Sighting the crescent from an aeroplane

Sighting the crescent from an aeroplane
Questions & Answers

Sighting the crescent from an aeroplane

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  • masjidmuhammad
  • Mar 07, 2021

Question:

A person is flying in an aeroplane and he sights the crescent while no
one on the land sights it. Will the sighting in the aeroplane alone be
considered?

Answer:

If a person was in an aeroplane and he sighted the crescent while no
one on the land sighted it, his sighting alone will not be considered.
However, if the aeroplane was not too high and a person sees the
crescent, his sighting will be considered because the jurists state that
if a person who is out of the city or on an elevated spot sights the
crescent, his sighting will be accepted.

Islami Fiqh:

When the horizon is clear, there is no need to go to any pains to sight
the crescent. If the horizon is dusty or cloudy, or it is a city which has
only skyscrapers, and efforts are made to sight the moon with a
binoculars or aeroplane, then there is no harm in it. This is on
condition that arrangements for this are made by an Islamic state or it
is done by a formal and reliable group of people. Another condition for
this is that they must not try to sight the crescent from a degree which
is higher than which the crescent is normally sighted, for example, by
flying an aeroplane to a very high altitude. This is because the moon
does not ever set; it is always seen somewhere or the other. It is
therefore essential to bear this in mind.1

Ālat-e-Jadidah:

The prerequisite is that the aeroplane must not fly so high that people
on the ground cannot see it. The reason for this is that a Shar3‛ah-valid
sighting is the one which people on the ground can sight. If a person is
flying at an altitude of 20-30 thousand feet and he sights the crescent,
his sighting for the people of that area will not be considered where a
normal person cannot see despite the horizon being clear.2

Nizam al-Fatawa:

If the witnesses to the sighting sight the crescent from an aeroplane in
the prescribed manner which was detailed previously, and they in turn
convey this information or give testimony to this effect, then as per
the rules laid down by the Shar3‛ah it will be considered. The
information or the testimony can be accepted.3

Jadid Fiqhi Masa’il:

If the horizon is cloudy, then the likelihood of its sighting will suffice.
Thus, in such a case, sighting with binoculars or via an aeroplane
ought to be considered provided the aeroplane is not taken to such a
height which causes the horizon to change.

Article number seven of Majlis TahqIqAt-e-Shar‛iyyah Nadwatul
‛Ulama’ Lucknow states:

Sighting the crescent by flying an aeroplane to such a height where
the horizon changes is not considered. The Shari‛ah has not even
imposed such a thing on us. Where the books of jurisprudence
mention going to an elevated place to sight the crescent, they refer to
those elevated spots which are normally found in cities so that high
buildings and trees do not pose as obstacles to sighting the crescent.
Therefore, if an aeroplane is used to go to such a height where the
horizon changes, then that sighting will not be considered for those
who are living that region.4

Allah ta‛ala knows best.

REFERENCE:

1 IslamiFiqh, vol. 1, p. 382.
2 Ālat-e-Jadadah Ke Shar‛i Ahkam, p. 186.

1 Muntakhabat Nizam al-Fatawa, p. 229.
2 Jadid Fiqhi Masa’il, vol. 2, p. 24.

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