Moon-sighting versus Calculations


The issue of sighting the crescent versus using calculations to determine the beginning of the month of Ramadan is the subject of a lot of discussion among today’s Muslims. Some ask: why should we go out and sight the crescent? Isn’t the science of astronomy advanced enough to determine the first day of Ramadan? To clarify the Islamic standpoint on this issue, we should rely on the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and what is agreed upon by Muslim scholars.

Firstly: the correct opinion which must be acted upon is that indicated by the words of the Prophet (SAW): “Fast when you see it [the new moon] and stop fasting when you see it, and if it is cloudy then complete the month with thirty days.” That is the basis for determining the beginning and end of Ramadaan by the actual sighting of the new moon. The Islamic sharee’ah with which…

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