An expression of deep concern about the change in the moon sighting pattern in Saudi Arabia.

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Bismihi Ta’ala 

*An expression of deep concern about the change in the moon sighting pattern in Saudia Arabia.*

It is with great concern and perplexity that we have learnt that Saudia Arabia has announced moon sighting of Zul Hijjah 1439 yesterday Saturday 11th August 2018 during the night. Science does not define shariah, but moon sighting is not scientific. Moon sighting has been done in the best of eras of Rasouloullah Swalallahou Alaihi Wasallam and until today. Moon sighting does not need scientific findings to be determined, but rather those who used to sight the moon develop a certain ability to ascertain whether it is possible or not on such and such date. For example, the beloved prophet Swalallahou Alaihi Wasallam said: 
عن خالد الحذاء قال أخبرني عبد الرحمن بن أبي بكرة عن أبيه رضي الله عنهعن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال شهران لا ينقصان شهرا عيد رمضان وذو الحجةِبخاري

‘Normally two months are not 29s…”)Bukhari. There is a set pattern that is known by those who look at the moon that they know which day has greater probability to sight the moon and which day it will not. But in any case, we have to sight the moon with the eyes. But the sunnah indicate a set pattern that imaam Tahawi r.a. described the meaning of the above hadith(Sharhe Ma`aniyul Athaar) Nonetheless, moon sighting is done monthly by all leading muslim organization in every country. So moon sighting is not peculiar to Saudia Arabia, but rather a known science of all major muslim organization in every country. 

 From experience of all muslims of the world, it is a recognized fact that it is impossible to sight the moon with naked eyes after 6 hours from its birth.  The fact that moon sighting may be manipulated reach our concern because international hajis are assembled in Makkah to attend Arafah upon the respective moon sighting of Makkah. In fact, Allah Ta`ala highlighted the importance of moon sighting especially for Hajj dates:

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ

”They ask you about the changing moons. Say it serve as a time schedule for humanity and (especially) for Hajj.”(2:189) 

A wrong sighting affect the Hajj protocol itself. Had there been a change in moon sighting policies in Saudia(like astromical calculations or telescopic moon, etc) then the muslim ummah should be informed first about this change. Then there should be consensus on the issue because Hajj is not only Saudia’s concern.  

We request all concerned Islamic organization/authorities to express their concern on the change in the moon sighting pattern in Saudia Arabia.  

 Mufti Mackoojee

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