Middletown Islamic Center

Middletown Islamic Center



Wisdom of the Week (May 26, 2017):

How to Sight the Moon

The meaning of sighting here is seeing the crescent via the naked eye, as it is considered by the Shafi'i School of Thought; or via telescope or the like in order to strengthen the vision, as it is considered by the Hanafi School of Thought. Sighting the moon by the CCD camera is invalid.

Sighting takes place on the twenty ninth day - meaning on the night of the thirtieth of Sha'ban and the same during the month of Ramadan. If the crescent was sighted during the night of Sha'ban, then the beginning of Ramadan is announced; if it was not sighted during that night, then the month of Sha'ban is completed thirty days, and we fast thereafter. The same manner is applied to the month of Ramadan; if the crescent was not sighted, then we complete Ramadan thirty days; we celebrate the Eid thereafter. The reason for that is that the lunar month is either twenty nine days or thirty days, and the night comes before the day.

Sheikh Muhammad Bakheet Al-Mutee'i (may Allah have mercy upon him) said:
    Indeed everyone who is capable of seeing is able to sight the crescent – during the first night of the month, its light is very scant, and it appears like a very small bow. It remains in westward for a while after the sun sets, then it sets in the western horizon. Its light continues to grow and continues to increase day by day until its light reaches maturity and it becomes a complete circle in the middle of the month where it is called a full moon (Budr). After that it rises from the East as the sun sets or shortly after and it starts to wane slowly as it was increasing slowly and its rising starts to delay after sun sets and it rises with the burst of dawn (Fajr) until it rises with sun rise in the morning and then it will not be seen not because the crescent disappeared or stopped moving but rather because its light becomes very faint compare with the strong sun light; and it could be seen by a very strong vision person and that would be extraordinary. It also can be seen if something would veil the sun light. The moon will remain veiled and cannot be seen until it rises once again from the West with the sunset or shortly after and this cycle continues every month. End[1].
I, the author, (Imadudeen) say:
    Moon sighting is to be toward the West titled to the South a bit closer to the place where the sun sinks. Consequently, it is becomes very hard to sight it in many cases because of its proximity to the sun and the impact of its light and because the light of the moon is very scant which also contribute to the difficulty of sighting it. Therefore, it is preferable for the observer to be at a place where the horizon is clear from any obstacles such as hills, mountains and buildings. The observer should also stay away from sources of light which may disturb the observation process. He should also take into consideration the impact of the weather, humidity, dust and clouds.
It should be certain and established that what is being sought out of this process is the crescent of the beginning of the month not the end of it. The crescent of the beginning of the month is distinguished by its location which is south of the place where the sun had sunk after it sat. The horns of the crescent will be pointing upward to the south. Whereas, the end of the month crescent cannot be seen after sun sets because the crescent sets before the sun sets a bit northwardly off of the place where the sun had sunk and its horns pointing downwardly to the North that is if it was possible to be seen before the sun set in the west.

The moon should be sighted after sunset, and it is meaningless to sight it before sunset.

It is important to mention that it is not possible to see the crescent of the beginning of the month in less than (22) twenty two minutes after sunset. It also cannot be seen before (15) fifteen hours and (24) twenty four minutes after its birth.

From the book (Murshed Alanam Ila Royat Alhilal waahkam alseyam) by author Imadudeen Abuhijleh Translated by Abdulhafeth Abusine