VERDICT : Response to a question about the sighting of 1439 Ramadan moon.
QUESTION : Assalaamu Alaykum Warahmatullaahi Wabarakatuhu. I have an important question which i want my brothers in Islam to give answer to.
The consensus of majority of Muslim scholars remains that Ramadan fasting can only be offered on sighting the moon and not through the astronomical calculation. And (as known) if the moon is sighted by some brothers in a given place, then it becomes obligatory on the rest of Muslims to begin fasting. Today 16/5/2018 ,the commencement of Ramadan has not been declared by any one except in Turkey and by some scholars living in Europe who as shown in their statements relied on the astronomical calculation. Suddenly I came across in facebook a statement credited to your eminences in the Union of African Scholars that the moon has been sighted in Senegal and some other countries and that based on that, Ramadan commences today. I am confused over fasting or breaking. I wait for your response. May Allah bless you.
(NB: by the General Secretariat: Senegal was not included among the countries in which the moon was sighted according to the Union’s statement. You may therefore revisit the web for confirmation https://lc.cx/mw7D)
RESPONSE : All praise is due to Allah. The issue falls within one of two instances :it is either the questionnaire is (speaking) in an individual capacity or (speaking for) an organization. An individual may either reside in a place where the issue of moon sighting is being regulated through the government watch or through a Shariah Committe that has been tasked by all and sundry with the matter. In this case, the onus does not lie on an individual rather it is only compulsory on him to remain obedient to the constituent authority and in the instance where he is able to sight the moon by himself, it is compulsory on him to give testimony before the responsible agency.
Contrary to this, if an individual lives in a place where the moon sighting is not being regulated under any agency, it is thus incumbent on him in this circumstance to make all effort (within his reach) at connecting with the authenticated information from Muslim authorities and with out restricting that to a city or localty. This is because what matters most according to scholars is acceccing the information.
As for the regulatory agencies on moon sighting, it is incumbent upon them to spend their utmost effort in searching for the moon on international level and through the available means. This is because they will be responsible before Allah for the outcomes of their efforts just as it is compulsory for the Muslims to be bound by their announcement.