A few questions related to different horizons

A few questions related to different horizons
Questions & Answers

A few questions related to different horizons

  • masjidmuhammad
  • Mar 19, 2021


Nowadays there are various opinions and views with regard to the

sighting of the crescent. What is the root of this? Kindly answer the
following questions:

1. If the people of one city sight the crescent, on how many other cities
is it necessary for them to follow this sighting? What is the extent of
sighting the crescent? Up to how many kilometres is one horizon

2. How many neighbouring countries’ sighting of the crescent will be
considered for this country [South Africa]? Is the horizon for
Johannesburg and Cape Town the same, or is it different?

3. Can we take the sighting of Madinah Munawwarah into
consideration? If not, why not?


As per the Zahir ar-Riwayah in the Hanafi madh-hab, the testimony of
the east suffices for the west provided the information reaches in the
correct manner, or it falls under the definition of information which is
known to a very large number of people. Those who calculate
differences in horizon on the basis of kilometres, then apart from their
views being conflicting, such a calculation does not fall under the
general rule. In most cases it is based on estimation. However, the
erudite ‛ulama’ take differences in horizon into consideration for
distant countries. Details in this regard were given previously.

2. If the crescent was certainly sighted in this country, and there is no
blemish or defect in the information as per the principles of the Hanafi
madh-hab, then it ought to be accepted. In the same way, the
testimony of neighbouring countries will also be accepted.

3. One of the reasons for not accepting the testimony of Saudi Arabia is
that its testimony in most cases is contrary to the obvious because the
crescent is seen in the east and west on the same day. Whereas
astronomers of the past and present say that this is not possible.
Furthermore, the crescent is not sighted anywhere else. In fact, many
times the day after the sighting, although the horizon is clear, the
crescent is not sighted in general; and at times it is not specifically
sighted. Sometimes the crescent is only 5-6 hours old and claims of
sighting it are made. In fact, there are times when claims of sighting it
are made even before the birth of the moon. Thus, how can a
testimony which is against the obvious be accepted?

The other reason is that according to them – in the light of Hambali
jurisprudence – the testimony of one person [for Ramadan] and two
persons for ‛id and other months is sufficient. Whereas, according to
Hanafis, if the horizon is clear, then the testimony of a very large
number of people is required. Nevertheless, it is easy to save ourselves
from this difference because when a Hambali judge accepts such a
testimony and passes his decision, the Hanafis can accept it. However,
it is very difficult to accept a testimony which is against the obvious.
Furthermore, most people do not have knowledge of the details of
their testimony. Instead, because it is an individual kingship, it
becomes difficult if not almost impossible to obtain those details. This
should not be misconstrued to mean that the testimony of Saudi
Arabia is always wrong. It is, nonetheless, not too reliable according to
the ‛ulama’. Also, bear in mind that erudite scholars are of the view
that different horizons are taken into consideration for distant lands.
Based on various reasons, they [Saudis] are not followed.
After answering all these questions, there still was the fear of disunity
and disharmony in this country. And there are some so-called
modernists who were spreading the view that Saudi Arabia be
followed for Ramadan, ‛id, and so on. This, despite the fact that all
three ‛ulama’ bodies of this country (Cape Town, Natal and Gauteng)
are rendering services in this regard and have been issuing unanimous
verdicts on the sighting of the crescent. In order to remove these
doubts and misgivings, Hadrat Mufti [Rada al-Haqq] Sahib has written
a comprehensive and well-argued article on this subject in the light of
the statements and texts of the jurists. It is presented to the reader:


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