Monday, November 20, 2017 - 2 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439
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Is it permissible to fast based on the sighting of the new moon in a country other than the country in which one currently lives?

Is it permissible to fast based on the sighting of the new moon in a country other than the country in which one currently lives?

Answer

Residents of a given country should not begin or end their fast based on a moon sighting that differs from that of their country because this inconsistency divides the unity of Muslims and sows discord and division among them. It is established in Islamic law that the person charged with the affairs of Muslims must resolve any disagreements that occurs between them. Accordingly, if a fatwa is issued stating that the new moon of Ramadan, or of any other month for that matter, has been sighted in a particular country, it is incumbent upon the Muslims residing in that place to follow it and it is not permissible for them to disregard it. This is due to the narration of Karib who said that Um Al-Fadl Bint Al-Harith sent him to Mu’awiyah in the Levant. He said: “Ramadan started when I arrived in the Levant. I saw the new moon on the Friday. Then I arrived in Madina at the end of the month. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas asked me, “When did you sight the new moon?” I replied, “We saw it Friday night.” He then asked me, “Did you see it?” “Yes,” I replied. “The people sighted it and fasted and Mu’awiyah fasted.” “But we saw it on Saturday night” he said. He added, “And we will continue to fast until we complete thirty days or see the new moon.” I asked him, “Are you not satisfied with the sighting and fasting of Mu’awiyah?” “No,” he said. “This is what the Messenger of God commanded us to do.” So the hadith indicates that every country should follow its own sighting and this is our position when issuing a fatwa on this matter.
And God the Almighty knows best.
 

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