Regarding the Dispute in Deciding the Feast Day of Islam
Lajnah Da’imah Lil Buhuts Ilmiah Wal Ifta of Saudi Arabia was asked,
How is the dispute about the Eid (the feast day) of the muslims, that is the Eid al Fithr and Eid al Adha, being regarded in Islam? For information, this might cause them to fast on the day fasting is forbidden, that is the Eid, or break their fast on the day they should fast. We wish to get complete explanation concerning this important matter, that we might use as our reason in front of Allah later. If there is a difference in it, it might be two to three days. Supposed that Islam disregard any difference in it, then what is the best way to unite the Eid of the muslims?
The scholars have agreed that the place where one could see the new crescent (hilal) is different form one country to another (Which means that it is highly likely that each country might see the new crescent at different times, -ed). And this fact is acknowledged by everybody’s mind and senses. But the scholars differed in whether or not that difference in place might be accounted in determining the beginning and the end of Ramadan fast. There are two opinions in this matter:
First: Some Imam in jurisprudence said that the difference in place is accounted in determining the beginning and the end of the fast. (Which means that every country may decide the Eid based on their own seeing of the crescent).
Second: Some of them said it is not. (Which means that if a person has seen the crescent, in any given country, then the morrow is the Eid for the whole muslim in this world).
And each group used argumentation from the Qur’an, sunnah, and analogy, and sometimes both groups were using the same indication, because there was similarity in their reasoning, for example in interpreting the verse:
“So those of you who live to see that month should fast it,” (Qs. Al-Baqarah/The Cow: 185)
And Allah’s decree:
“People question you concerning the phases of the moon. Say: “They are signs to determine time” (Qs. Al-Baqarah/The Cow: 189)
And the saying of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- : which means:
“Fast (you) because of seeing it, and break your fast because of seeing it.”
It happened because of their different understanding in interpreting the indication and forming their opinion based on it.
In conclusion: The matter that was asked is among the matters of personal interpretation (ijtihad). Therefore, the past and present scholars have differed in it. And it is alright for the residents of any given country, if they didn’t see the crescent on the night of the thirty of Sha’ban, to adapt the claim of seeing the crescent from another country which doesn’t share the same place of seeing with them, if it has truly been seen.
But if they were still differing, then they should take the decision of their government. Because the decision of the government by choosing one out of two opinions would diminish the feud. In this case, the residents must take and obey it. And if the government is not a muslim government, they should take the decision issued by the Islamic Center Forum of their country, to maintain the unity in performing the Ramadan fast and the Eid prayer.
May Allah give us His guidance, peace and prayer of Allah be upon the Prophet, his family, and his companions.
Vice Chairman: Abdur Razzaq Afifi.
Members : Abdullah Ibn Ghudayyan, Abdullah Ibn Mani.