In reality, it was Imam Hussain (Allah be pleased with
him) and his followers that were the Majority and not those who
seemed more in numbers. When looking for the majority, the
yardstick that should be used to measure the majority must be
When looking for the Majority, first, we look for the amount of
Muslims in that locality. We then need to have an idea of how many
amongst them are practicing Muslims. Then, we need to see who are
the pious practicing Muslims are. These are the people who will be
regarded as the Majority.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam! This Ramadaan and Eid, Keep in
mind what has been mentioned and make a decision sincerely based
on the Pleasure of Allah and His Rasool and not a decision based
on following the so called majority for the purpose of convenience.
If one revives a Sunnah of the Prophet in a time when people stop
practicing it, he or she will receive the reward of one hundred
May Almighty Allah through the blessings of Our Beloved Prophet
bless us with doing what is right and not that which just feels right
to our Nafs (Desire). Aameen