In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh
It is very encouraging to note that there is an awakening in the regarding the flaws and discrepancies of ’s criteria of commencing a lunar month.
Hereunder is a brief illustration of the discrepancy.
Allah says “They ask you (O Mohammed صلى الله عليه وسلم ) about the crescents, say, the crescents are a means of calculating time for people (and a mean for calculating) Hajj…(Al-Baqarah v. 189)
Allah declares the Hilaal (Crescent) to be criteria of time. A Hilaal (crescent) is when the sun shines on the surface of the moon for a minimum of approximately 18 hours after passing the line of conjunction before it is visible from earth.
See the diagram. The moon travelled upwards the line of elongation till it became a hilaal at point d.
When Allah declares that the Hilaal is a criteria for time, any deviation from that criteria is deviation from Qatiyyus Suboot and Qatiyyat ud Dalalah (express and explicit order of Shariah).
There can never be a scope for another view in the presence of Qatiyyius Saboot and Qatiyyat ud Dalalah. Allah declares Hilaal to be the criteria to calculate time. We have to abide by that. Whoever goes against this criteria is guilty of Nasee’ah (altering time) which is also expressly prohibited in the Quraan. (Tawba V.37)
This is a major sin and there is also fear of kufr depending on an individuals approach and attitude towards violating an order of the Quraan which is (Qatiyyus Saboot and Qatiyyat ud Dalalah).
All the Mufties are unanimous on the open and glaring discrepancies of the Saudi criteria of commencing a lunar month. There are innumerable Fatawa on that. You have also quoted the prominent and leading Darul Iftaas and Mufti’s Fatawa on that. This was also a unanimous decision by all the senior Ulama of UK in 1975 in the presence of Sayyid Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpur Saheb. This is clearly recorded in Fatawa Rahimiyyah Vol 9 (old edition) and Vol 10 (new edition). The resolve was to go by local moon sighting if possible or accept the rooyat of a place where sighting is conducted according to Shariah. Alhamdulillah some of the signatories on that fatwa are still alive and residing in .
It is fard upon the Ulama and senior people of to correct the open wrong of following Saudi announcement of the lunar month.
It is disturbing to note that responsible people of the Tabligh Jamaat are thwarting the efforts of Ulema e Haqq on Nahi Anil Munkar (stopping the wrong).
This attitude has been one of the two biggest concerns of Hazrat Maulana Ilyas Saheb (R.A) before his death.
He expressed his concerns to Hazrat Mufti Shafi Saheb (R.A) that when non Ulema lead this effort and non-Ulama are given prominent positions in tabligh, they will lead the people astray. (Taqrir Tirmidhi Vol 5).
In the discussion of the imbalances of Tabligh Jamaat, in the above quoted reference, Hazrat Mufti Taqi Uthmani Saheb Madda Zillohu states that:
The ignorant people engaged in this effort become Muftis and also issue Fatwas.
If responsible people of Tabligh Jamaat conduct themselves in a irresponsible manner as explained by yourself, then that is a complete disservice to Deen. The elders of the Markaz who are non-Ulama are engaged in “Fatawa” which is beyond their jurisdiction and ability. That is extremely dangerous for the ummat.
One can understand the consequence of following the Fatwas of ignorant people and becoming an obstacle in propagating Haqq and stop wrong. They cannot claim being characterized by Amr bil Maroof and Nahi anil Munkar which is the salient feature of the noble work of da’wah and tableegh..
Hazrath Moulana Inamul-Hasan Saheb (RA), the former Ameer of Tabligh has categorically emphasized that an effort should be made to follow the correct criteria of moon-sighting. His letters have been widely circulated and could be seen on the website of Wifaaqul Ulama.
It is the responsibility of ever Muslim of UK, Ulama, Trustees of the masaajid Organizations and masses to be firm on Haqq and not to compromise on this. Following Saudi is a Munkar and an open wrong.
I urge the trustees and senior people of the different organizations to take immediate control of the issue and avoid putting this issue under the carpet. If elders do not do that, the consequences in light of the huge awakening and restlessness on this issue will erupt in very ugly dimensions. Allah forbid.
And Allah knows best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah