How modern day Muslim ‘astronomers and who use them as their
tool` falsely interpret the Hadith of Hazrat Kurayb RA.
IBN ABBAS (R.A)
Kurayb said: Umm Fadhl, daughter of Harith, sent
him (Fadl, i.e. her son) to Mu'awiyah(R.A) in Syria. I (Fadl) arrived in Syria,
and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan
commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to Medina
at the end of the month. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R.A) asked me (about the new moon
of Ramadan) and asked: When did you see it? I said: We saw it on Friday night.
He said: (Did) you see it yourself? I said: Yes and the people also saw it so
they observed fast and Mu'awiyah (R.A) also observed fast. Thereupon he said:
But we saw it on Saturday night. So we shall continue to observe the fast until
we complete thirty (fasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is
the sighting of the moon by Mu'awiyah (R.A) not valid for you? He said: No; this
is how the Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) has commanded us. Yahya Ibn
Yahya was in doubt (whether the word used in the narration by Kurayb) was
Naktafi or Taktafi.
Why did Ibn Abbas R.A. not accept the sighting news
of Hazrat Kuraib (R.A)? This question has led to some Muslim astronomers playing the role
of Scholars and reading something into the decision of Hazrat Ibn Abbas which is
totally arbitrary and fearfully risky and dangerous.
Syria is situated North and
not East of Madinah, at 40 degree longitude. Saudi and Syria share the same longitude.
So there are no time differences between these two countries. This geographical
fact is being used together with the theory that if the moon is sighted in the
East then it must necessarily be visible to all regions to the West of it.
Did Hazrat Ibn Abbas RA not accept the testimony
because Damishque was not in the East of Madinah? As already mentioned the
theory goes that if the crescent is sighted in the East it must be sighted in
the West. According to Shariah and our Fuqaha Rahemahomullah this interpretation
of this Hadith is totally incorrect.
So why did Ibn Abbas (R.A) not act upon the sighting
of the Syrians?
Note three main points about the Hadith:
A.The Hadith does not
mention any geographical limits about the acceptance of shahadah
B.A question arises whether or not it was Hazrat Ibn Abbas’ (R.A)
own Ijtihad that he did not accept the moon sighting of the Syrians to be valid
for the people of Madinah
C.Did Kurayb (R.A) convey the news only and not provide testimony
to Hazrat Ibn Abbas RA? (Mufti Kifayatullah, Delhi, Kifayatul Mufti v 4 p
someone claims that Ibn Abbas (R.A) did not act on Kurayb’s (R.A) Hadith,
because Syria is not East of Madinah, we humbly say that no single Faqih ever
gave this as a reason neither did Hazrat Ibn Abbas RA. Why are we today,
therefore, introducing a Bidaah into this hadith? Is it purely to make it fit
with astronomical beliefs? Where has this view come from and can we really
stretch the Hadith to mean what it may not and prepare to answer Allaah
Subhanahuwatala on the day of Judgement for a big Khayanat with his
The Hadith “sumu le rooyatihi waftiru le rooyatihi” (keep fast
on sighting and break on sighting) proves three things:
1.The word had been used “Sumu” is an imperative
structure with a plural formation. In Arabic grammar an imperative sentence
establishes the obligation. So it is obligatory to see the moon. If some people
see the moon, then the obligation will be discharged on behalf of everyone. It
is called “Fardh E Kifayah”.
2.If the moon is sighted in one location, it means
the surrounding areas (North, South, East & West, near or far) are connected
to it. They don’t have to see it separately. In fiqh there is a disagreement
about the definition of locations and surroundings etc (Near, far or not at
all). But everyone is unanimous that the sighting of any place is valid.
3.The surrounding whether it is (nearest or far)
south, north, east or west, obligation will be enforced to everyone as
These are the explanations that have been given by
our predecessors and the scholars of Ahle Sunnat wal Jamat including Deobandi
and Barelawi groups.
In this connection Mufti Kifayatullah (R.A)
“The addressee in this Hadith is common. If it said
whoever sees the moon, he must fast. Then a large number of people will be out
of obligation. Despite them living in one town they will not fast. So the
Hadith means “keep your fast basis on other peoples sighting. Whether this
sighting news comes from east or west, main point is, it should be reliable by
Shariah. Moreover Hadith did not mention who must see the moon and where it
should be sighted. So it is applied on anybody and anywhere.” (Kifayatul Mufti
A big question about the sighting in the East criteria recently
being propagated is why it would not be valid for a sighting made in Saudi
Arabia for instance to be valid for Muslims in Egypt? If the crescent is sighted
in Saudi but not sighted in Egypt this does not necessarily mean the sighting in
SA is erroneous if not sighted in Egypt as we are being led to believe. In Egypt
that night there may be cloud cover or haze preventing successful sighting of
the Hilal. It would be perfectly valid for Egyptians to accept the sighting from
Saudi Arabia even if it was not sighted in Egypt. Likewise it would be valid for
the people in Morocco to accept the sighting from Algeria or Libya. More at home, would a
sighting in Leeds be acceptable to those in Manchester or sighting in England
acceptable for Muslims in Wales as the sightings are in the East? So why play with the Shariah
in this way and make a total mess of the prophetic principle?
shows that the Muslim astronomers specifically those who use them for their own
agenda are going too far. Rather than provide information which will help the
Qazi make a decision they stray from their limits and use Hadith such as this
``to justify their science and cast doubt on testimony`` which may be perfectly
valid by Shariah.
Allahummahfizil Islam wal Muslimeen min Khutowatisshaitan,
Innahu Aduvwoom Mubeen , Ameen