AMJA Declaration Regarding Ramadhan Moon Sighting and Unity

Current Events Author: Resident Fatwa Committee |

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
AMJA continues to keep a close eye on the affairs of the Muslim minorities of the West and the disputes and differences that occur at the beginning and the ending of the blessed month of Ramadan. This is AMJA’s declaration concerning this matter.

First, AMJA considers the Muslims being united on the ending and beginning of the fast to be a very important goal of the Lawgiver, especially for a Muslim community within one city. Thus, if the majority of the community in a region are of the view that one should abide by astronomical calculations, then it is best for the others to follow them in that opinion, so that they will all be united and not divided. Following calculations is the opinion of some scholars and it does not contradict any unequivocal Shareeah texts that are not open to interpretation. [Thus, there can be some accommodation on that point.] Being accommodating with respect to differences of opinion is even more appropriate in the case where the majority of the community insists on seeing the new moon but they differ as to whether each region must have its own sighting, given that this difference of opinion has been longstanding and respected in the fiqh.

Second, AMJA currently follows the opinion that the month is to be based on the sighting of the new moon while using definitive astronomical calculations to reject a sighting but not to affirm the sighting. Furthermore, AMJA does not follow the view of “differences in region,” that is, that each region of the world must have its own sighting. This current position of AMJA is the view of the majority of the scholars, both in the past and present. At the same time, though, AMJA does realize the hardship that people face as they wait for the sightings from countries in the West. Those who believe that each region has its own sighting take this issue into consideration and they do not require a people of one region to follow anyone else’s sighting. On the other hand, those of the view that one sighting anywhere is sufficient for everyone take into consideration the uniting of all Muslims and that the texts concerning fasting and breaking the fast based on the sighting of a trustworthy person are addressed to all the Muslims. AMJA is of the view that a good combination of these two approaches that covers the different goals could be achieved by following any sighting that takes place to the east of a region but not what takes place in regions further west. In this way, Muslims can know the beginning of the month or its end before they disperse from the Ishaa (Night) Prayer—thus they will be able to pray Taraweeh and prepare for the fast at the beginning of the month and for the Eid Prayer at the end of the month. The dispute as to what defines a “sighting region” is an old dispute. What should be taken into consideration is the possibility of the news reaching the people in such an appropriate time that it will be easy for them to act upon that news. AMJA is of the opinion that it is not possible to define parameters that are not going to be disputed. Thus, AMJA sees the time zones in a land as vast as the United States as the best proxy that will achieve the desired goals. The inhabitants of each time zone should act in accord with the sightings of their region (time zone) as well as any sighting in lands east of them. In this way, when Ishaa time arrives, the matter will be clear for them.

We turn to Allah first and last to unite the views of His servants and guide them to the straight path. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad and his followers. All praise and thanks are due to Allah alone.

AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee

بيان مجمع فقهاء الشريعة حول هلال رمضان و جمع الكلمة
بنfما زال مجمع فقهاء الشريعة يتابع عن كثب أحوال الأقليات المسلمة في الغرب وما يصيبهم من اختلاف واضطراب في بداية شهر رمضان المبارك ونهايته، وهذا بيان من المجمع بشأن هذه القضية

أولًا: يرى المجمع أن اجتماع الناس على الفطر والصوم أمر مهم مقصود للشارع، سيما أهل المدينة الواحدة، لذا فمتى رأت الأغلبية العمل بالحساب، فالأولى بالباقين متابعتهم جمعًا للكلمة ودفعًا للفرقة، فهو قول لبعض أهل العلم، ولا يصادم قطعيات الشريعة بما لا يحتمل التأويل. وهذه المرونة أولى فيما إن رأت الأغلبية العمل بالرؤية واختلفوا في اعتبار اختلاف المطالع، فالقولان من الخلاف القديم المعتبر في الفقه الإسلامي

ثانيًا: القول الذي عليه عمل المجمع هو اعتماد الرؤية مع الأخذ بالحساب القطعي في النفي دون الإثبات، وعدم اعتبار اختلاف المطالع، وهو قول جمهور العلماء قديمًا وحديثًا. لكن المجمع تابع ما يدخل على الناس من مشقة في انتظار رؤية البلاد الغربية. والقائلون باختلاف المطالع راعوا هذا المعنى، ولذلك لم يلزموا أهل الإقليم برؤية غيرهم، والقائلون باتحاد المطالع راعوا وحدة المسلمين وأن الخطاب بالصوم والفطر برؤية العدول موجه إلى عمومهم. والمجمع يرى أنه من التلفيق الحسن بين المذاهب مراعاة المعنيين والأخذ برؤية أهل الإقليم والبلاد الواقعة شرقه دون البلاد الغربية، وبذلك يتمكن المسلمون من معرفة بداية الشهر ونهايته قبل أن يتفرقوا من صلاة العشاء، فيصلون التراويح ويتهيؤون للصوم في بداية الشهر أو لصلاة العيد في نهايته. أما تحديد المطلع الواحد، فالخلاف في ذلك قديم، والاعتبار بإمكان بلوغ الخبر في وقت يتيسر فيه العمل به. والمجمع يرى أنه لا سبيل إلى ضابط لا ينازع فيه، وأن اعتبار المناطق الزمنية في بلد مترامي الأطراف كالولايات المتحدة من أفضل ما يحصل به المقصود، فيعمل أهل كل منطقة زمنية برؤيتهم ورؤية البلاد الواقعة إلى الشرق منهم، فمتى دخلت العشاء عندهم كانوا على بينة من أمرهم

والله المسؤول، من قبل ومن بعد، أن يجمع كلمة عباده ويهديهم سواء السبيل، وصلى الله على محمد وآله، والحمد لله رب العالمين

اللجنة الدائمة للافتاء

Resident Fatwa Committee

AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee.
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