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The beginning of Ramadan

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

The imams have said that the beginning of Ramadan is established if an upright person informs one that he or she saw the new moon. Based on that, can the beginning of Ramadan be established if an upright person informs one that another upright person informed him or her that he or she saw the new moon? Or is it necessary that one hear it directly from the one who saw the new moon?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

[h. Depending on how the moon is sighted, Ramadan is sometimes considered to have begun for everyone under the jurisdiction of a judge and at other times, it is only considered to have begun for certain specific people to the exclusion of the rest of the people in the city. This answer considers both cases.]

City-wide Establishment of Ramadan

The beginning of Ramadan is not established for the entire city unless (1) an upright witness testifies that he saw the moon himself, (2) that his testimony be in the words, “I testify that I have seen the moon,” and (3) that this occur before a judge. After all that, it is necessary for the judge to say, “I believe [Ramadan] to have begun,” or, “I rule in accordance with his testimony,” or the like.

As for someone who has not seen the moon himself, his testimony does not establish the beginning of Ramadan on a city-wide level even if news that the moon has been seen spreads across the city or if such a large number of people inform him of the fact that it is impossible for them to have mutually agreed to lie (tawatur). It can be inferred a fortiori from this that testifying before a judge that “an upright person saw the moon” is not sufficient to establish the beginning of Ramadan on a city-wide level. Rather, it is necessary for him to explicitly testify that he has seen the moon himself (Tuhfa, 3/377-378).

Establishment of Ramadan on an Individual Level

As for the establishment of Ramadan on an individual level, it is established by the report of an upright individual that he or she heard that another upright person saw the new moon.

السؤال: صرَّحوا بأنه يثبتُ رمضانُ بإخبار عدل، فهل يثبت رمضانُ بإخبار عدل عن عدل بسند متصل أم يلزم الشخص أن يسمع مباشرة ممن رأي الهلال؟
الجواب : لا يثبتُ رمضانُ على سبيل العموم برُؤية الهلال إلا أن يشهدَ عدلٌ أنه رأى الهلالَ بنفسه، وتكون شهادته بلفظ: أشهدُ أني رأيتُ الهلال، ويكون ذلك بين يدي قاضٍ، ثم لا بد من قول القاضي: ثبت عندي أو حكمت بشهادته، أو نحو ذلك.
أما مَن لم ير الهلال بنفسه فلا يثبت رمضان على سبيل العموم بشهادته أنه رؤي الهلال ولو استفاض عنده ذلك أو أخبره به عدد التواتر فضلاً عن إخبار العدل؛ لأنه لا يكفي قوله: أشهدُ أن غداً من رمضان. بل لا بدَّ من التصريح بأنه رآه أو بما يتبادر منه ذلك، وهذا لم يره ولا ذَكَرَ ما يفيدُ أنه رآه كما قاله العلامةُ ابن حجر في “التحفة” (3/377-378(
أما ثبوتُ رمضان على سبيل الخصوص فيثبتُ بإخبارِ عدلٍ له أن عدلاً رأى الهلال.

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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