When Does Ramadan Begin?

I overheard a few seconds of a show being recorded yesterday for Ramadan TV (RTV). It was being made clear that the beginning of Ramadan can be based on of two things: Either a physical sighting of the new moon OR having completed 30 days of Shaban.

So far, so good, the 30 days of Shaban are self-explanatory All we have to do now is determine what constitutes a physical sighting of the moon. Again, listen to the ulema and we find that it’s a sighting by (1)a lot of people or (2) a verified sighting by a smaller number of trusted people within a particular region (specifically the distance from Andalusia to the Hijaz being too far apart).

Now if we take a look at this page (http://moonsighting.com/1431rmd.html) from the moonsighting.com website and it will be clear that something is certainly not right.

it is particularly disappointing when so many national Islamic bodies or umbrella groups have done the hard work and managed to get themselves together to make a joint decision on the beginning of Ramadan only to fall short at the final hurdle and base it on a calculation. Surely in a country like the USA, for example, that energy could have been used to appoint small teams of people across the country to go out to certain vantage points in order to look for the new moon each month. This is done in Cape Town in South Africa and other places, but unfortunately the curse of modernist thinking again prevails.

The message I want to send to all those who:
• accept that leadership is essential to the proper collection and distribution of zakat;
• accept that Zakat on wealth needs to be paid in gold or silver;
• recognise that paper and electronic money and the banks that issue them are totally haram and constitute riba;
…is not to despair.

There are those who will immediately grasp the soundness of the position and accept the arguments. So just as one by one, individuals, organisations and now countries are accepting the position on how Ramadan should begin, similarly there are those who immediately recognise the need for the proper collection of zakat and establishing halal currency, By coming together on these issues insha Allah we will get success.

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