The month of Ramadan is confirmed by the sighting of the new moon, or by the completion of thirty days of ShaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢baan.
The Prophet (sa) said: `We are an unlettered nation; we neither write nor calculate. The month is so-much and so-much (i.e. sometimes 29 days, sometimes 30)` [Hadith Bukhari]
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (sa) instructed: `Fast after you have seen it [the new crescent] and end the fast [at the end of the month] when you see it. If it is hidden from you, then wait until the thirty days of Sha`ban have passed.` [Hadith Bukhari and Muslim.]
^ This Hadith is a general address directed to the whole Muslim world.
The testimony of sighting the Hilal (crescent of the new moon) can be achieved by:
(a) Direct sighting, where you see it yourself, or
(b) Indirect sighting, where someone sees it, and you rely on his sighting.
Ibn `Umar said: `The people were looking for the new moon and when I reported to the Messenger of Allah that I had seen it, he fasted and ordered the people to fast.` [Hadith Abu Dawud, al-Hakim, Ibn Hibban, who declared it sahih]
Allah says in the interpretation of the meaning: Ã¢â‚¬Å“We hear and we ObeyÃ¢â‚¬Â [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:285]
Whoever sees the Hilal or hears about it from a trustworthy source (by one adult, sane, trustworthy, reliable Muslim who has good eyesight) is obliged to fast.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: A Bedouin came to the Prophet (sa) and said: I have sighted the moon. Al-Hasan added in his version: that is, of Ramadan. He asked: Do you testify that there is no god but Allah? He replied: Yes. He again asked: Do you testify that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah? He replied: Yes, and he testified that he had sighted the moon. He said: Bilal, announce to the people that they must fast tomorrow. [Hadith Sunan Abu-Dawud]
Using calculations to determine the moon is a BidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢a (innovation)
Definition of BidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢a: To introduce something new or take something out (beliefs / actions) from the religion of Islaam, that neither Allah nor His Messenger (sa) legislated i.e. with no authentic proof by the QurÃ¢â‚¬â„¢aan or Authentic Sunnah.
Allah says in the interpretation of the meaning: `This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion` (5:4)
Allahs Messenger (sa) said: `There is nothing that Allaah ordered you with except that I have ordered you with it, and there is nothing that Allaah forbade you from except that I have forbidden you from it` [al-Bayhaqee and others].
^ Allah has perfected our Deen for us and sent us our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) with a message for the whole of mankind Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Are we claiming Allah is a liar that he missed some things out or the Prophet (sa) did not do his job sufficiently? We need to fear Allah, and realise have no right to innovate!
The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: `I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion), and every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire` [An-Nasa`ee]
He (sa) used to declare at the beginning of his lectures: `Ã¢â‚¬Â¦.and the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (sa), and the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters (in the religion)` [Saheeh Muslim]
So the issue of Innovation is not to be taken lightly. It does not matter how good a thing may seem appear to be, or sound Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if Allah or His Prophet (sa) did not authorise it, stay well away or we will pay the consequences in this life and the next.
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