Different horizons

Questions & Answers

Different horizons

  • masjidmuhammad
  • Mar 17, 2021


Does the Shari‛ah consider different horizons? If it does, what is the


Different horizons ought to be considered on the basis of the Shari‛ah
because senior Hanafi jurists like ‛Allamah Zayla‛i and ‛Allamah Kasani

have given preference to this. Some seniors of Deoband also consider
this to be preferable. As far as the limit is concerned, it becomes clear
from the statement of Hadrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi‛ Sahib
rahimahullah that countries where the distance from one place to
another is so vast that if the sighting of one place is considered, the
month will either become 28 days or 31 days, then in such a case
different horizons will have to be taken into consideration. Where this
does not happen, different horizons will not be considered. One defect
in not taking different horizons into consideration is that if the
crescent is sighted in South Africa, then in Australia it will be close to
fajr time. Or in some other countries, the fajr time will have already
expired. Will they wait until the fajr time to sight the crescent or will
they keep fast and then break it?

Yes, a unified sighting is possible and easy for India, Pakistan and the
Arab countries. In fact, South Africa could be made the criterion where
there is a greater possibility of sighting on account of it being situated
in the south west; and the system for the sighting of the crescent is
also strong. In this way, the issue of the crescent for Africa, Europe,
India and Pakistan going to the west will be solved.

Fatawa Bayyinat:
The issue of different horizons has been a contentious one among the
past and latter day jurists. There are three views of the jurists in this

First view:

It is from Hadrat Imam AbB Han3fah rahimahullah and is known as
Zahir ar-Riwayah – that there is no consideration whatsoever for
differences in horizons. (However, there are many difficulties in
applying this to the entire world).

Second view:

Different horizons are considered for every place in every situation
and condition.

Third view:

Different horizons are not considered in countries which are near to
other, but considered with respect to those which are far from each
other. (The basis of this ought to be ‛urf. There are different horizons
in most of the northern and southern countries. The crescent is
sighted in the south, but not in the north). ‛Allamah Zayla‛i
rahimahullah and ‛Allamah Kasani rahimahullah give preference to this
Hadrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi‛ Sahib rahimahullah writes in Ru’yat-e-

Our honourable teacher, Hadrat Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah
Kashmiri rahimahullah, was of this view. Furthermore, our honourable
teacher, Hadrat Maulana Shabbir Ahmad ‛Uthmani rahimahullah, has
made reference to a point in his Fath al-Mulhim Sharh Muslim giving
preference to this view which, after reading it, the preference of this
view becomes clear. This is especially so in our times when distances
between the east and west are covered in a few hours. He says that it is
explicitly stated in the Qur’an and Sunnah that a month cannot be less
than 29 days and more than 30 days. If different horizons are
disregarded for countries which are far from each other and for
countries of the east and west, then in opposition to this explicit text,
it will necessitate that if the crescent is sighted in one city, while
another distant city which is still in its 28th day receives this
information. If the latter city is made subservient to the sighting, its
month will total only 28 days which becomes less than the limit laid
down by the Shari‛ah. And this is not correct. From this investigation
of Hadrat ‛Allamah ‛Uthmani rahimahullah we also learn what the
criterion ought to be when deciding whether a country is far or near.
That is if a country is so far away that if the sighting of one place will
result in the other place having a month of 28 or 31 days, then
different horizons will have to be taken into consideration. Where the
distance is not so much, different horizons will not be considered.2

Mufti ‛Abd al-Mun‛im Sahib states:

From the seniors of Deoband, the following scholars accept different
horizons: Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri rahimahullah, Maulana
Shabbir Ahmad ‛Uthmani rahimahullah, Maulana Mufti Muhammad
Shafi‛ rahimahullah, Maulana Yusuf Bannuri rahimahullah and others.
Muft3 Muhammad Farid Sahib also gives preference to this view.3

For more details refer to: Jadid Fiqhi Masa’il, vol. 2, pp. 27-34; Minhaj as-
Sunan, vol. 4, pp. 13-15; Ru’yat-e-Hilal, pp. 58-59; Fatawa Bayyinat, vol. 3,
pp. 58-63.

Allah ta‛ala knows best.


1 Fatawa Bayyinat, vol. 3, p. 58.

2 Condensed from Ru’yat-e-Hilal, pp. 58-59.
3 A‛dal al-Aqwal Fi Mas’alah al-Hilal, p. 72.

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