Current Legal Issues

Sighting of the New Moon

5. Sighting of the New Moon:

"Sighting of the new moon is ascertained by knowledge of the actual sighting or through solid news of such sighting, or some other means. Certainty can also be achieved through common knowledge. Amongst other sources of ascertaining the sighting of the new moon is the lapse of thirty days on Shabans crescent for the start of Ramadhan to be confirmed, or thirty days on the crescent of Ramadhan for the new moon of Shawwal to be confirmed [and so on]. Sighting can also be confirmed by the evidence of two witnesses of impeccable character (adl).

However, sighting of the new moon is not recognised by the evidence of women, or by the evidence of one just witness, even with oath, or by the words of astrologers. Neither by its absence after dawn dusk, so that it could be said that it belongs to a previous night, nor by the evidence of two just witnesses, if the evidence is not confined to their own sighting of the newly born moon. Sighting is not recognised too when it is seen before zawaal so that the day of sighting be from the ensuing month. The impression of a ring it may give, proving that it could belong to a previous night, cannot be accepted as well.

There is ishkal, rather objection, in ascertaining the birth of a new moon by a ruling from a judge, whose error cannot be verified, neither the error of his source. Of course, if his ruling or his evidence leads to certainty of sighting in the town and the like, it could be relied on". Al-Minhaj, p.335.

The sighting of the new moon in a town could make up for its sighting in another.

"Should the new moon be sighted in a town, it would suffice the sighting in another town, provided the two fall on the same horizon. That is, if the new moon was sighted in the first town, there would be a distinct possibility of sighting it in the second, barring any obstacles, such as clouds and high mountains". Al-Minhaj, article 1044.