Did you start your ramadhan o­n the 26th or o­n the 27th of October (2003)..and why?
· The Islamic Aqeedah is the basis for ALL muslims irrelevant of time and place, and is the “glue” that unites muslims. But then why are we still seeing the ummah bickering over beliefs or Islamic practices?
· What is the Shari’i’ rulings regarding local and international moon sightings for the beginning and end of ramadhan?

· Did you start your ramadhan o­n the 26th or o­n the 27th of October (2003)..and why?
We work for a day when this question is no longer asked. We grieve when we hear that Muslims around the world start and end Ramadhan o­n different days and this is symbolic of our disunity. It really brings home to us how the absence of the Khaleefah ensures that this situation exists year after year. In the absence of the Khilafah we still have to implement the Shar’ii rule which states that ‘sight when you see it and break fast when you see it’, when o­ne Muslim sights the moon, the entire Islamic ummah needs to fast, so we fast when hear of this, but this is a temporary measure in the absence of the Khilafah. The point at issue is not when I or you started fasting but whether we followed the Shar’ii rule in doing so.

· The Islamic Aqeedah is the basis for ALL muslims irrelevant of time and place, and is the “glue” that unites muslims. But then why are we still seeing the ummah bickering over beliefs or Islamic practices?
As Muslims differences have always existed and this did not in any way disrupt their. Even at the time of the Sahabah (Ridhwan Allahu alaihim) they differed over the manner by which certain acts of Ibadah should be performed, or even over whether the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam’s) Isra wal Me’raj was a journey by body or vision. This did not lead to Muslims attacking each other for holding opinions at odds with each other. As for any opinion that we hold and any action that we perform, it must be directed by the Islamic evidences for it to be viewed as an Islamic opinion. If there is an Islamic evidence attached to an opinion in a sincere way not through twisting, it can be held and practiced. If someone holds an opinion for example concerning man’s inherent and absolute right to express his views and that also means that he can renounce Islam once he has accepted it, this is not considered to be an Islamic opinion, this is because Rasool Allah SalAllahu alaihi wasallam commanded the Muslims to kill the one who renounces (Murtad) his deen.

Yet we should understand the too readily used statement by some that he has a different Aqeeda to myself, means as you rightly put it that the Iman of the very person targeted by this statement is under question. In other words the statement he has a different Aqeeda to me means he is saying someone is not a Muslim. What is the evaluation for this statement? Is it that someone is rejecting a definite Ayah of the Qur’an? If this is the case then the statement has merit only if the rejecter understands the implications of this course and he is not driven by ignorance. We should also realise that a difference in the approach to Ahkam is different to rejection of Aqeeda matters. The Ahkam Shari’ah are the laws of the Legislator (Allah) regarding the actions of his servants, conforming to these does not make someone a Muslim. If a non-Muslim were to accept the Ahkam of Allah without accepting the Aqeeda of a Muslim, he could never be counted as a Muslim. The Asl (Base) of the Aqeeda determines that someone is Muslim or not, is the Iman in Allah, His angels, His books, His Messengers, the day of resurrection, the good and the Al-Qadhaa wal Qadr being from Allah whether good or bad. The Iman in the Aqeeda is that which conforms to reality and which results from evidence. This is what makes someone Muslim, a rejection of any one or more of these is tantamount to rejection of the Aqeeda and leads to the person rejecting Islam. If someone adds to the base of the Aqeeda without subtracting from its core he is sinful.

As Muslims we are plunged into a situation where legitimate differences which are sincerely based upon the Islamic evidences are a source for dispute. On some occasions this may lead Muslims to fighting each other or even killing one another, this aids nobody but the Munafiqeen rulers and the enemies of the Muslims the Kuffar Colonialists. From the Shar’iah principles we understand that ‘Amrul Imam Yarfa’ul Khilaaf’ ‘The imam solves the disputes’. It is the Imam (Khaleefah) who has the right and the practical position to solve disputes that may lead to Muslim fractionalisation. This unity is safeguarded by a number of ways:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’aala) has given the Khaleefah the sole right to adopt from Islam those Ahkam which Muslims must apply. This is derived from the Ijm’aa Al-Sahabah (consensus of the Sahabah), he has the right to adopt in the areas regarding the management of the peoples affairs. For example, when Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (RadiAllahu anhu) became Khaleefah he held the opinion that the funds should be distributed equally amongst all of the Muslims, Umar al-Farooq (RadiAllahu anhu) disagreed with this, he felt that the Muslims who had fought against RasoolAllah SalAllahu alaihi wasallam in their Jahilliyah (When they hadn’t accepted Islam) should not be given of the funds equal to those who had fought alongside him from the start. Whilst Umar disagreed with Abu Bakr’s opinion he accepted that as Khaleefah it was the only opinion that could be applied and any laxness or disobedience in this matter would be an act of sin. When Umar became Khaleefah he adopted the opinion he was convinced of. They were both Islamic opinions, because they were extracted from the evidences, but the respective Khaleefah’s opinion was implemented and this unified the Muslims on the ruling of Allah.

As for the types of matters that you refer to such as Milad an-Nabi or issues related to innovated practices which are not founded upon the Islamic evidences, the Khaleefah has the right to prohibit them as they ultimately do not lead to the unification of the Muslims upon the Islamic evidences. Once he has adopted the opinion whether any Muslim is in agreement or disagreement with it, he is obliged to obey it otherwise he is sinful and the state can levy a punishment for the flouting of a law.

In the absence of the Khilafah we will forever be dispersed sheep without the Shephard to unify our direction and our obedience to Allah will not be comprehensive.

May Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’aala) allow the victory to be a near eventuality and may we also not halt our work in the path of re-establishing the Khilafah. Editorial Team

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· What is the Shari’i’ rulings regarding local and international moon sightings for the beginning and end of ramadhan?
I pray that this answer reaches you whilst Allah’s blessings are being showered upon you and your family in this most blessed of months. I also pray that you don’t mind that we have answered your questions together as both are two parts of the same question.

This month is about rekindling the concept of obedience to Allah although obviously not exclusively so. Yet the first action that we start our Ramadhan on and end it is upon is the sighting of the moon. The sighting of the moon is clearly the Sabab (cause) for the start and end of Ramadhan.

RasoolAllahu alaihi wasallam said,

صوموا لرؤيته وأفطروا لرؤيته، فإن غُبِّيَ عليكم فأكملوا عدّة شعبان ثلاثين يوماً
“Fast at its sight and break fast at its sight it. If it (the moon) was clouded over, then complete the thirty days”.

صوموا لرؤيته وأفطروا لرؤيته، فإن غُمَّ عليكم فأكملوا العدّة ثلاثين
“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.”

إ نّما الشهر تسع وعشرون، فلا تصوموا حتى تروه، فإن غُمَّعليكم فاقدروا له
“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 Ahadith clearly indicate that the legal cause (As-Sabab as-Shar’ee) of the start of Ramadhan is the sight of the moon of Ramadhan and the legal cause for Eid al-Fitr is the sight of the Moon of Shawaal. The Speech of Al-Shari (the lawgiver) in these Ahadith is an address to all Muslims regardless of geographical location or the artificial borders that surround us. The address is general so that there is no difference between the Muslims of Iraq and those in Indonesia, or the Muslims of Hijaz or the Muslims of Sudan. The words صوموا… وأفطروا (fast…break…)
The word لرؤيته [ru’yateeh] (at its sight) is a generic noun (ism jins) added to a pronoun, which means the sighting of the moon by any person.

However other ahadith have come to restrict the sightings to Muslims alone.

رُوي عن ابن عباس أنّه قال: «جاء أعرابي إلى النبي فقال: رأيت الهلال، فقال: أتشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأنّ محمداً رسول الله، قال: نعم، فنادى النبي أن صوموا».
It was narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas that “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) and said ‘I saw the moon’. The Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) 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 (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) called upon us to fast”.

This indicates that it is enough for one Muslim to sight the moon in order for all the Muslims throughout the world to be obliged to begin or end their fast. If someone concludes that the declaration by Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or any other country is more deserving to be followed, then let him produce his justification for this, did it come in the Prophetic Ahadith, is there Ijma as-Sahabah on it, where did this idea come from. The fasting of Muslims on different days is indicative of the disunity that we find ourselves in with the absence of the Khilafah.

The seriousness of this issue is in the fact that Rasool Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) forbade fasting on the days of Eid – Al Fitr and Al-Adha. This strengthens the importance of the command “and break fast at its sight” to be a command of obligation (Fard) and not merely a recommended (Mandoob) action.
With regards to what some Muslims today refer as a justification for their position of country by country sighting, they point to ikhtilaf al-matali’, despite the fact that the sighting of the moon is an issue of verifying the reality, in the past communications were not what it is today. Communications would sometimes take many days or even weeks to get from one part of the Khilafah to another part, this is something which the scholars of the past took into account when they accepted Ikhtilaf al-Matali. As for those who propose this, we remind of the Hadith

رُوي عن كُريب «أنّ أم الفضل بعثته إلى معاوية بالشام، فقال: فقدمت الشام فقضيت حاجتها واستُهل عليّ رمضان وأنا بالشام فرأيت الهلال ليلة الجمعة، ثم قدمت المدينة في آخر الشهر، فسألني عبد الله بن عباس، ثم ذكر الهلال، فقال: متى رأيتم الهلال؟ فقلت رأيناه ليلة الجمعة، فقال: أنت رأيته؟ فقلت: نعم، ورآه الناس وصاموا وصام معاوية، فقال لكنّا رأيناه ليلة السبت فلا نزال نكمل ثلاثين أو نراه، فقلت: ألا تكتفي برؤية معاوية وصيامه؟ فقال: لا، هكذا أمرنا رسول الله»
Narrated by Kurayb who said that Umm al-Fadl sent him to Muawiyah in ash-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. Abdullah ibn 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 see 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, so we will continue fasting for thirty days or we will see it (the moon of Shawaal)’ I said ‘Is not Muawiyah’s sighting and fasting enough for you?’ He said ‘No, this is how the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) commanded us.”

This is not an Ahkam Shar’iah (divine evidence). It is rather ijtihad by Ibn Abbas regarding the saying of the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam)

صوموا لرؤيته وأفطروا لرؤيته
“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

غُمَّ علينا هلال شوال فأصبحنا صياماً، فجاء ركب من آخر النهار، فشهدوا عند النبي أنهم رأوا الهلال بالأمس، فأمرهم رسول الله أن يفطروا، ثم يخرجوا لعيدهم من الغد
“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 (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) that they had seen the moon the previous day. So the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) 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 (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) ordered them to break the fast 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 the media allows the news of the sighting of the moon to be conveyed far and wide within a minute of the news of the sighting. The sighting has to be by the eyes as that is the legal cause, the use of astronomical calculations is also forbidden.

This is due to the saying of the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam)

إذا رأيتموه فصوموا، وإذا رأيتموه فأفطروا، فإن غُمَّ عليكم فاقدروا له
“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 فإن غُمَّ عليكم “If it was obscured” means if you did not see it by eyesight. As for his (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) saying «فاقدروا له» “estimate it”, it does not mean to refer to astronomical calculations. Rather, it means what the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wasallam) explained in his saying
فإن غُمَّ عليكم فأكملوا العدّة ثلاثين “If it was cloudy over you, then complete the thirty”.

As Muslims living in the absence of the Khilafah, we must adhere to the Ahkam Shariah. As soon as we hear that a single Muslim has sighted the moon of Ramadhan we must start fasting and as soon as we hear that a single Muslim has sighted the moon of Shawaal, we must break fasting and celebrate the day of Eid al-Fitr.

This must also renew our efforts to work to re-establish Allah’s Deen so that the Khaleefah at its head can declare the start of Ramadhan, so that we are united in our obedience to Allah.

وقل اعملوا فسيرى اللّـهُ عملَكُم ورسولُه والمؤمنون، وستُردُّونَ إلى عالِمِ الغيبِ والشهادةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بما كنتم تعملون
“And say: work (righteousness); soon Allah will observe your work and His Messenger and the believers. And soon you will be brought back to the knower of what is hidden and what is open. Then he will show the truth of what you did”.