Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Dear Brother Burhan
In response to your comments on sighting of the moon.... I have few comments to make. Hope you will respond.....
You are absolutely right that all these Haqiqi etc factors are a later introductions and have neither any philosophical nor any scientific bases. But how justified is the rejection of modern gadgets for determining the moon cycle and celebration of 3-4 Eids in every town worth its name??
The Arabic word used in the Hadees u referred to means "to see" or more precisely "to have knowledge". It does not say "to see by YOUR eyes only". Today, we can "SEE" whether it is the full moon night, no moon night or the first moon night by various gadgets that we have discovered. And for a particular region, predict the exact phases of moon's cycle for years to come. But due to lack of awareness our Ulema fail to see the logic.
Islam is a religion for all ages.... and the whole of Galaxy ... we cannot limit it to a time frame or geographic boundaries. Tomorrow if man reaches Mars, Muslims will still be governed by same Islamic Principles. Thus it is essential that our Ulema start seeing Islam as a religion with 'Broad' vision rather than a narrow one. If a modern interpretation is needed for an Islamic principle, it HAS to be done. In case of a war today are we going to use Sword only ..... beacuse Prophet did not use anything else??? will using other weapons be an INNOVATION? Using modern gadgets does not introduce any 'innovation' and has nothing to do with 'Bid'at' or 'Shirk' -- the 2
favorite words of our 'Wahabi' brothers.
An example is: What is considered as a "paak" (clean)source of water? A water that Islam allows you to drink and use for other needs. It is -- water that has not changed its original colour, taste, smell and 'Taseer'. 1400 years ago, the only means to verify this were our 5 senses. But today, if I add 2 drops of cholera bacteria in it, will it remain 'Paak'? Is Islam so narrow a religion to FAIL to determine the purity of this water? NO.. we shall use modern techniques to test its 'Taseer' .. and since it has changed, Islam no longer recommends its use.
Science and technology are closer to Islam than any other religion. Let us strive to keep it that way. Let us remove the deep prejudice against modern science that has originated from the "confusion from the Nejd" – something predicted by Prophet and seen today in Saudi Arabia in the form of Wahabism.
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In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 189: They ask you (O Prophet) about the phases of the moon. Tell them, “These are signs for the people to reckon dates, and fix the periods for Hajj”.
In the above aayah of the Holy Quran, Allah declares that the phases of the moon are signs for the people to determine or reckon the dates of the months. It was indeed the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and the early muslims, that they would determine the days and months by sighting the moon. It is also true that in those days, they did not have access to the modern technological devices, and thus used to sight the moon with the naked eye. There is absolutely no harm, if today, the muslims use and take advantage of these modern instruments to sight or determine the advent of the moon (just as they use the watch to determine the prayer times) to start and date their calendar months. What is important is that muslim should with or without the use of instruments, sights the moon to start the months.
In Islam, the moon is used to determine the number of days in a calendar month; and the sun is used to determine the time for the obligatory ‘fard’ prayers. Just as the prayer times are different in the various geographical locations of the world, it is only natural that the advent of the lunar months will also be different, depending on the various geographical locations. The times and dates are linked to the sun and the moon, and not through the various sects in Islam!
Just imagine, if someone was to say that all the people of one sect must pray the ‘fajr’ prayers at the very same time, no matter where they reside in the world! Now that is something that would not make sense!
Similarly, if one sect announces that, irrespective of the advent of the new moon, they must all start and end the month on the very same day, no matter where they reside in the world; that would not make scientific or logical sense, if indeed they determine their days of the month through the advent of the moon as commanded by Allah Subhanah in the Glorious Quran.
It is also a scientific fact, that some months in the lunar calendar have 29 days and some have 30 days. Thus it would be incorrect to always determine the month of Ramadan (or any particular month) as 30 days, without referring to the moon.
If all the muslims everywhere in the world were to celebrate the Holy Month of Ramadan and Eid on the very same day, it does not make scientific or logical sense! It makes as much sense to start and end a lunar month on the very same day all over the world, as it would make if everyone to pray their ‘fajr’ (or any) prayers at the exact same times all over the world, without referring to the sun! That would mean that although it might be time for ‘fajr’ in USA, and ‘magrib’ in Makkah, all the muslims, all over the world, would pray ‘fajr’!
Thus, there is absolutely no harm if one uses modern tools to determine the advent of the moon, and no sensible scholar will call that an innovation.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,