Difference Regarding The Appearance of The Crescent
Fatwa No: 40176

Question

Why is the difference in the appearance of the crescent taken into consideration within the borders of countries, although these separating borders were laid down by colonialism, while that difference is not taken into consideration within each province or region? In other words, all the inhabitants of a country are required to fast if the crescent appears in the farthest border city, while the inhabitants of a neighboring city do not fast because it is within the borders of another country?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Scholars agreed that the appearance of the crescent differs according to the different locations of cities and countries and this is an indisputably established fact. However, they differed about considering this when deciding the beginning and end of Ramadan. Some of them said that this should be considered and that every country should have its own crescent sighting. Other scholars, on the other hand, said that if the crescent is seen in one country, all other countries have to fast. Each of the two groups quoted its proofs from the Quran, the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) and by drawing Qiyaas (analogy). This is one of the issues that depend on personal reasoning, regarding which the scholars hold different opinions. The decision of a Muslim ruler in such issues removes differences of opinions. Consequently, when the ruler views that the appearance of the crescent should be observed or not, the difference is removed and all the inhabitants are required to obey. This is to maintain agreement in fasting and performing the ‘Eed (feast) prayer in their country.

The fact that these borders were laid down by colonizers does not matter. What matters, however, is reality. When a certain country is ruled by someone who has full control over it, the Muslims are required to obey him and it is forbidden to oppose him, unless there is contradiction to Sharee‘ah in his actions. We ask Allaah The Almighty to unite the Muslims. 

Allaah Knows best.

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