Sightings of the Hilaal (New Crescent) and the Signs of Qiyamah

[Mufti Muhammad Yusuf Danka,  Croydon Masjid]

Allah Ta’ala has stated in the Holy Qur’an:

They ask you [Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)] about the crescent moons. Say: They are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for  the pilgrimage.’  [Qur’an 2:189]

The Shari’ah of Islam has classified the regulation of time (months)  by means of sighting the crescent  moon. Every person who has the  faculty of sight can look at the  sky and determine the start of the  new month (by viewing the  crescent moon). Despite great  leaps being made in the field of  astronomy as well as scientific  calculations being formulated on  the birth of the new moon, the  scientific analysis is not a  verified proof in Islam to    commence the new month. To  stipulate Ramadan and Eid  (commencement of end of the  month) calendar dates by  calculations alone is not  permissible. In the  commencement of every month, it is necessary to verify and validate the sighting of the moon  (Muhaqaq Ru’yat Basari).  Whosoever leaves this methodology has left the guidance of the Shari’ah in Sunnah. (Dars-e-Tirmidhi vol 2, p 520-521) 

Shaykhul Tafsir Hadhrat Molana Muhammad Idrees Khandhlawi writes: ‘In the  Shari’ahZakaat, Hajj, and  Ramadhan fasting, issues of  Islamic  jurisprudence (i.e  the  waiting  period  of  women  etc) are  based  upon the  lunar  month. There  is  no  reference made  to  the  solar  calendar or its calculation in  Shariah. It is for this reason  that  the knowledge of the lunar months and conditions of Ruyat‐e‐Hilal  are  Fard alal Kifayah upon the Muslims.  If all the Muslims were to abandon  attaining knowledge related to these  matters, they would be committing a  sin. [Ma’riful Qur’an, vol 1, p380] 

The Final Prophet to Mankind, Sayyidina Muhammad bin Abdullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has  related many signs before  Qiyamah to warn Mankind. The  books of Hadith are filled with  authentic chain of narrations in  respect of these  signs.  One  sign  among the signs of Qiyamah is  that there will be disagreement  in  regards to Ruyat‐e-Hilal. It has  also been related that near the  time Qiyamah the crescent moon  of  the  first  day  will  be  seen  to  be large. The Prophet  also  stated: ‘When seeing the crescent  moon of the first day people will state, this looks like  the  moon  of  the  2nd  or  3rd  day.’  The Prophet   further told us to abstain from  doing so. 

In this time, not only the laymen  but also certain groups among  the scholars are proclaiming  these matters. The scholars are  not mindful of the fact that their statements are going against the advices made by the Nabi. 

Nowadays people totally forgo the Sunnah of sighting the moon when deciding upon  any calendar event. In fact the norm is that people try to cause controversy after  the full moon is evident by working back on dates and justifying that the date of celebration or commencement of fasting was correct. We can see the reality in the statements of the Nabi 1400 years on, when we are hearing and seeing people making statements exactly as the Prophet described. People are saying today: ‘Is the moon of the 1st night really this big?’  or ‘does the moon  of the  1st night stay  on the horizon for such a long  time?’ then they say: ‘This  means that it must be the  moon  of the 2nd or  3rd night.’ Such statements are made as accusations rather than questions and are evident signs preceding to Qiyamah as foretold by the Prophet. 

The  requirements  of  Shari’ah  are  to  sight  the  moon  of  the  29th  night  and  if  it  is  not  viewed  then 30 days are  to be completed for the month. The size of the  moon is not entertained or given  any  weight  in  Shari’ah, this  is the view of  ignorant and irreligious persons. In  Islam, we have  specific stipulations clearly laid out which is the law of  Allah revealed to Mankind for their  betterment.  

Signs of Qiyamah-Sighting the Large moon of the 1st night: 

1. Sayyidina Abu Hurairah related  that the Prophet stated: ‘A sign  from among the signs of Qiyamah  is that the moon of the 1st night will be large and upon seeing this people will say: ‘This is the moon of the  2nd night.’ (Majmuz-Zawahid, vol 3, p146)

2. Sayyidina Abdullah bin Masood related that the Prophet stated: ‘Close to the day of Qiyamah, the moon will be seen as being large.’ (Majmuz-Zawahid, vol 3, p146).

Remember the Ghair Muqalideen cannot debate the validity of these Ahadith, even their Shaykh Albani  has stated their authenticity. 

3. Sayyidina Anas bin Malik  (radhiyallahu anhu) related that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stated: ‘Verily, a sign of  Qiyamah is that the moon of the 1st night will be large and upon seeing this people will say: ‘This is the moon  of the 2nd night.’ (Majmuz-Zawahid, vol 7, p325) 

Signs of Qiyamah – The new month being commenced before sighting the crescent moon:

4. Sayyidina Anas bin Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) related that  the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stated: ‘A sign from  among the signs of Qiyamah is that the moon will be seen before it is  sighted. Upon sighting the moon of the 1st night it will be said: ‘This is the moon of the 2nd night.’ (Majmul-Fawahid, vol 4, p714)

Nowadays, certain governments ofMuslim countries (Turkey, Indonesia etc) are commencing Ramadhan and Eid upon pre‐calculated lunar calendars. This results in them commencing the new month 1 or 2 days before the crescent moon can be sighted. The Saudi government base the commencement of the new month, especially Ramadan, Eid and Hajj on the possibility of the new moon being present (not witnessed) on the horizon for 1 minute after the sun sets. If a calculation proves this phenomenon, they deem the new month to have commenced and it is upon this that the Umm Ul Qura calendar is formulated and printed for the entire year. It is the desire of the Saudi government that the entire Muslim world follows their lead in adopting this principle. It is for this reason that they announce the commencement of the new Islamic month before the crescent moon of the 1st day is visible anywhere in the World. 

Signs of Qiyamah – The moon of the 1st night will be called the moon of the 2nd night:  

5. Asim bin Bahdala relates from 
Sayyidina Shu’aib (radhiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stated: ‘A sign witnessed close to the   day of Qiyamah will be that themoon of the 1st night will seem like that of the 2nd night.’ (As Sunnanul Waarida, vol 4, p791) 

6. Sayyidina Amara bin Mehran 
relates: I heard Sayyidina Hassan (radhiyallahu anhu) state: ‘The  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stated: ‘A  sign  from  the signs of Qiyamah is that the moon of the 1st night will be sighted and it will be said: This is the moon of the 2nd night.’ (As Sunnanul Waarida, vol 4, p791)   

7. Sayyidina Abu Saeed Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) related  that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stated: ‘Close  to Qiyamah the moon will be seen as being large. Upon seeing the moon of the 1st night a person will have doubt and will think it is the moon of the 2nd night.’ (As Sunnanul Waarida, vol 4, p791)

There are many reports that corroborate with these narrations, including At‐Tabarani, each of which strengthens the other according to the science of Hadith. There are also those narrations which are related through Sahih and Hasan chains of narration. 

Signs of Qiyamah – The disagreement in the sighting of the Ruyat-e Hilal:

8. Abu Baktari (Saeed bin Firoz Ku fi) stated: ‘We went out with the intention of Umrah, when we  reached Batane Nakhla (an area between Makkah and Taif) we gathered in a place to sight the moon. (After seeing the moon) Certain people said: ‘This moon looks like the 2nd night and some said it looks like the 3rd night.’ Following this, wemet Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Abbas(radhiyallahu anhu). We described our experience to him, he asked: ‘What night did you see the moon?’We replied: ‘such and such a night.’Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) related that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stated: ‘Allah has based the month of Ramadan upon the sighting of the moon. Therefore, the moon is of the night that you people viewed it (that is the 1st night).’ It is found in another narration: ‘If you people did not view a clear sky and the moon is not sighted,  complete  the  month  with  30  days  (Sh’abaan)  and  after  this  keep  the  fasts  of  Ramadhan.’  (Mishkaat Masabih, ch. Ruyat-e Hilal) 

In the present day and age, many  people go to ‘Saudi’ Arabia during  the month of Ramadan to perform ‘Umrah. On the day when the  Saudi government announces the  commencement of the new  month, when there  are  clear  skies, none of the millions  present sight the moon. Even  the  responsible  persons  of  the  Saudi Ruyat‐e-Hilal  committee  are not able to view the moon  with the use of an observatory  standard telescope in numerous  locations in the kingdom.  However,  in  accordance  with  the Umm Ul Qura calendar, the  announcement is made 1 day  before  the  new  crescent  moon  can  be  sighted. Confusion and  quarrels are found in the entire  Muslim world, only due to the  incorrect announcement of ‘Saudi’  Arabia. The signs of Qiyamah as mentioned in the Ahadith are a result of this. 

In the countries where the Muslim   leaders of centres and  organisations follow the Saudi  announcements or adopt it for  their purpose of establishing a  new month, even they do not view  the crescent moon on the night of  the Saudi announcement. They  view the moon 2 or 3 days after  Saudi make their announcement  and instead of making this the  1st night, they  say: ‘maybe  the  Saudi  announcement was right  then, this looks like the moon of  the 2nd or 3rd night.’ They will  prefer to protect and preserve the  Umm Ul Qura calendar rather than taking the advice of the Prophet :  ‘If  you  people  did  not  view  a  clear  sky  and  the  moon  is  not  sighted, complete the month with 30 days…’ 

The Statements of the Scholars:

Hadhrat Allamah Shabir Ahmed  Uthmani (rahimahullah) writes:  ‘Allah at times creates the moon in a  large form so that the people may  see it easily. At times it is witnessed  as being small and at times, it cannot even be seen. The order of the  Shari’ah is that if the moon is not  witnessed  then 30 days are to be  completed  in  the  month. There are  times when it is possible to sight the  crescent moon, but the sky is cloudy  and the moon is not visible, in this instance 30 days will be completed.’ (Fathul Mulhim, vol 3, p115)

Hadhrat Allamah Nawab Muhammad Khutubudeen Dehlawi (rahimahullah) writes: ‘In    conclusion,  it can be understood  that the basis of Ramadan is  upon sighting the crescent moon.  There is no reliance or weight to  the size of the crescent moon, be  it large or small. However, it is  found in narrations that the  viewing of a large moon of the1st night is from amongst the signs near to the End of Time (Qiyamah). (Mazahir Haq, vol 2, p309)

Presently, people who are not  witnessing the new crescent  moon in the stipulated nights,  instead of adopting the advice of  the Shari’ah to complete 30 days,  follow the announcements of the  another country and government  to where they are living. In doing  so, they commence Ramadan in  the month of Sh’abaan. When  they view the moon the following  day, they hide their fault and  proclaim the moon of the 1st  night as being that of the 2nd.  The same is true form the  completion of Ramadan, when  the moon is not sighted for the  commencement of Shawwal on  the 29th night, 30 days should be  completed. In this instance, 1  fast of Ramadan is wasted and  Eid is performed in Ramadan. It is unfortunate, that those who follow the Sunnah and Mustabat 11  months of the year, leave aside a  Fardh on this occasion and it does not affect their conscience. 

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stated: ‘My Ummah  will never unite on a wrong.’  It is  for this reason, that those who call  to the Truth, announce the reality  of this wrong to the masses even  though they come under a barrage  of ridicule for their stance. What is the logic behind the moon of the 1st  night being large?

There  are  2  important  conditions  for  the  sighting  of  the  Hilal

1. The moon (light) must be  distinguishable from sunlight, so  as  not  be  engulfed  in  the  rays  of  the  sun. 

2. The moon should be high in the sky. For the moon to be viewed on  the 1st night, it needs to be at  least 10 degrees above the  horizon. The crescent moon can  only be viewed a minimum of 18  hours after the birth of the new  moon. The crescent is visible only after the strong rays of the sunset  have subsided, this occurs when  the sun is 5 degrees below the  horizon. The crescent will only be  visible if it is at 10 degrees or  more above the horizon after the  sun has ‘set’ (5 degrees below the  horizon). This process takes  approximately 15‐20mins from  sunset to the sighting of the  crescent moon. Whosoever, claimsto have sighted the crescent moonbefore this stipulated time, either  they have been deceived by  their sighting or they are lying. It  is not possible for there to be  Ruyat e Aama (majority  sighting)  before the  conditions stated above.  

Unseen Time: The last time that  the moon is seen in the month is  the morning of the 27th or 28th  day. After this, the moon is  hidden from the sight of anybody  on Earth. The time the moon is  hidden to the 29th or 30th night,  when the new Hilal becomes  visible is referred to as Mahaaq  (unseen  time). Usually, the  timeframe for ‘unseen  time’  is  between 36  –  50  hours.  

It should be noted that the moon  constantly circulates the Earth.  The time taken to complete a  lunar monthly cycle is 29 days, 12 hours, 44mins, 2.9secs. It is for this reason that the Prophet 
(sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stated: ‘sight the moon of the 29th  night and if it is not viewed then  complete 30 days (for the month)’. 
The full moon of a lunar monthly  cycle occurs 14 days, 18 hours,  22mins, 1.5secs after the birth of  the new moon (14.75  days). This  is when the moon is seen at  100% coverage in the sky, a full  moon. Therefore, in 1 hour the  crescent occupies 0.2821932% of  the moons surface area, this  denotes the thickness of the  crescent on any given day. In 1  day the moon is covered 6.7726385% of the surface area. 

By understanding the scientific  principle of  the crescent size  formation above, the following  will become clear. For example:  on the 29th August 2011, the  Saudi government announced the  sighting of the crescent moon for  Eid ul Fitr in accordance with the  Umm Ul Qura calendar. Scholars  throughout the Islamic world rejected this announcement.  Hadhrat  Mufti  A.S.  Desai  Sahib  of  Mujlisul  Ulama  South  Africa,  has written in his article of 16  Shawwal 1432 (15/9/2011): ‘It is  not permissible for Muslim of UK  nor for Muslims anywhere in the  world to follow the Hilaal  announcements of the current  Saudi authorities. Despite  clear skies, the Hilal was not  sighted in Saudi  Arabia, neither  by the Hilal committees nor the  masses.’ This is a statement made in light of the Shari’ah and Sunnah
The reality is also clearly against  the possibility of a sighting on  this night; on the 29th August  2011, sunset was at 6.40pm, the  moon set at 6.44pm. Therefore  the moon was only present on the horizon for 4mins after sunset,  the moon was 12 hours 36min old at  this time. The altitude of the  moon on this day was zero  degrees above the horizon.

The following day; on the 30th  August 2011, sunset was at  6.39pm, the moon set at 7.27pm,  the moon was present on the  horizon for 48mins after sunset  and was 10 degrees above the  horizon. It was possible  for Ruyate  Aamah to take place  on this night according to the  requirements of Shari’ah. This  was, in  reality, the 1st day of the  Islamic month which many  thousands of people have  witnessed. The moon was seen  on the horizon 10 minutes after  sunset and was visible for 30  mins. On  seeing  the  large  crescent moon on this night, people in “Saudi” Arabia said: ‘This is moon of the 2nd night.’

It should be understood that it  was not possible to see the moon  on the 29th August 2011 as it  was  only 12hours 36mins old. As  stated before, it is not possible to  view the crescent moon when it  is less than 18hours old. On the  30th  August  2011 the moon was  36  hours  35mins old. The  reason this crescent moon  looked large on  the horizon was  because it covered 10.26% of the  moons surface area (1/10th  of  the moons area) (1 hour ‐ 0.2821932% x 36.35hrs = 10.26%). We should look at how accurately the Final Prophet Khatimul Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  foretold of these occurrences and  words people will utter in respect  of the Ruyate Hilal near the day  of Qiyamah, they are playing out  in front of our own eyes. May Allah  unite us in this time of Fitnah and grant us the correct understandingof the Deen.  Aameen! 

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8 thoughts on “Sightings of the Hilaal (New Crescent) and the Signs of Qiyamah”

  1. What about crescent sighting in neighbouring countries like im sri lanka and Pakistan, and it was cloudy in India still eid was celebrated on different dates. 80 years back, sighting in lahore was considered acceptable for people of Delhi. Are tge scholars/hilal committee playing games now or fear govt?

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    1. Neither are playing games as you are presuming brother, Each city or state have their own necessity to view the Crescent.

      Despite been cloudy, many areas in India had clear skies and still the moon wasn’t sighted, It was clear that the crescent wasn’t seen in India, sometimes it also happens that the crescent is seen on different days within India and Eid is celebrated on different dates accordingly.

      Few years back the crescent of Ramadan was seen in Deoband but still it wasn’t seen in Jalalabad which is just about 2 hrs drive away from Deoband, thus Ramadan commenced one day later in Jalalabad.

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      1. Brother if it wasmerr 2 hours difference between jalalabad and deoband then why didn’t people from deoband visit jalalabad to inform them of sighting and they could have celebrated eid same day?

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      2. It isn’t about informing brother, it is about the place from where crescent wasn’t seen, that is the ruling, depends on your own maqaam from whe is the key.

        In Shaa Allah, if time permits we will be posting a detailed response on this discussion, and hopefully i’ll send u the link in comments section to get notified.

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  2. I have high regards for ulema of deoband however with regards to moon sighting they have done a grave mistake this time. They should have given a fatwa to celebrate Eid when news was received of sighting moon in Sri Lanka and Pakistan based on the books of fiqh of akabir e deoband that if moon is sighted anywhere in world eid is to be celebrated.

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    1. The last sentence of your comment (i.e that if moon is sighted anywhere in world eid is to be celebrated), was never the contention of akabir e Deoband.

      The Moon has to be sighted from the horizon of the city, this is what the Prophet has stated in a hadith mentioned above in the article, and the akabir of Deoband have taken their stance accordingly.

      For instance, the crescent was seen in Kargil (in Indian occupied Kashmir) and the people over there observed Eid one day before rest of India, so this wasn’t considered for rest of the country because the crescent wasn’t seen anywhere else.

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      1. Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi said: “If the people of Calcutta sighted the moon in Friday, whereas it was sighted in Makkah on Thursday itself, but the people of Calcutta did not know of it (the sighting on Thursday); then whenever they come to know of this, it will be obligatory for them to celebrate eid with the people of Makkah and make up (Qada’) for the first fasting.” [Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Sharh Tirmizi (Explanation of Tirmizi), Kaukab un Durri, pg 336, Urdu edition]

        “Wherever the sighting is confirmed, however far off it may be, even if it were to be thousands of miles; the people of this place will have to abide by that.” [Fatawa Dar ul Uloom Deoband, Vol. 6 page 380, Urdu edition]

        “Question: There has been some dispute in Amritsar etc. regarding sighting of moon for Ramdhan and Eid ul fitr. So should we the residents of Mandla (CP), which is located very far off, follow that sighting or not?
        Answer: In the maslak of Hanafiyyah, there is no consideration of Ikhtilaf al Matale’ (difference in sighting); the sighting of the people of east is binding upon the people of the west and vice versa. This is also demanded by the hadith (soomoo li ru iyatihi we aftaroo li ru iyatihi) “Fast when it is sighted and stop fasting when it is sighted”, because the address ‘soomoo’ and ‘aftaroo’ is ‘aam (general) and for everyone. In conclusion, when sighting is confirmed in whichever place, everyone is supposed to start his fast and break it in accordance with it, i.e when the sighting is confirmed.” [Fatawa Dar ul Uloom Deoband, Vol 6 page 385 & 386, Urdu edition]

        “Irrespective of how far the news of sighting came from, it is to be relied upon. For instance if the people of Burma did not sight the moon, and a person from Bombay testifies to them of having sighted the moon; it will be incumbent upon the people of Burma to make up for the (first) fasting i.e. Qada’.” [Mufti Kifayatullah, Ta’leem ul Islam, vol. 4, section sighting of moon: Urdu edition]

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