SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Three years ago, six Shia scholars in London’s Islamic centers asked about the subject of the moon sighting after explaining the problems that happen due to the difference in opinion of our great scholars.
After showing his opinion about this subject, Ayatollah Ali Al-Hussaini Al-Sistani recommended that everyone follows their own scholar, like it is in all Fiqh issues, and the importance of educating the believers to accept the differences in opinions and avoid making conflicts out of it.
It can be mentioned that the answer to this question (moon sighting) had the personal stamp of Ayatollah Al-Sistani on it.
SHAFAQNA considered it important to re-publish the question and its answers due to its high religious scientific and timing importance.
Here is the original letter sent by the UK scholars to Ayatollah Al-Siatani
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH THE MOST BENEFICENT THE MOST MERCIFUL
May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you,
We would like to inform your eminence that a monthly meeting takes place in the presence of six of the scholars responsible of several Islamic centres belonging to Ahlulbayt’s (A.S.) school of thought to discuss relevant issues concerning the community. The scholars mentioned, discussed the moon sighting issue in Britain during their last meeting. They observed a general discontent in the public regarding the difference in opinion among the great scholars on the issue of moon sighting, especially the difference about the beginning of the month (of Ramadan) or on the Eid for up to three days, like what happened last year, which generated confusions that are hard to respond to.
On this occasion, we present to your eminence the conclusion of what has been discussed.
- According to the scientific rules and the testimonies of the experts, it is possible to see the moon in most of Europe before sunset, this Friday, by telescope.
- If the rule according to your eminence is the correlation of scientific and astronomical moon sighting between one country and another without obstacles, is it possible to generalize this correlation among the meridians also or does it concern only the latitudes?
We hope from your eminence to help us take the right decision that reduces the disputes among the families in Europe and more specifically in the UK.
Sheikh Ali Al-Alemi, Sheikh Abdl Hussain Al-Muazzi, Sayyed Mohammed Al-Mousawi, Sheikh Dhafar Abbas, Sheikh Fadhel Al-Milani, Sayyed Murtadha Al-Kashmiri.
IN THE NAME OF ALMIGHTY ALLAH
- It is known that the beginning of the lunar month is marked by the sighting of the moon in the horizon of the concerned country in a way that it can be seen by naked eye without any obstacles like clouds, fog or such. Therefore, sighting with telescope only is rejected.
- Common horizon between two countries in moon sighting means that actual sighting in the first country has to be related to the sighting in the second country if external obstacles do not exist. It also important to know that one of the most important issues that affect sighting is the moon elevation compared to the horizon on sunset. The involvement of two countries on the same meridian does not mean that sighting will be possible in both countries on the same night and the same elevation. Generally, moon is possible to see in most countries that are south of the equator, because of its appearance at a reasonable elevation. This also mean that moon will not be possible to see in countries that are situation in the north of the planet earth, even though they are on the same meridian as the previously mentioned countries.
- The differences at the beginning of the lunar months cannot be avoided because of the opinions of the scholars. It is the duty of every person to follow the Fatwa of their own scholar in all Fiqh issues and we ask believers to be educated to accept the differences in opinions among the scholars and avoid making disputes and problems out of it.
May Allah help and guide your path. Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.
Ali Al-Hussaini Al-Sistani
26 of Shaba’an 1430