Sighting the Moon

Every year there is a debate about when the Holy Month of Ramadan is going to start and when Eid is going to be celebrated, we have ourselves broadcast many khutba’s over the years on the issue.

Tradition is to look for the moon with the naked eye. Here we discuss whether it is permissible to use modern scientific methods to determine the new moon.

The Myth of Sighting the New Moon with the Naked Eye

cover book

The above picture is the cover of a new book entitled “The Astronomical Calculations And Ramadan: A Fiqhi Discourse” by Dr Zulfiqar Ali Shah from Pakistan. On the back cover of this book it is stated:

This book shatters the myth that naked-eye sighting of the new moon and completing thirty days in the case of weather-related or other obscurities are the only two valid methods of determining the month of
Ramadan. The author explains that certainty, not actual sighting, is the real objective of the Shari‘ah and that the Qur’an does not mandate physical sighting. A careful analysis shows that those hadiths
that seemingly require sighting actually require certainty. The assertion that Muslim scholars view the use of astronomical calculation to determine the month of Ramadan as unlawful, and hence prohibited, are without foundation. As calculation is now more accurate than naked-eye sighting, due to certain astronomical and
scientific advancements, the use of calculation is the closest to the
real objective of the Shari‘ah and to the spirit of the hadiths