7. Letter to AUASS dated 03-06-2001 (11-03-1422). Comments on the error in fatwa of Shaikh Yusuf al Qardawi reported in http: www. Jas org.go/sm#aua)
Challenges the fatwa of Shaikh Othaimeen, which implies that if there is a solar eclipse anywhere in the world after sunset in your city, then the next day is not the 1st of lunar month for your city! Since a month must begin on a day it has to be immediately following the eclipse and on the day next after it. The statement of AUASS that the Hilal cannot appear before conjunction is wrong and contrary to astronomical facts. The Ummul Qura Calendar is made according to the scientific data of the moon and the rules based on them. The new Ummul Qura Calendar suggested by him will require adjustments at intervals to unify it with the natural system. This is Nasie or intercalation, which is prohibited in Islam. There can be only one criterion for the calendar - appearance of the Hilal anywhere in the world. The letter explains at length the purpose and the rules of construction of a calendar and challenges the view that Hilal must be sighted with the naked eyes and not with even a telescope. The fact of moonset before or after sunset is irrelevant as far as the beginning of the month is concerned. It also comments on the foolishness of having multiple Matlas. There can be only one matala for the whole world!
A reply to Hilaal Sighting in Saudi Arabia & Its Worldwide Implications
"Sheikh Yusuf AlQaradawi Fatwa on the error in Saudi decision of EidUlAdha 1420H" (Ref.http://www.jas.org.jo/shw20.html#aua)
"Solar eclipse of Feb 5 2000 also proved the mistake in Eid date, according to Sheikh Othaimeen’s Fatwa on Solar Eclipse which implies that if there is a solar eclipse anywhere in the world after sunset in your city, then next day is not the 1st of lunar month for your city."
The solar eclipse mentioned in the Fatwa occurred on Saturday the 5th of February 2000 at 13:04 hrs UT. This means that the solar eclipse had occurred before the end of the Saturday. A solar eclipse occurs when the shadow of the Moon falls on the Earth and this is the time when the Moon completes its cycle around the Earth and begins the other cycle. Since a month can begin only with the day, the month should begin on the next day, i.e. Sunday. So without any doubt Sunday is the First of Zul Qaida of 1420H. Sheikh Al Othaimeen ® does not seem to understand what a solar eclipse means and what relationship it has with the Islamic months. It is evident that he has based his Fatwa on somebody’s suggestions, but not on his own knowledge. His Fatwa is certainly wrong. It contradicts the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.
"As for the crescent of Shawwal", adds AUASS. "The geocentric conjunction occurred on Thursday at 18:14 UT. The conjunction is the same meaning of the new moon, or the wane phase. It happens when the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun, that we only see the dark side of the moon. The crescent starts to appear after 12-20 hours of the conjunction".
The statement of AUASS that the Hilal cannot appear before the conjunction is not correct. Conjunction or new moon takes place when the Sun, the Moon and the Earth come in a line. At the place where the geocentric conjunction occurs the time will be noon. Sunset at that place will be after six hours. The Moon lags about 2 minutes per hour. So the moon would set at that place about 12 minutes after the Sun. This means that the Hilal has already appeared there. This happened on Thursday. So Friday must be the First of Shawwal for them. According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) those who get this information, should abide by it. The crescent when observed from different angles from the Earth would appear differently. It can set many hours before and after the actual geocentric conjunction. The statement of the AUASS is meaningless. It is strange to note that they are not aware of the astronomical facts.
New UmmUlQura Calendar
Changed ~1420H by KACST (King Abdul Aziz City for Science & Technology, Riyadh)
Has a single criterion: Sunset is before Moonset in Makkah
Insha’Allaah starting 1423H it will change again to directly take astronomical new moon into account
Civil use only; NOT for predicting Hilaal for religious dates
Author knows that even after the astronomical new moon is born, it must reach a certain age (and other factors), to be visible to naked eye.
1. What is the need for a New Ummul Qura Calendar?
A calendar is used for recording the passage of time. It should not be liable to occasional changes. If the rules of a calendar are changed at intervals of long or short periods, it will create serious problems in calculating the passage of time and the calendar will not serve the purpose. The adjustments made in a calendar at intervals to unify with the natural system would come under Nasie, which is forbidden in the Islamic Shariah. Islam orders to follow the Natural calendar without making occasional changes in it. The true Ummul Qura calendar meets all the requirements of a perfect calendar explained in the Qur’aan. There is no need to change it at any time in history.
2. What is wrong with the old Ummul Qura Calendar? Why did the KASCT change it?
The Ummul Qura Calendar is made according to the scientific data of the Moon. It is based on the rules of the calendar explained in the Qur’aan. KASCT has not studied the facts properly before it changed the rules of the calendar. Their action has created a lot of confusion in the Islamic world. The action of KASCT needs to be condemned. The true Ummul Qura calendar must be enforced. The laws of Islam never change.
3. Has the old Ummul Qura calendar many criteria?
The Ummul Qura Calendar has a single criterion. That is the appearing of the Hilal somewhere in the world as taught by the Prophet (saw). We have seven days of the week. The Hilal would appear on a certain Day of the week. It may appear at the beginning or at the end of a Day. This will be the last Day of the out-going month. The next Day is treated as the first Day of the following month. This is the rule followed in the Ummul Qura calendar. Why did the KASCT butt in with the rule given by Allah (swt) in the Holy Qur’aan? The KASCT has no authority to change the laws of Allah (swt).
4. 'Sunset is before the moonset in Makkah'.
The difference of sunset and moonset at a particular place cannot be the criterion for the Islamic calendar. A calendar must be universal. Islamic calendar is based on the first appearing of the Hilal, which can be anywhere in the world. It is not restricted to Makkah alone. The Hilal that has not appeared in Makkah can appear in Cairo. Will it not be applicable to Makkah as well according to the Shariah? The date of Makkah and Cairo cannot be different because these two cities perform the Jumu'a prayer on the same Day and the date cannot differ as a date stands for a Day. If the Day is same, the date also must be same. The KASCT seems to ignore all these laws of the Islamic Shariah.
5. Why should the Ummul Qura Calendar be used only for civil purpose? Does the Shariah allow two versions for the Islamic calendar, one for civil and another for religious purpose?
The Qur’aan makes it clear that only one calendar should be used for both civil and religious purposes. “Phases of the Moon mark the dates for the people and the pilgrimage.”(2:189) every day the Moon has a particular phase. This should be the date to be used for civil and religious purposes of the people. If the Hilal or phase is seven days old, the Moon will be in the seventh Manazil and our date must be seven. It cannot be five or six as per the Qur’aan. The Messenger of Allah did not teach anything other than the Qur’aan.
The Ummul Qura calendar meets all these requirements. The Shariah does not allow two versions for the Islamic calendar.
6. Why should it change again in 1423H to directly to take the Astronomical new moon into account?
This shows that KASCT has not studied the Islamic calendar properly before it changed the rules of the Ummul Qura calendar. These sorts of attitudes on the part of the religious scholars and the authorities have rendered the Islamic calendar ridiculous. The Islamic calendar has not been put into practice even after one thousand years! The authorities will be held responsible for this failure. People have no authority to change the limits of Allah (swt). Such actions will be same as Shirk. The Qur’aan says: "Those who hide the proofs and the guidance which we revealed, after we had made it clear in the Scripture: such are accursed of Allah and accursed of those who have the power to curse."(2:159)
7. Does the author know that a month can begin before the Hilal becomes visible to the naked eye according to the Islamic Shariah?
The author does not seem to have studied the principles of the Hijra calendar. It is clear from the statement that he believes that the Hilal should be visible to begin a new month. He does not know that many months begin before the Hilal becomes visible to the naked eye and that the visibility of the Hilal is not the criterion for the beginning of a month in the Islamic Shariah.
"Naked eye sighting only (no Telescopes etc) Sheikh AlOthaimeen is against use of telescopes. He indicates that it increases the “Takalluf” (Burden) on Muslims, which Allah (swt) does not want."
The above statement does not make sense. Performing Salah at the correct time is Fard in Islam. Will it be treated as Thakalluf if someone depended on a watch instead of the shadow, in order to know the correct time for the Salah? It is a pity that the great Ulema of our times do not understand things about the material world. We can make instruments to show us the correct lunar date just as we make watches to tell us the correct time for our prayers. There cannot be any harm in it because Allah (swt) says that the Sun and the Moon are with calculations. (55:5.). There should not be any restriction in the Shariah, to make correct calendars in advance and practice it in our daily life for civil and religious purposes. Such actions will not come under ‘Takalluf’.
"(In fact moonset was before sunset in Makkah for Thursday evening). Sheikh Yusuf AlQaradawi issued a Fatwa indicating that Muslims who celebrated Eid 1420H on Friday following the Saudi announcement should make up one missed Ramadaan fast."
Moonset after sunset at a particular place in the world is not the criterion for the beginning of the new month in the Islamic Shariah. If the moonset in Makkah was before sunset, the moonset at another place could be later than the sunset because the times of sunset and moonset for different places on earth will be different. Those who have no knowledge in astronomy are unable to understand this. They believe that sunset and moonset will be alike everywhere in the world.
Sheikh Yusuf AlQaradawi seems to ignore the astronomical facts. He should not have issued a wrong Fatwa before studying the subject thoroughly. Many people believe him and his wrong Fatwa would mislead them. The celebration of the Eidul Fitre of 1420H on Friday the 7th of January 2000 in Saudi Arabia and other places was correct. All other countries that did not cooperate with them have certainly violated the limits of Allah (swt).
The new moon took place at 18:14hrs UT on Thursday the 6th of January 2000AD. So Friday the 7th of January 2000AD is the first of Shawwal of 1420H without an iota of doubt. Another point is that the Ramadan of 1420H began on Wednesday the 8th of December 1999 AD. So the Hilal of Shawwal should be looked for on Wednesday the 29th of Ramadan corresponding to the 5th of January 2000 AD according to the instructions of the Prophet (saw). The Hilal was not present that evening anywhere in the world and 30 days of Ramadan was completed on Thursday following the instructions of our Prophet (saw). He has not ordered to look for the Hilal when 30 days are completed. Naturally Friday becomes the first of Shawwal. Sheikh Qaradawi should not have issued a hasty Fatwa without verifying the facts. Certainly his Fatwa has created confusion in the Muslim world. He should repent for the serious mistake and issue a notice to this effect immediately.
The Qur’aan says that the phases of the moon are dates for the people and the pilgrimage. (2:189). this means that each phase indicates a particular date. An easy method to find out this is to observe the appearing of the Hilal on the western horizon. During the waning phase the Hilal rises before the sunrise in the eastern horizon. We have to find out its appearing on the western horizon after the sunset. The First Hilal that appears on the western horizon may not often be visible because of the bad conditions of the weather in our times. But the month cannot delay the beginning till people see it, for time does not wait for man. The appearing of the Hilal can be known by observing the waning Hilal. The Hadith "Fast at the appearing of the Hilal and celebrate the Eid at its appearing" means that the month should begin with the appearing of the Hilal. But the common belief is that the Hilal should be materially seen by the naked eye before beginning a month. If it is done like that the phases will not tally with the dates as commanded in the Qur’aan. It will contradict the laws of the Shariah.
The Prophet (saw) gave instructions to look for the Hilal on the 29th of the out-going month. If it is not present he instructed to complete 30 days and begin the next month without looking for it once again. If we carefully watch the Moon we will see that whenever a month gets 30 days the next month begins before the Hilal becomes visible to the naked eye. So the idea of beginning every month after seeing the Hilal is wrong and un-Islamic. Sheikh Yusuf AlQaradawi should study this carefully and watch the changing phases of the Moon. He will certainly realize the mistake.
"Limited awareness in Saudi press about the errors (e.g. Arab News article February 11, 2000 about the inaccuracy of EidUlFitr 1420; Dawah magazine articles)"
The news is based on wrong information. The Government of Saudi Arabia should take necessary action to ban the publishing of such baseless reports and the false Hijra calendars that mislead the believers.
"Sheikh AlOthaimeen also writes that Sheikh Ibn Taimiya supported Ikhtilaaf AlMatale, Saudi Arabia practices IkhtilaafAlMatale (e.g. did not follow Yemen’s earlier sighting)
Sheikh AlOthaimeen supports IkhtilaafAlMatale for EidUlAdha also (Muslims outside Saudi Arabia should do their own Local Sighting for EidUlAdha also, instead of calling Saudi Arabia) - Original Fatwa available."
Sighting of Hilaal in a country does not mean that all other countries have to follow. : Sheikh Al Othaimeen, Saudi Arabia
There cannot be Ikhtilaf AlMatale in the case of the Hilal for fixing the Islamic months, because if there are different horizons regarding Hilaal, the beginning of the Islamic months would differ in every town and the Islamic calendar would become ridiculous. A date of a month indicates a certain Day of the week, which is common for all towns. Therefore the date of a town cannot be different from that of another. It goes without saying that the date and the Day must be common for all in the world. How can Sheikh Ibn Taimiya support IkhtilafAlMatale', which would allow the difference of dates in towns? The fact is that Sheikh Al Othaimeen has not understood what Ibn Taimiya has meant by the IkhtilafAlMatla'. It is the Matla' AlFajre, the Date line where the days dawn in the world.
Time is measured with the Sun in relation to one's horizon (Matla'). Time is the angle between the Sun and one's horizon measured from the sea level. Date is measured with the Sun in relation to the Moon. Date is the angle between the Sun and the Moon measured from the Earth. The difference of Matali'a (horizons) has nothing to do with it.
It is a great pity that Ulema like Sheikh Al Othaimeen are unable to understand the Matla'. There is only one Matla’ for the world and that Matla' is the place where the days change from one to the other in the world. This is the place where the day dawns, where two Jumu'a days and two opposite Qiblas, west and east, are experienced in the world. It is known as the International Date Line. It passes through the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska. For further details please refer the article entitled 'The Meeqatul Qibla and the Islamic calendar' by the author. The International Dateline should be studied and recognized by the Islamic world.
The Fatwa of Sheikh Al Othaimeen is invalid because he has not studied the matter for himself, but he has relied on someone's knowledge for the Fatwa. It contradicts the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. He should withdraw it and amend it immediately.
May Allah (swt) guide us to the right path!
Advisor to the Hijra Committee of India,
I had sent this on 03-06-2001/11-03-1422. Since there are no comments I am sending this important letter to all of you once again.
Expecting your comments,