Clarification from AMJA regarding the announcement of Eid al-Fitr this year (2020)

Author: Salah Alsawy Ph.D
| Category: Current Events

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent the Most Merciful

All praise is for Allah, and may peace and prayers be upon Allah’s Messenger, his family, his Companions, and those that followed.

The Assembly has received numerous questions regarding its rejections of the moonsighting which was announced in some brotherly African countries, in particular, Somalia and Mauritania.

The Assembly would like to reiterate that its announcement of Eid al-Fitr being on Sunday was the result of its methodology, which has been made public during numerous annual conventions. AMJA’s methodology is based on affirmation of the new moon by way of sighting it, with possible assistance from astronomical telescopes, and it considers calculations only for the purpose of rejection of a reported sighting. The Assembly did not accept the sighting that was announced in Somalia and Mauritania due to the agreement of the astronomers consulted by AMJA that it was impossible to sight the moon in each of these two countries. This was because in Mauritania the moon had set two minutes before sunset and it was less than two hours old, while at the time of sunset in Somalia the moon had not yet been born.

This was not the case in previous sightings, such as with Mali and some areas in North America, when the astronomers had said it was not possible to be sighted. Those cases were not as decisive as they are when the moon sets before the sun does, or when a sighting is claimed before the new moon’s birth. When a sighting is surrounded by such overwhelming doubts, the Assembly rejects it.

The Assembly would also like to reiterate its understanding of the position of those scholars who broke their fast on Saturday based on what they believed to be valid sightings in those countries without investigating the astronomical doubts mentioned above, or due to a lack of consideration for astronomical calculations altogether. Acting upon such basis with legitimate scholarly endeavor does not invalidate acts of worship, nor does it require that they be made up for.

We ask Allah to guide us to what He loves and is pleased with, and to keep us away from misguidance and deviation in both speech and action, for indeed He is in charge and capable of all things.

Dr. Salah Alsawy
Secretary General, AMJA

توضيح من مجمع فقهاء الشريعة حول تحديد عيد الفطر هذا العام

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله، والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله، وعلى آله وصحبه ومن والاه، أما بعد: فلقد وصلت إلى المجمع أسئلة كثيرة حول عدم أخذه بما أعلن عنه من رؤية الهلال في بعض الدول الأفريقية الشقيقة كالصومال وموريتانا.
وإن المجمع ليؤكد على أن ما أعلنه من كون عيد الفطر يوم الأحد إنما انبثق من منهجيته التي أعلن عنها في مؤتمراته السنوية مرارا، من كون الأصل في ثبوت الهلال هو الرؤية البصرية، ويستعان عليها بالمراصد الفلكية، وأنه يعتبر الحساب في حالة النفي دون الإثبات، ولم يأخذ المجمع بالرؤية التي أعلنت في كل من الصومال وموريتانيا لاتفاق الفلكيين الذين استشارهم على استحالة رؤيته فيهما، وذلك نظرا لأن القمر غرب قبل غروب الشمس بدقيقتين في موريتانيا، وكان عمره أقل من ساعتين، ولم يكن ولد عند غروبها في الصومال.
ولم يكن هذا هو الحال في رؤية الهلال فيما مضى في مالي وبعض الأماكن بأمريكا، فمع أن الحاسبين قالوا بتعذر الرؤية فلم يكن ذلك قطعيا كما هو الحال عندما يغرب القمر قبل الشمس، أو تدعى رؤيته قبل مولده. والرؤية التي تكتنفها شبهة قوية على هذا النحو يردها المجمع ولا يأخذ بها.
كما يؤكد المجمع تفهمه لما ذهب إليه بعض العلماء الذين أفطروا يوم السبت بناء على ما ترجح لديهم من ثبوت الرؤية بهذه الدول لعدم تحققهم من الشبهات العلمية المذكورة أو عدم اعتبارهم معارضة الحساب للرؤية ابتداء، والعمل بذلك على هذا النحو عمل باجتهاد معتبر لا يقتضي إبطال عبادة ولا وجوب قضاء.
والله نرجو أن يأخذ بنواصينا إلى ما يحب ويرضى، وأن يجنبنا الزيغ والزلل في القول والعمل، إنه ولي ذلك والقادر عليه.

ا.د صلاح الصاوي
الأمين العام لمجمع فقهاء الشريعة

Salah Alsawy Ph.D

Previously, the shaykh assumed various prominent positions some of which were: Professor in the Faculty of Legislation and Law at Al-Azhar University, Professor at Umm Al Qura University, a visiting professor in the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Sciences in Washington DC., President of the American Open University and a VP to its Board of Trustees. Currently, the shaykh is ...
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