Is the sighting of the moon in a single country binding upon all countries?

Answered by our Shaykh, the ‘Allāmah, the Trustworthy Advisor, Abu ‘Abdirrahman Yahya bin ‘Ali Al-Hajūri – may Allāh preserve him –


Is the sighting of the moon of Ramadān in a country sufficient for all Muslim countries, or does every country have their own sightings?


It has been established in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Kurayb Mawla Ibn Abbās that Umm Fadhl bint Al-Hārith sent him to Mu’āwiyah in Shām (Syria, Jordan, Palestine), he said: “So I arrived in Shām so I saw the moon on the night of Friday, then I arrived in Madinah at the end of the month, so Abdullah bin Abbās may Allāh be pleased with them asked me, then the cresent was mentioned, so he said: “When did you all see the moon.?” So I said: “We saw it on the night of Friday.” So he said: “You saw it?”, so I said: “Yes, and the people saw it and they fasted aswell as Mu’āwiyah.” So he said: “But we saw it on the night of Saturday, so we are still fasting until we complete 30 days or we see the new moon.” I said: “Is not the sighting of Mu’āwiyah sufficient and his fasting?” So he said: “No, this is how the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ order us.”

And Shawkāni may Allāh have mercy on him mentioned that the statement of Ibn Abbās is not raised to the Prophet ﷺ, and that it is ijtihād from him, and that the indication with his speech “this is how the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ ordered us” is his statement “so we are still fasting until we complete 30 days”, and this address is for everyone who fits into this description from the Muslims, so deducing evidence with it for the compulsion of accepting the sighting of the moon of one country is more apparent than the deducing evidence upon it not being compulsory, because if a people of a country saw it, then the Muslims in general saw it, so what is binding upon them is binding upon other than them, and it has been relayed from the Mālikiyyah, he said: “And what has been said by Ibn Abdil Barr that this statement opposes the consensus, then it is not to be looked at, because they had a consensus on that the sighting is not considered from the countries after like Khurasān (current day Irān) and Andalūs (current day Spain). I say: “The speech of the Prophet ﷺ: “Fasting is on the day the people fast and breaking is on the day they break.”

[Reported by At-Tirmidhi and it is mentioned in Sahih ul-Musnad of Shaykh Al-Wādi’ē may Allāh have mercy on him]

In it is evidence for the one who says each country have their own times of appearance and setting (of the moon) that every country has their own different times of appearance and setting and their own sightings and this is what is correct and praise is to Allāh.

Translated by : Abu ‘Abdillah ‘Omar bin Yahya Al-‘Akawi

Original Fatwa:
الكنز الثمين في الإجابة على أسئلة طلبة العلم والزائرين (3)
Under: كتاب الصيام والإعتكاف

Entitled: هل رؤية الهلال في بلد ملزمة لغيره من البلدان؟