Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ramadaan & Hilal

A couple of weeks ago, nine Islamic centers in Chicago announced their decision to follow the Fiqh Council of North America regarding the moonsighting. This seems to have caused panic among hardcore moonsighters. There are issuing one fatwa after another with their sole intention to have as many as Muslims  follow naked eye moonsighting regardless they remain divided like east and west.

Why don't these muftis come to live in the present time? Did Allah give them the hijri calendar only for Ramadan fasts and hajj? 

How would they run an airline business if someone told them to use only the hijri calendar? They will have no choice but to use the calendar developed by a Christian leader named Pope Gregory XIII. 

These muftis do not realize how fed up general Muslim population is about this issue.

What is wrong with calculations? After all to start the new month they are still using the formation of the new moon, which is controlled by Allah. All that has happened is that humans have gained knowledge that allows them to determine new moon formation many years in advance. It is the magnificence of Allah's creation that is so perfect that human beings can use it predict the start of the months years in advance.

These muftis say it is just for convenience some people want calculations.  It is beyond convenience now. It is now an issue of unity, which is fard. 

These muftis should ponder on this: If Allah really wanted the months to start on different days in different areas, what area is the privileged area to get the Lailatul-Qadr because I would want to spend that night there and reap the reward of 1,000 months in just that night. Then I would go  to the area where the Lailatul Qadr is on the following night and reap the reward of another 1,000 months. If I got lucky and a cloud cover caused the Ramadan to start late in some area, I could get my third reward of 1,000 months.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Eid, moonsighting & rebellion

Narrator: Abdullah ibn Abbas
Sahih Muslim
Hadith_No 2391
Kurayb said: Umm Fadl, daughter of Harith, sent him (Fadl, i.e. her son) to Mu'awiyah in Syria. I (Fadl) arrived in Syria, and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to Medina at the end of the month. Abdullah ibn Abbas asked me (about the new moon of Ramadan) and said: When did you see it? I said: We saw it on Friday night. He said: (Did) you see it yourself? I said: Yes, and the people also saw it so they observed fast and Mu'awiyah also observed fast. Thereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. So we shall continue to observe the fast until we complete thirty (fasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sighting of the moon by Mu'awiyah not valid for you? He said: No; this is how the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has commanded us. Yahya ibn Yahya was in doubt (whether the word used in the narration by Kurayb) was Naktafi or Taktafi.

Narrator: Ibn 'Umar
Sahih Bukhari
Hadith 2:359
When 'Abdullah bin Ubai (the chief of hypocrites) died, his son came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Apostle, Please give me your shirt to shroud him in it, offer his funeral prayer and ask for Allah's forgiveness for him." So Allah's Apostle (pbuh) gave his shirt to him and said, "Inform me (When the funeral is ready) so that I may offer the funeral prayer." So, he informed him and when the Prophet intended to offer the funeral prayer, 'Umar took hold of his hand and said, "Has Allah not forbidden you to offer the funeral prayer for the hypocrites? The Prophet said, "I have been given the choice for Allah says: '(It does not avail) Whether you (O Muhammad) ask forgiveness for them (hypocrites), or do not ask for forgiveness for them. Even though you ask for their forgiveness seventy times, Allah will not forgive them. (9.80)" So the Prophet offered the funeral prayer and on that the revelation came: "And never (O Muhammad) pray (funeral prayer) for any of them (i.e. hypocrites) that dies." (9. 84)

From the above two ahadith, we need to take a different lesson. 

In the first hadith, Kurayb had a difference of opinion with Abdullah ibn Abbas about the moonsighting. He explained to him his opinion. Ibn Abbas did not accept his opinion. Then what happened? Kurayb celebrated eid on a date picked by Ibn Abbas.

In the second hadith, Umar ibn Khattab had a difference of opinion with the Prophet, pbuh. He vehemently conveyed his opinion to the Prophet so much so he took hold of his hand. The Prophet did not accept his opinion. What did Umar do? He prayed the funeral prayers.

In both cases, there was no rebellion even when there was a difference of opinion. They followed their leaders after their efforts failed.

What do we do these days about eid? The first thing we do is to look for a mosque that celebrates eid on the date you like deserting your community and many times times your family. If you do not find a mosque with the date matching yours, you gather like-minded people and arrange for an eid prayer on your date.  This is in plain words "rebellion," which is haraam. 

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The best among your rulers are those whom you love and they love you in turn, those who pray (make supplication) for you and you pray for them. The worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and they hate you in turn, and you curse them and they curse you.” 

Someone asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Shall we confront them with swords?” 

The Prophet (pbuh said: “No, as long as they hold prayers among you. If you see from your rulers what you hate, hate the action they do but do not rebel against them.” [Sahîh Muslim

Hudhayfah b. al-Yamân asked the Prophet (pbuh): “O Messenger of Allah, we were living in an evil (atmosphere) and Allah brought us good (Islam) and we live in it now. Will there be evil after this good?” 

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Yes.” 

Hudhayfah b. al-Yamân said: “And any good after this evil?” 

He said: “Yes.” 

Hudhayfah b. al-Yamân said: “And any evil after this good?” 

He said: “Yes.” Hudhayfah said: “How will it be?” 

He said: “Rulers after me will come who do not abide by my guidance and Sunnah. Some of their men will have Satan’s heart in a human’s body.” 

Hudhayfah said: “What should I do, O Messenger of Allah, if I live to see that time?” 

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “You should listen and obey them even if the ruler smites your back and takes your wealth.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim] 

Remember, unity is fard. Moonsighting is lesser than fard. Follow your leader and stay with your community. Give up on this idea of holding your own eid salah.


And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided. (The Noble Qur'an, Surah Al-Imran, Vese 103).

Friday, July 18, 2014

Moonsighting: Missing hadith

I have not come across any hadith where RasoolUllah, pbuh, himself went out or climbed a hill to sight the crescent. I have not seen even one where he instructed the sahaba to do this. He questioned them if anyone saw the crescent but did not issue specific orders to go out and climb a hill or a high spot to sight the moon. Neither are there ahadith about sahaba going to a hill in a group and gazing at the sky and waiting for the crescent to appear and some of them seeing the crescent and some not (like we do in India and Pakistan) If this was so crucial, why didn't he do it? If anyone knows of such a hadith, please send me the hadith with reference.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ramadan Moonsighting: Mosques Uniting

As Salaam Alaikum. A few mosques in Central New Jersey formed a new alliance this year, and they started Ramadan on Saturday June 28, 2014 using Yemen's moon-sighting. I wish they had followed the Fiqh Council of North America because I believe it constitutes a local sighting (being an American organization) while using the global sighting criteria. 

Everywhere, the structure of unity should start from smaller units (local organizations) to the bigger units (global organizations). It is good that neighboring mosques are forming a union. But these should follow the order of a state organization (I don't know if they exist in any state in the US), which should follow a national organization (Fiqh Council or ISNA being the perfect example). In Islam, this is demonstrated by the weekly Jumuah (local eid when the smaller masajid close for salaat in the jamai masjid), the annual eidul fitr (a state level or national level gathering in a big open ground) or the once in a lifetime Hajj (a global gathering),

Also, the orders should flow from top to bottom. The global organization should issue an order to be followed by everyone in the world. In the absence of that, the national organization should issue an order to be followed by the people of that nation. In the absence of that, a state organization should issue  an order to be followed by all residents of the state. Anyone who disobeys this is actually a rebel. 

And I see a total rebellion and anarchy among Muslims regarding the moon-sighting. This anarchy and rebellion is displayed by each organization forming its own moon-sighting committee. I believe the moon-sighting job belongs to a higher organization ( a state level or a national level organization) rather than a local neighborhood masjid. May be this is what was taught to us by Hazrath Abdullah Ibn Abbas  (RA) in the Kurayb hadith.

So in the example below, I wished they had followed Fiqh Council instead of going crazy over who saw the moon in the world and eventually following the doubtful Yemen.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Moon sighting and the permissibility of calculations

I watched a video of a lecture by Sheikh Tahirul Quadri ( on moon sighting. He says that it is perfectly permissible to calculate the moon sighting.

He explains that we need to study the ahadith to see if there was any room in them to permit calculations. He quotes several ahadith, of which a couple of them are mentioned below.

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكٌ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ دِينَارٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ "‏ الشَّهْرُ تِسْعٌ وَعِشْرُونَ لَيْلَةً، فَلاَ تَصُومُوا حَتَّى تَرَوْهُ، فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ ثَلاَثِينَ ‏"‏‏.

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The month (can be) 29 nights (i.e. days), and do not fast till you see the moon, and if the sky is overcast, then complete Sha'ban as thirty days."  (Sahih al-Bukhari  Volume 3, Book 30 Hadith 1907)
حَدَّثَنَا آدَمُ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ زِيَادٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ يَقُولُ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَوْ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو الْقَاسِمِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ صُومُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ، وَأَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ، فَإِنْ غُبِّيَ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَكْمِلُوا عِدَّةَ شَعْبَانَ ثَلاَثِينَ ‏"‏‏.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and give up fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete thirty days of Sha'ban." Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1909

Shaikh Tahirul Qadri says the main word used in these ahadith is "ra'a," which many interpreters say means "sighting with an eye." But he says this word "ra'a" has several meanings other than "sighting with the eye" including calculations.

To explain this, he uses the example of Surah Feel where the word "ra'a" is used:

Have you (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) not seen how your Lord dealt with the Owners of the Elephant?

In this verse, Allah is asking Prophet (peace be upon him) whether he "saw" an event that happened before his birth. Shaikh Qadri says, here the word "ra'a" does not mean actually "seeing" but rather it means "knowledge."

I have come across some web sites that have tried to say that the word "ra'a," when applied to tangible objects like moon, meant only naked eye sighting.

From where did they take the meaning that the word "ra'a" when used for tangible objects like "moon" applied to only visual sightings? The Qur'an uses the same word regarding the sun, the moon and the stars for a dream. Please read the Surah Yusuf, where Yusuf, peace be upon him, describes to his father that he saw the sun, the moon and the stars prostrating to him.

 (Remember) when Yûsuf (Joseph) said to his father: "O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon,— I saw them prostrating themselves to me."

If we used their definition of the word "ra'a" it would mean that the sun, the moon and the stars literally prostrated to him and Yusuf, peace be upon him, saw that with his naked eyes.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eid and Moonsighting: The Moon Anarchy

Hudhayfah b. al-Yamaan asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Messenger of Allah, we were living in an evil (atmosphere) and Allah brought us good (Islam) and we live in it now. Will there be evil after this good?” 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Yes.” 

Hudhayfah b. al-Yamaan said: “And any good after this evil?” 

He said: “Yes.” 

Hudhayfah b. al-Yamaan said: “And any evil after this good?” 

He said: “Yes.” Hudhayfah said: “How will it be?” 

He said: “After me, rulers will come who will not abide by my guidance and Sunnah. Some of their men will have Satan’s heart in a human’s body.” 

Hudhayfah said: “What should I do, O Messenger of Allah, if I lived to see that time?” 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “You should listen and obey them even if the ruler smites your back and takes your wealth.”  (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim) 

In New Jersey, USA, there are two masaajid where we have groups of Muslims who are proudly rebelling against their community.

The Piscataway masjid has announced Eidul Adha to be on October 15, 2013. A group of rebel Muslims have arranged for another eid salaah on October 16, 2013 in the same masjid. The funny thing is, this rebel group thinks of itself as qualified enough to call for a rebellion against the eid date, yet not qualified enough to have anyone in them to lead the salaah. So they had to recruit an Imam from a different masjid, who will lead the eid salaah two days in a row.

In Trenton, New Jersey, it is opposite. The masjid has announced the Eidul Adha to be on October 16, 2013. There too many Muslims have abandoned their community to celebrate Eid on October 15, 2013. At least there, the Eid salaah is not in the same masjid.

I call this behavior "the moon anarchy." It is same as the people of Musa, AS, told him, "You and your God go ahead and fight and liberate the Palestine." And they were lost for 40 years in the desert.

In the hadith I quoted above, RasoolUllah, Peace be upon him, is commanding the Muslims to listen and obey their rulers even if they smite their backs and rob them. But here there is no such pressure from anyone.

I was just wondering how would these Muslims behave in a battle field. They will rush to disobey  their bosses just like the people of Musa did.

Why does each masjid have to have "a moon sighting committee?" Can't they get along with their neighboring masjid?

The Muslims need to understand the priorities. The fard has the highest priority. Then comes the Sunnah. And the Muslim unity is a fard.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Moonsighting: Are We Making the Hijri Calendar Obsolete?

In the forums I have had discussion with various people about the moon sighting. I talk in favor of calculations. Their immediate response would be, “Our deen is perfect. We don’t need any modifications to our calendar.” I reply, “Yes, our deen is perfect. That’s why it suits every generation. And no scientific and technological advancement can make Islamic things obsolete.  But by insisting on the naked-eye moon sighting, we have made the Hijri calendar obsolete with no use except for starting and ending our fasts and going to Hajj.  Even if we try, we cannot use the Hijri calendar for our worldly life. In doing so, we have made ourselves dependent on the Gregorian calendar so much so that we do not even realize that we are so much dependent on a non-Islamic calendar.” I will you give you an example.

Everybody these days travels by airplanes and for that they book seats, sometimes months in advance. More than often, they change planes midway. Now let’s say you want to use Hijri calendar to book your seats.  You want to travel from New York to Karachi via Dubai on Shabaan 30th. Now the fun begins.

  1. The agent says, “Sorry sir, we cannot book any flights on Shabaan 30th because there is no guarantee of Shabaan 30th.” 
  2. Then you ask the agent to book the seat on Ramadan 1st. “The agent says, “Sorry sir, we are not sure when the Ramadan 1st is going to be.”
  3.  Out of frustration, you tell the agent to book a flight on Ramadan 15th. And you show up at the New York airport. The agent says, “Sorry sir, but you are one day late. Today is Ramadan 16th.” But you insist it is Ramadan 15th. The agent replies, “The airline runs as per the Dubai dates. And in Dubai it is Ramadan 16th today.”
  4. In frustration you cancel the ticket. And you book another flight for Ramadan 25th. This time you use United Airlines because you do not want the date confusion. You show up at the New York airport on Ramadan 25th. The agent tells you, “Sorry sir, but you came one day too early.” You dispute the date. The agent explains, “This airline is based in Chicago. They started Ramadan a day later than New York.”
  5. Then you change your mind and try to reserve a seat on Emirates believing that travel via Dubai will not be as confusing since the whole trip will be based on Dubai dates. The agent explains to you your itinerary: “Sir, you leave New York on Ramadan 29th. Your connecting flight to Karachi is on Shawwal 1st. In case they did not see the moon, there will not be any connecting flights at Dubai since it will be Ramadan 30th in Dubai, and we do not fly any flights on the 30th of the month because there is no guarantee of the 30th day in any month.”
  6. Since you were desperate to travel, you leave on Ramadan 29th. When you reached Dubai, you find that you reached Dubai on Shawwal 2nd. You are shocked and demand an explanation. The agent explains, “Sir, the last month there was a mistake in the moon sighting. So the king adjusted the date. Please do not worry, the king paid the kaffara on everybody’s behalf.”
  7. After some arguments with the airline's agents, you board the flight to Karachi. When you arrive in Karachi, you find yourself back in Ramadan and see people in a state of fast. And they tell you that you may need to pray Taraweeh that night and fast the next day as it was only Ramadan 29th there. 
  8. You call your friend in Peshawar. He had left New York on the same day but on a different date because he was from a different town in the same state. He tells you although he departed Dubai at the same time you did, he reached Peshawar on Shawwal 2nd and missed the eid by two days as the people in Peshawar followed Saudi announcement and celebrated eid two days ago.
  9. You managed to return to the USA. But your boss wants you to go to Dubai again for a business meeting. You say, “Gaa, I will rather do a video teleconference.” You schedule a conference on Shawaal 25th at 11:00 GMT and invite Mr. Khalid from Dubai and Mr. Ali from India. On Shawaal 25th you start the conference and find nobody there. Well, you discover it is Shawaal 26th in Dubai and Shawaal 24th in India.