11. Letter to the General Secretary, Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen, Kozhikode, dated 27-11-2001(12-09-1422). The letter criticizes the postponement of the commencement of Ramadan 1422 at Calicut to 17th November 2001 while the more of the remaining part of the world observed it on the 16th. The reason that the moonset at Calicut was 12 minutes or 3 degrees later than the sunset and it would not allow the seeing of the Hilal because the separation of the two setting times must be 48 minutes or 12 degrees for the crescent to become visible. The phrases “Soomu li ruayathihi” as referring to physical seeing with naked eye are wrong. It refers to only getting information that it has appeared. In the last few days of the lunar month we can see the moon rising a few hours before the sun and the gap reduces day by day until the two luminaries rise almost together when the moon vanishes from view because of the brightness of the sun. When the Holy Prophet (saw) said, “Fasting is on the day when people fast, the Eid is on the day when people celebrate it and the scarifice is on the day when people perform it” he meant that all religious observances must be performed by entire mankind together on the same day all over the world. He never encouraged splitting the Ummah on any ground, certainly not on political phenomena.
The General Secretary,
Kerala Nadvathul Mujahieen,
Annie Hall Road,
Assalaamu alaikum Wr. Wb.
Ramadan 1422H began on Friday the 16th of November 2001 in America, Africa, Arabia, India and Australia. But a few Muslims in some cities and towns in these countries have refrained from fasting on Friday under the pretext that they could not see the crescent on Thursday evening. They began fasting on Saturday the 17th of November 2001! They did not believe the other Muslims.
They argue that the crescent cannot be seen with the naked eye on Thursday at sunset based on the scientific facts that the moonset at Calicut was only about 12 minutes or 3 degrees later than the sunset on 15.11.2001. A separation of 48 minutes or 12 degrees is necessary for the crescent to become visible to the naked eye.
At the Holy Ka’aba Sh’aban 1422H began on Wednesday 17.10.2001 and they looked for the Hilal of Ramadan on Wednesday evening, the 29th of Shaban (14.11.2001) according to the Hadith “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi”. But no one saw the Hilal and they completed 30 days for Shaban on Thursday 15.11.2001 according to the instructions of the Prophet “Fa in gumma alaikum faqduroo lahoo” if it became dubious for you, calculate for it. So they began fasting on Friday the 16th of November 2001 after completing 30 days according to the Sunnah. This is perfectly in accordance with the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. From this we can see that the Prophet (saw) taught a method of observation of the Moon. It was not just seeing the crescent on any day and starting the month whenever we see it as it is done today.
We know that “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi” should not be translated in the literal sense because it would render the words of the Prophet (saw) meaningless. The words “ru’uyathihi” should be interpreted as “at its appearing” or “when it appears”. The appearing of the Moon on the western horizon could be verified with the naked eye observation of the Moon without instruments. The observation of the Moon for many years has proved that interpreting the Hadith “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi” as “Fast when you see it” is not appropriate.
In the waning phase, the Moon rises early in the morning before the Sun. If we observe in the last days of the Islamic month, we can see the Moon rising a few hours before the Sun. Day by day the gap decreases and finally we do not see the moon rise on the last day of the month because the Moon is very close to the Sun. This day is 29th or 30th of the Islamic month. By the evening on this day the Moon overtakes the Sun and sets after the Sun. Thus the appearing of the Hilal on the western Horizon is certain. The Moon and the Sun move under certain laws. (55:5). Hence the next day must be the first of the Islamic month.
The naked eye observation of the waning phase of the Moon in Shaban proved that the old crescent was not visible on the morning of Thursday the 15th of November 2001. Therefore it is known without any doubt that the Hilal of Ramadan had appeared on the western horizon on Thursday evening. So the fasting of Ramadan became compulsory from Friday the 16th of November 2001. The scientific calculations also proved that the moon set was about 12 minutes or 3 degrees later than the sun set at Calicut on 15-11-2001. But nobody could have seen the Hilal on 15-11-2001 because the Moon was very near to the Sun. Those who saw it mistook something for the Hilal. Therefore the statement that Ramadan began in Kerala on Friday the 16th of November 2001 after seeing the crescent is baseless. Ramadan began depending on the method of observation taught by the Prophet (saw).
Those who made a mistake and began Sha’ban 1422H on Thursday did not believe the other Muslims only because of ignorance or arrogance. A month cannot begin on two days. The Prophet (saw) has not taught such wrong ideas. He said: “Fasting is on the day when people fast, the Eid is on the day when people celebrate it and Sacrifice is on the day when people perform it”. By this the Prophet (saw) ordered the people to perform such rites of religion all together on the same day all over the world. Making separation in the Ummah is forbidden.
Beginning of the fast, the months, the celebration of the Eids etc. are communal rituals which all should do on the same day. The Jum’ua day is an example for this. No one prays the Jumu’a on Saturday or Sunday. All Muslims perform Jumu’a on Friday at different times at different places. Unity of Day is compulsory in Islam. Unity of time is unnatural and the difference in prayer times according to the distance is necessary and compulsory.
A man may do a forbidden act without knowledge, but with knowledge it would not be allowed. For example one may drink water without knowledge while fasting, and his fast is valid. But with knowledge one cannot drink water. In the same way some people may celebrate the Eid on different days without knowledge. But with knowledge separatism is Haraam. Those who make separation in religion go out of the fold of Islam. They transgress the limits of Allah (swt). Their Amal will not have any weight on the Day of Judgment and they will be among the losers.
The Qur’aan very clearly informs us that the changing phases of the Moon mark the dates for mankind (2:189). The dates of the Islamic Month can be verified every day. By observing the Moon at four quarters of the phases of the Moon one can check the dates without the instruments. (10:5). According to this, Ramadan 1422H has only 29 days (from Friday to Friday). A solar eclipse occurs on Friday the 29th of Ramadan = 14-12-2001 before all people in the world have prayed the Jumu’a prayer. This marks the end of Ramadan. The Fatwa of Sheikh Othaimeen® that when a solar eclipse occurs if it is night in your city then the next day is not the first for your city is contradictory to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. The Fatwa is not valid. Those who begin that Saturday must perform the rituals of the Eidul Fitre. Fasting on Saturday the First of Shawwal coinciding with the 15th of December 2001 is Haraam because it is the Day of the Eidul Fitre of 1422H. There is only one Day of Eidul Fitre in a year.
Those who missed the fast of Friday the first of Ramadan must compensate by fasting one day after the Eidul Fitre and they should repent for the mistake as per the Laws of Shariah.
Therefore we request all Muslim Brethren in the name of Islam to join together and celebrate the Eidul Fitre on Saturday the First of Shawwal 1422H coinciding with the 15th of December 2001.
May Allah forgive and bless us in this holy month of Ramadan! Wassalam,
Your Brother in Islam