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How Do We Determine the Beginning And the Ending of Ramadaan?

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah
(swt), the Most Beneficient, the Most Merciful

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There are 3 ways by which we can determine the beginning of the month of Ramadaan:

1) When the month of Sha’aban is completed with 30 days, the month of Ramadaan starts automatically (in the Islamic calendar every month has either 29 or 30 days only).

If you have NOT sighted the moon on the 29th of Sha’aban even when the sky is clear, this means that there is a 30th day of Sha’aban. Now even if you see NO moon on the 30th day of Sha’aban it means that Ramadaan starts on the very next day as the month of Sha’aban has automatically ended as 30 days are complete.

2) When you see the moon on the 29th day of Sha’aban as the sky is clear then Ramadaan begins on the very next day, as the month of Sha’aban has now ended due to the appearance of the moon.

3) When the sky is cloudy on the 29th day of Sha’aban and you cannot see the moon, then you assume that there is a 30th day of Sha’aban and Ramadaan begins on the day after that 30th day.

Ibn Umar (r) reported Allah’s messenger (saws) as saying in connection with Ramadaan:
‘Do not fast till you see the new moon, and do not break fast till you see it; but if the weather is cloudy calculate about it.’
[Sahih Muslim]

There are differences of opinion on whether it is one man or two men, who have to witness the sighting of the moon.

Some scholars say one man for determining the beginning of Ramadaan and two men for determining the end of Ramadaan.

Some scholars say two men at the beginning and one at the end.

Some other scholars say two at the beginning and two at the end.

However inshaAllah we can say (by combining all narrations regarding the issue) that it is sufficient for there being just one man witnessing the moon for the beginning and one man for the ending given that the person is TRUSTWORTHY. To be safe we can say that 2 men being witnesses for beginning and the ending are better.

The witnesses MUST be Muslims and they must be adult, sane, with good sight and they must literally see the moon and it cannot be from calculations as this is innovation.

Regarding the moon sighting that one should follow in case of someone seeing the moon in another part of the World first, there are good evidences for both sides of the arguments on whether to follow the first sighting or sighting of your own community. It is best to follow whatever they are following in your own community and not to break apart from them. In the future we will inshaAllah update on the evidences that scholars give after we ourselves do more research on the matter. Allah (swt) knows best.

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Written by al Muddaththir

June 23, 2008 at 5:51 pm

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