According to Shari'ah the difference in seeing the moon is allowed in Islam, a Muslim has to follow the country he is living in, there are two reasons for thist:
First: because it is not against the Shari'ah,
Secondly: to avoid making differences among the people in the society where we are living.
I am giving here some Fatwas of Shekh Ibn Uthaymeen – May Allah be merciful with him – a senior Saudi scholar, which are related to this subject.
If countries differ with regard to when Ramadan begins and when the day of ‘Arafah is, with whom should I fast?
Because of some personal circumstances we moved to Pakistan, where a lot of things are different, such as the time of prayer, etc. I want to ask you: I am keen to fast on the day of ‘Arafah, but the Hijri date in Pakistan is different from the date in Saudi: when the date in Pakistan is the 8th of the month, it is the 9th in Saudi. Should I fast on the 8th – which is the 9th in Saudi – or should I fast according to the date in Pakistan?.
Praise be to Allaah.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: what if the day of ‘Arafah is different because of the moon being sighted at different times in different countries? Should we fast according to the moon sighting in the country where we are or according to the moon sighting in al-Haramayn (the two Holy Sanctuaries)?
He replied: This is based on a difference of opinion among the scholars: Is there only one moon sighting for the whole world or does it vary according to when the moon rises in different places?
The correct view is that it varies according to when the moon rises in different places. For example, if the moon is sighted in Makkah, and today is the ninth, and it is sighted elsewhere one day before Makkah, and the day of ‘Arafah in Makkah is the tenth for them, it is not permissible for them to fast on this day because it is Eid. Similarly if it so happens that they sight the moon after Makkah, and the 9th in Makkah is the 8th for them, then they should fast the day that is the 9th for them, which is the 10th in Makkah. This is the correct view, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When you see it (the new moon) fast and when you see it break your fast.” Those who did not see the moon in their own location have not seen it. Just as people are unanimously agreed that the times for dawn and sunset vary according to their own location, so too the months are also worked out by location, just like the daily timings.
Majmoo' al-Fataawa 20.
And he (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about some people who worked in the Saudi embassy in a foreign country, who said that they were having a problem concerning the fast of Ramadaan and the fast on the day of ‘Arafah. The brothers there had split into three groups:
One group said: we will fast with Saudi and break the fast with Saudi.
Another group said: we will fast with the country where we are living and break the fast with them.
The last group said: we will fast Ramadaan with the country where we are living, but we will fast the day of ‘Arafah with Saudi Arabia.
They asked the Shaykh to provide them with a detailed answer concerning the Ramadaan fast and fasting the day of ‘Arafah, whilst noting that for the past five years, in the country where they were living neither Ramadaan nor the day of ‘Arafah had been observed on the same days as in Saudi; their Ramadaan started one or two days after it had been announced in Saudi, and sometimes three days after.
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) differed concerning the issue when the moon is sighted in one part of the Muslim world and not in another: Do all the Muslims have to act on the basis of that, or only those who sighted it and the people who live in the same region, or only those who sighted it and the people who live under the same government? There are many different points of view.
The most correct view is that the matter should be referred to those who have knowledge of it. If the moon rises at the same point for two countries they become like one country, so if it is sighted in one of them that ruling applies to the other. But if the rising points differ, then each country has its own ruling. This is the view favoured by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him); this is the apparent meaning of the texts of the Qur'aan and Sunnah and what is implied by analogy.
In the Qur'aan it says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him”
What is implied by this verse is that whoever does not see it is not obliged to fast.
In the Sunnah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you see it (the new moon) then fast, and when you see it, breaks your fast.” What is implied by this hadeeth is that if we did not see it we are not obliged to fast or to break the fast.
With regard to analogy, the times for starting and ending the fast each day should be worked out in each country on its own, according to the local times of sunrise and sunset. This is a point on which there is scholarly consensus. So you see the people in East Asia starting their fast before the people of West Asia, and breaking their fast before them, because dawn breaks for the former before the latter, and the sun sets for the former before the latter.
Once this is established with regard to the times for starting and ending the daily fast, it also applies to the start and end of the monthly fast. There is no difference between them.
But if many regions come under the same government, and the ruler gives the command for the fast to start or end, then his command must be followed, because this is a matter of scholarly dispute but the command of the ruler dispels that dispute.
Based on the above, you should fast and break your fast along with the people of the country where you are living, whether that is in accordance with your country of origin or not. Similarly on the Day of ‘Arafah you should follow the country where you are living.
Written by Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen,
Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 19.
I hope that this Masalah will be understood by all. May Allah guide all of us to the right way and accept our good deeds in these blessed days.
Mohsen Shaker Bayoumy
Imam of Osaka Mosque
The First Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah
Allah has favored the first ten days of Dhul-Hijah, over the other days of worship. It has been narrated by Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Holy Prophet,said: "There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days."·They said: "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?"·He said: "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything."·(Al-Bukhari ) It also narrated from Anas , that the Holy Prophet , said: "There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of Al-Adha."·It was said: "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?·He said: "Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.·(Al-Daarimi) Also it was narrated from Abdallah ibn Umar that the Holy Prophet , said: "There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed during them. (Imam Ahmad) These hadiths and others like them, clearly indicate that these ten days are better than all the other days of the year. So what should we do to get the blessing of Allah in these days? First of all we should start these days with sincere Tawbah (repentance) to Allah, and there are a lot of righteous deeds we can do such as the following deeds:
1 ·Fasting. Of course the most righteous deed to do in these days is to fast in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, because fasting is one of the best of deeds, which Allah has chosen for Himself as it says in the hadith qudsi: "Allah says: "All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it."·(Al-Bukhari). Also the Holy Prophet , used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. It was narrated from Hunaydah ibn Khaalid from his wife, that one of the wives of the Holy Prophet , said: "The Holy Prophet , used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah and the day of Ashura and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays. (Al-Nasaa'I & Abu Dawood). Concerning fasting on the day of Arafat (the ninth day), it has been reported by Abu Qutaadah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah , was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafat. He said, "It expiates the sins of the previous year and of the coming year." (Muslim) For this reason fasting is mustahabb for those who are not performing Hajj.
2 ·Reciting tahmeed, tahleel and takbeer a great deal. Allah says: "That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade), and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days, over the beasts of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)." Surah Al-Hajj 22:28. So it is sunnah to recite takbeer (saying "Allahu akbar" (Allah is most great)), tahmeed (saying "Al-hamdulillah" (praise be to Allah)), tahleel (saying "Laa ilaha il-Allah" (There is no god but Allah)) and tasbeeh (saying "Subhanallah" (Glory be to Allah)), during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, saying these words in the mosques, homes, streets and every place in which it is permissible to remember Allah, The takbeer is as follows: Allah akbar, Allahu akbar , Alaahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar wa Lillah il-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise), and there are other versions.
3 ·Performing Hajj and Umrah. One of the greatest deeds that can be done during these ten days is Hajj to the sacred House of Allah. Whoever Allah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to do the rituals in the required manner will insha'Allah be included in the words of the Messenger of Allah : "An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise."
4 ·Udhiyah (sacrifice). The word udhiyah means an animal (camel, cow, sheep or goat) that is slaughtered during the days of the Eid al-Adha for the purpose of the Eid and as an act of worship by which one intends to draw closer to Allah. Allah says: "Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)." 108:2 Abdallah ibn Umar , said: "The Holy Prophet , stayed in Medina for ten years, offering sacrifice (every year on the Eid). (Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi) It is also narrated from al-Baraa'ibn Hazib , may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet , said: "Whoever offers a sacrifice after the prayer has completed his rituals (of Eid) and has followed the way of the Muslims." (al-Bukhari) For this reason, the majority of scholars are of the view that it is sunnah mu 'akkadah (Imam Al-Shafi, Imam Malik), but some scholars said that it is fard (obligatory). (Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Ahmad) In either case it is one of the righteous deeds that will bring a person closer to Allah in these ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. If he has ability to do it he should look for a good, fat animal and to spend money on it and to slaughter it for the sake of Allah, and feed the people with it. May Allah ta 'ala help all of us to do what is pleasing to Him, and guide us to the right way. Ameen