Tuesday, Fabruary 27, 2024 AD / Sha’aban 17, 1445 AH
Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani
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Question & Answer
 

There is a disagreement among scholars in proving the beginning of the new month. Some of them believe in the necessity of sighting the crescent moon with the naked eye, and some accept sighting it with the armed eye. What is His Excellency Mansoor’s opinion on this matter?

God Almighty has said: ﴿يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ ۖ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ[1]; “They ask you about the crescents. Say: ‘they are signs to mark periods of time for people and Hajj,’” and the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, has said: «صُومُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ، وَأَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ»[2]; “Fast when you see it (the new moon) and break your fast when you see it.” Accordingly, there should be no doubt that the new month is proved by sighting the crescent moon, whether it is done with the naked eye or the armed eye; because both of them are sighting, and sighting in the words of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, is absolute.

↑[1] . Al-Baqarah/ 189
↑[2] . Muwatta’ Malik, vol. 1, p. 297; Musnad of Abi Dawud al-Tayalisi, vol. 2, p. 202; Musnad of al-Shafi‘i, p. 187; Musannaf of ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 2, p. 284; Musnad of Ahmad, vol. 26, p. 221; Musand of al-Darimi, vol. 2, p. 1048; Sahih of al-Bukhari, vol. 3, p. 27; Sahih of Muslim, vol. 2, p. 759; Sunan of ibn Majah, vol. 1, p. 529; Sunan of al-Tirmidhi, vol. 3, p. 63; Sunan of al-Nasa’i, vol. 4, p. 133; Sunan of al-Daraqutni, vol. 3, p. 104
The website for the office of Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani The section for answering questions
Appendices
Sub-questions & answers
Sub-question 1
Author: Mahdi Taremi
Date: 2018 May 20

During the external research on jurisprudence with one of the Shia jurists, I came across an interesting point regarding the invalidity of sighting the crescent moon using modern devices, and your opinion in this regard will be helpful. In short: If sighting the crescent moon by a camera or telescope really proves the first day and the obligation to fast, then this necessitates that there would be a deficiency in the fasting of the Prophet and the Imams, peace be upon them, and their companions and helpers in various cities; because they did not have a telescope in their time. So when you see the crescent moon with a telescope sooner than with the naked eye, this means that the fasting of Those Excellencies was delayed beyond its time, and this is not acceptable.

Answer to
sub-question 1
Date: 2018 May 28

This statement is a clear fallacy and more like the statement of some of the general public than the external research on jurisprudence with one of the jurists! Of course, we do not mean that you lie in quoting it; because the stagnation and decline in knowledge in Shia religious schools, especially in Iran, is a bitter and unfortunate reality, and its result is the authority of the least educated and the most dependent-on-rulers mullahs through political considerations, the filling of religious schools with ignorant and flattering masters, and the isolation of independent and well-informed scholars in the last four decades, which has led to the hatred of people toward the people of religion, their fleeing from Islam, and the vulgarity of the Shia cultural and made the advent for Imam Mahdi, peace be upon him, so difficult. May God curse those who have caused this situation; because they have been the most sinister and harmful rulers in the history of Islam after the Umayyad rulers.

As for the objection mentioned by this jurist, it is rejected; because if by a deficiency in the fasting of the Prophet, the Imams, and their companions, he meant a deficiency in obedience, in the sense of their failure to fulfill their duty, it is clear that God has obligated them to the extent of their abilities; as He has said: ﴿لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا[1]; “God does not impose upon anyone an obligation but to the extent of his ability,” and said: ﴿لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا مَا آتَاهَا[2]; “God does not impose upon anyone an obligation beyond what He has given him.” Therefore, they were not obligated to see the crescent moon with the armed eye or accept it from those who reported it, and consequently, there was no deficiency in their fasting, and if by a deficiency in their fasting, he meant a deficiency in the actual timing, in the sense of the lack of correspondence with the real time in cases of not sighting the crescent moon, it is clear that this lack of correspondence was not only due to the absence of a telescope to challenge its reliability, but rather it was also due to other factors such as the presence of clouds or dust in the sky; as what the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, said to his Sahabah indicates it when he said: «فَإِنْ حَالَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُ غَمَامَةٌ أَوْ ضَبَابَةٌ فَأَكْمِلُوا شَهْرَ شَعْبَانَ ثَلَاثِينَ»[3]; “If a cloud or fog comes between you and it, then complete the month of Sha‘ban as thirty days,” and Abu Umayr ibn Anas ibn Malik has narrated and said: “My paternal uncles among the Ansar, who were among the Sahabah of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, said to me: «أُغْمِيَ عَلَيْنَا هِلَالُ شَوَّالٍ، فَأَصْبَحْنَا صِيَامًا، فَجَاءَ رَكْبٌ مِنْ آخِرِ النَّهَارِ، فَشَهِدُوا عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُمْ رَأَوُا الْهِلَالَ بِالْأَمْسِ، فَأَمَرَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ يُفْطِرُوا، وَأَنْ يَخْرُجُوا إِلَى عِيدِهِمْ مِنَ الْغَدِ»[4]; ‘The crescent of Shawwal was covered with clouds, so we fasted the next day. Then some riders came at the end of the day and testified to the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, that they had seen the crescent moon the night before, so the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, commanded them to break their fast and go out to offer the Eid prayer the following morning.’” So does this jurist believe that the lack of correspondence with the real time in such cases was a deficiency in the fasting of the Prophet, the Imams, and their companions?! It is clear that it was not so, and therefore, this jurist should not worry about the fasting of the Prophet, the Imams, and their companions; because their fasting was correct in view of their capacity and capabilities available in their time, but he should worry about his own fasting; because his fasting, in view of his capacity and the capabilities available in his time, is not considered correct!

The fact is that knowledge of the beginning of each month is religiously obtained by sighting its crescent moon, whether with the naked eye or armed eye; because sighting it, by any means it is achieved, is sighting it, and therefore, His Excellency Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani, may God Almighty protect him, has marveled at the question about the validity of sighting the crescent moon with binoculars and said: «أَلَسْتُمْ تَرَوْنَهُ؟!»; “Is it not that you see it?!”

*For further explanations, refer to the arabic text.
↑[1] . Al-Baqarah/ 286
↑[2] . At-Talaq/ 7
↑[3] . Musnad of Abi Dawud al-Tayalisi, vol. 4, p. 395; Musnad of Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 445; Musnad of al-Darimi, vol. 2, p. 1048; Sunan of al-Nasa’i, vol. 4, p. 153; Sharh Mushkil al-Athar by al-Tahawi, vol. 9, p. 388; Sahih of ibn Hibban, vol. 8, p. 357; al-Sunan al-Kubra by al-Bayhaqi, vol. 4, p. 350; Sharh al-Sunnah by al-Baghawi, vol. 6, p. 232
↑[4] . Musannaf of Abd al-Razzaq, vol. 4, p. 165; Musnad of ibn al-Ja‘d, p. 258; Musannaf of ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 2, p. 319; Musnad of Ahmed, vol. 34, p. 191; Sunan of ibn Majah, vol. 1, p. 529; Sunan of Abi Dawud, vol. 1, p. 300; al-Muntaqa by ibn Al-Jarud, vol. 1, p. 77; al-Kuna Wa al-Asma’ by al-Dulabi, vol. 1, p. 394; Sharh Ma‘ani al-Athar by al-Tahawi, vol. 1, p. 387; Sunan of al-Daraqutni, vol. 3, p. 124; al-Sunan al-Kubra by al-Bayhaqi, vol. 4, p. 418
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