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Concerning the sighting of the hilal, what does it mean to sight it locally? Should a sighting of the crescent be valid for the continent, country, state, city? Please give references.

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Today there are several different opinions of how the start of the Islamic month should be determined. Certain people claim that if the crescent is sighted anywhere in the world, the day for the start of the month will be valid for the whole world (albeit several hours earlier or later depending on the location). Some people claim that the sighting of the hilal will be only be valid local to the sighting. Many hanafi ulema are of this view. However, I am confused at what “local” means and how the borders for “local sighting” are determined. If someone living right near the border of North America and South America, which continent’s sighting will be valid for them? The same can be asked of someone living near the border of U.S.A. and Canada. Which country’s sighting should they follow? Please give references. JazaakAllah.

Answer

Kindly refer below, our reply to a similar query.

and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
FATWA DEPT.

The Jurists (Fuqahaa) have differences of opinion on whether Ikhtilaaf-e-Mataalih is considered (Mu?tabar) or not. According to the Zaahir-e-Riwaayat (view considered for Fatwa), it is not considered which means that one reliable sighting anywhere (not only Saudia Arabia) in the world is valid. However, the problem in the sighting of the moon, as you correctly stated that there are many errors in the sighting of the moon in Saudi Arabia. If the errors are rectified and after Shahaadah of an individual/s sighting the moon, decision is taken in consultation with the officials of the Hilaal Sighting Committee, then it will be valid for the entire Muslim Ummah. Similar procedures must be put in place in other countries as well, as the moon may be sighted elsewhere and not necessarily Saudia Arabia.

In view of the present discrepancies in moon sighting, the view that Ikhtilaaf-e-Mataalih is considered may be adopted and each country should make their own independent decisions. It is incorrect for the Muslims in North America (especially the Arab brethren) to follow Saudia Arabia’s ruling on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha due to the moonsighting being inconsistent with Shari?ah laws of sighting the moon.

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