By: Bayynat editor
The following are in accordance to “Islamic Rulings”, by His Eminence, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
It is known that the lunar month, which is related to a group of rulings, is linked as far as its start and end are concerned with the movement of the moon, which completes its orbit around the earth in a period named “month”.
Astronomically, the month starts when the moon leaves the state of complete omission or disappearance, which is the location in which the light of the moon is completely invisible to the onlookers on earth; when it starts leaving the location, its first appearance is known as crescent. The month ends when the moon enters the state of complete omission once again.
However, the Sharia does not depend on this to ascertain the start of the month, but it made it a condition that the crescent must developed enough to make it visible by onlookers to the horizon, after sunset, and when this takes place it is the beginning of the month.
To ascertain the start of the month, but it made it a condition that the crescent must developed enough to make it visibly by onlookers to the horizon, after sunset, and when this takes place it is the beginning of the month.
To ascertain the start of the month according to the Sharia, there are several rulings:
a) The person himself sees it.
b) A large and diverse number of people giving witness in a way that leads to acknowledge or satisfaction that the crescent exists, which is called “shiya” (a piece of news that becomes common), so if neither knowledge nor satisfaction takes place, it is not allowed to depend on the witness, whatever the number of people.
c) Witness given by two just men that they have seen the crescent; one witness is not sufficient, nor witness given by the women, even if accompanying the men, unless satisfaction takes place from their witness.
d) The elapse of thirty days from the beginning of the month.
e) The ruling of the Islamic ruler or scholar unless one has evidence of the incorrectness of the ruling or of the basis of the ruling.
f) Every scientific method that leads to certainty or satisfaction that the moon has left the state of complete omission and that it exists on the horizon in a way that makes seeing it possible.
g) It is sufficient for ascertaining the crescent’s existence in a country to have it proven in another country which has a common part of the night with it, as long as sunset in the country where the crescent was declared present takes place before dawn in the country of the person.
h) When the crescent of the month of Ramadan is proven, it is not obligatory to fast during the day of the doubt (which might be the last day of Ramadan), and it is not allowed to fast that day with the intention of asserting that it is Ramadan. That said, it is recommended to fast on that day as a day of Sha’ban. Also, the person may fast on it with the intention of “qada” (for a day he failed to fast in the past), then if it is proven to him that it was Ramadan, his fasting would count as Ramadan without any consequences. And if the crescent of Shawwal is not proven, the person must complete Ramadan’s thirty days, then if during the day it is proven to him that it was Shawwal, he must break the fast.
What are the conditions for fasting to be obligatory? The issue will be discussed in the following article, and will include the conditions that make fasting valid.