Fasting on the Day Of Arafah Omar Afzal
The answer to the question of
Fasting on the Day of Arafah, as the respected Mufti from S. Arabia
explains is very simple if we keep in mind a few basic facts:
1. The earth is a
globe and not a flat field.
2. There is no
reason that D.Hijja crescent moon (or any other month's moon) will ALWAYS BE
FIRST SEEN in S. Arabia. A Crescent moon is first seen from a different
place on earth every month.
3. S. Arabia
decides about Islamic dates NOT BY THE HILAAL (the crescent moon that you
first see after sunset) but by calculating: Moon
is setting after sunset (even by a second, although the claim is always
made that a "moon was seen at....(many places), by a large number of "Adil"
witnesses in the kingdom", or 30 days of the month are completed. Most Arab states just follow
4. If a moon is
really seen in S. Arabia/Egypt or anywhere in Asia, Europe, or N. Africa it will CERTAINLY
BE SEEN in N. America 8-10 hours later. If it is not seen on a clear sky (and
whole of N. America is never cloudy just at sunset) then Saudi claims are FALSE.
5. It is also a fact that if
30 days of the Islamic month are really completed then a moon will ALWAYS BE
SEEN. If it is not seen on a clear sky then 30 days are NOT COMPLETE.
ISNA's Eid al-Adha (Earlier criterion)
Evaluated by A Renowned Scholar
By: Maulana Mufti Muhammed.
Taqi Usmani - Deputy Chairman, Islamic Fiqh Academy – OIC (Jeddah) ; Vice
President & Professor (for over 25 years) of Religious and Arabic Sciences, Fiqh
and Hadith at Darul Uloom (Karachi); Chairman, Shariah Council, Accounting &
Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (Bahrain); Judge,
Shariat Appellate Bench, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Shariah Advisor, HSBC Amanah
Finance, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al Baraka Group, Citi Islamic Investment Bank,
Dow Jones Islamic Index, First Islamic Investment Bank, Saudi American Bank, and
others.; Author of several Islamic books and Editor of several Islamic
magazines, including Albalagh International.
Responding to ISNA Fiqh
Council's (earlier) claim, "Element of place is dominant in Eid al-Adha,"
Maulana Mufti M. Taqi Usmani, a renowned scholar of Darul Uloom wrote the
following: (May 2000)
I have gone through the
article of ISNA and with the utmost respect for their sentiment for Muslim
unity, I am forced to say that the view expressed in the article (Eid al-Adha on
next day of Arafat) is in total disagreement with the teachings of Quran and
Sunnah, and with the Shari'ah position recognized throughout the centuries. This
is an unprecedented view which has never been adopted by any of the Muslim
jurists during the past 1400 years, and it has a number of intrinsic defects and
anomalies, some of which are summarized here.
1. The article
admits that the celebration of Eid al-Fitr should be tied to the sighting of the
moon in each country and should not be linked with the celebration of Eid
al-Fitr in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, however, the article calls for
celebration of Eid al-Adha according to the Saudi Calendar regardless of the
local dates, which means Eid al-Adha will be celebrated in North America on 8th
or 9th of Zul-Hajjah. It is thus clear that the theory proposed in ISNA's
article is impractical.
2. The article
has laid much emphasis on the concept of unity of the Muslim Ummah, which no one
can deny. At the same time, however, one must appreciate that unity does not
mean that the entire Muslim Ummah throughout the world should perform their acts
of worship at one and the same time, because it is physically not possible. It
is evident that when people in Saudi Arabia are performing their Fajr prayers,
those in North America may still have not completed their Isha prayers of the
previous day. Similarly, when Muslims in Los Angeles offer their Fajr prayers,
those in India and Pakistan are offering their Maghrib or Isha prayer of the
If it is made obligatory on
all the Muslims in the world to offer their acts of worship at one and the same
time for the sake of unity, such unity can never materialize (because of the
time differences). It is, therefore, obvious that offering one's acts of worship
at different times do not affect the concept of Muslim Unity.
What does the Muslim unity
mean? It means that all Muslims should treat each other with brotherly sympathy
and affection and should not spread disorder and dissention among them. Nor
should they invent new ideas foreign to the teachings of Quran and the Sunnah
which may lead to division and conflict among Muslims.
It is also astonishing that
the article views the celebration of Eid al-Adha on different days as being
against the concept of Ummah while in the matter of celebration of Eid ai-Fitr,
this concept is dispensed with. If the celebration of Eid al-Fitr on different
days does not affect the concept of unity, how can it be said to harm unity in
the case of Eid al-Adha?
3. It is true
that Eid al-Adha falls immediately after the day of Arafat in Saudi Arabia, but
it is not necessary that the Muslims in every country should follow the same
dates in their respective areas. Hajj, no doubt, is tied with a particular place
but the celebration of Eid al-Adha is not confined to that place alone. It is
celebrated everywhere in the world and cannot be tied to the Saudi calendar.
4. The article
admits that the celebration of Eid al-Adha in other countries was never linked
with its celebration in Saudi Arabia throughout the past 14 centuries. This, the
author's claim was because of a lack of communication facilities. With vastly
improved communication today, they argued that everyone almost anywhere can find
out the day of Hajj, and should celebrate Eid al-Adha based on Saudi calendar.
There is a clear admission
in this argument that it is not obligatory according to Quran or the Sunnah to
celebrate Eid al-Adha according to Saudi calendar. Had this been so, Muslims
would have tried their best to find the exact date of Hajj in Saudi Arabia. It
is not correct to say that it was not possible in those days for people living
outside Saudi Arabia to know the exact date of Hajj, because this date is
normally determined on the first night of Zul-Hijjah. There is a nine day period
until which is more than sufficient to acquire this information. However, no
jurists has ever stressed that such information be collected in order to
celebrate Eid al-Adha according to Saudi dates.
Further, if the argument of
the article is accepted and it is held that the real intention of Quran and
Sunnah was to link the celebration of Eid al-Adha with the Saudi dates, as a
mandatory provision for all Muslims in the world, it means that the Shari'ah has
stressed a principle which was not acceptable for 1300 years. Is it not against
the Quranic declaration that Allah does not make a thing mandatory unless it is
practical for the human beings.
If the authors argue that
the celebration of Eid al-Adha was not linked with the dates in Makkah in the
past but it has become a mandatory requirement of the Shari'ah now, then the
question arises, who has abrogated the previous principle and on what basis?
There is no provision in Quran or the Sunnah which orders the Muslims to
celebrate Eid al-Adha according to their local dates up to a particular time and
to link it with the dates in Makkah thereafter. Whoever considers this and
similar questions arising out of this unprecedented theory advanced in the
article can appreciate its fallacy.
5. Finally, I
would like to inform you that the question of sighting the moon for each lunar
month including Zul-Hijjah was thoroughly discussed at the annual sessions of
the Islamic Fiqh Academy (held in Jordan, October 11-16, 1986) attended by more
than a hundred outstanding scholars of Shari'ah. The academy adopted the
resolution recommended that all Muslim countries should determine all the lunar
months including Zul-Hijjah on the same basis for both Eid al-Fitr as well as
This resolution represents
the consensus of Muslim jurists throughout the world. The proposal contained in
the ISNA article, however, goes totally against this consensus - (see note
Before parting with the
subject, I would like to emphasize that such unprecedented proposals can never
advance the cause of Muslim unity. Rather, they may create a new point of
disunity and dissention among Muslims. Before venturing such opinions as
definite "Fatwa", these should be discussed at some responsible international
forum of contemporary Muslim jurists like the International Islamic Fiqh Academy
in Jeddah.May 2000.
PLEASE NOTE: Since the
publication of the above ruling, ISNA held a conference in November 2000 and
subsequently have changed their position - to follow local moon sighting news,
Statement of the National Islamic Shura
Council of N America
Determination of Eidul Adha Plainfield, IN, 12/30/2002 (ISNA) ::
The National Islamic Shura Council decided unanimously
to adopt the following statement and recommendation of the Fiqh Council of
Last year, the Fiqh Council of North America recommended to
the Shura Council of North America that the determination of Eidul Adha be based
on sighting the Crescent in North America. This recommendation was based on
numerous Fatwas of several prominent scholars from various parts of the
world. They indicated that there is no sound basis for distinction between
the determination of Ramadan and Eidul Adha, either by unity of Matla’
or difference of Matla’. A long-standing position of the Fiqh Council
has been to determine the beginning and end of Ramadan on the basis of sighting
the crescent in North America. Determination of Eidul Adha on the same basis
was seen as being more consistent. Furthermore, a considerable segment of
the Muslim community in North America appeared more inclined to the above Fatwas.
It was the best estimate of the Fiqh Council that by adopting these Fatwas,
there may be greater unity among Muslims.
The Fiqh Council’s recommendation was contingent on
educating the Muslim community prior to Eid about the impending change and the
reasons behind in. This did not materialize. Due to the unfamiliarity
with this information prior to Eidul Adha, heated discussions and lesser unity
occurred in several communities, contrary to what was hoped.
There is room in Islamic Fiqh to adopt a weaker, but
still acceptable opinion if that achieves greater benefit (maslaha);
in that case greater unity. Therefore, the Fiqh Council recommends the
restoration of the previous method of determination of Eidul Adha to follow
the announcement in Makkah about the beginning of the month of Dhul Hijjah.
It is hoped that this recommendation will bring greater
unity, though not unanimity. We strongly urge the Muslim community in North
America to show greater unity by following the announcements of the Shura
Council of North America.
The Fiqh Council recommends, however, that the determining
of Ramadan and Eidul Fitr should continue to be based on the sighting of the
crescent in North America. A minimum standard of unity is to celebrate Eid on
the same day on the metro area level. Meanwhile, the Fiqh Council shall
continue to consult other scholars and to work with the authorities who decide
the timing of Hajj, until this issue is resolved.
The Fiqh Council is in the process of issuing a more
detailed statement on scholars’ opinions on this issue. An effort will be made
to contact Saudi authorities concerning their methodology of moon sighting.
ICNA on Fixing Eid al-Adha Date
ICNA’s support for the recent
Shura Council decision to fix Eid al-Adha date in N. America by the Hajj date in
Makka (even if it is the 9th day of D. Hijja here) was to say the
least, regrettable and highly questionable.
Eid al-Adha is on the 10th day of D. Hijja by the sighted moon.
• The Qur’an affirms “Ahilla” (the
crescent moons) as the “Mawaqeet” for all Islamic dates and for the Hajj.
• The Messeneger (S) obligated the
Muslims to pray Eid al-Adha on the 10th of D. Hijja (wherever they
are on that day), and make their sacrifice. He said: the sacrifice done before
Eid al-Adha prayer does not fulfill the obligation.
All Ahadith mention 10th
of D. Hijja as the date of prayer and sacrifice. None mentions Eid al-Adha as
Eid al-Hajj or complementary to Hajj rituals.
• Muslim Ummah followed this Qur’anic
instruction and the practice of the Messenger (S) for the last 1400+ years.
• No Fiqh school ever obligated the
Muslims all over the world to fix their Eid al-Adha by the Hajj date in Makka.
None ever claimed that it is Eid al-Hajj.
The “Bid’ah” of fixing Eid
al-Adha date by the Hajj date in Makka started in some Arab countries and Turkey
not long ago on the assumption the Hajj/Arafah in Makka in on 9th. Therefore,
the next day would be the 10th all over the world.
Sh. Baaz warned in an article
that there is no valid “Daleel” to support that all the Muslims have to follow
the Makka horizon for moon-sighting. Sh. Uthaimeen urged the Muslims in N.
America to follow the sighting in North America for fixing the Eid al-Adha date.
Just two years ago, the Shura Council, following ISNA Fiqh Council, confirmed
that all the Ulema who were consulted in this matter said that they did not find
any supporting argument in the Qur’an and the Sunnah for fixing Eid date by Hajj
ICNA should publicly
repudiate this blatantly wrong decision of the Shura Council decision. (It
violates all the norms of Shariah, and the physical reality. Anybody can see by
his own eyes that Saudi’s announce:” The moon sighted” but 8-11 hours later it
is not seen in N. America.)
Many of the Imams who
depended on ICNA’s decision to follow the “Hilal” in N, America are disturbed as
they don’t want to ask the Muslims in their center/mosque to celebrate Eid
al-Adha on the 9th. Day of D. Hijja, only because the Shura Council has reverted
to a wrong position. ICNA’s decision to support Shura Council’s fixed date will
only add fuel to fire and create more “disunity” among the Muslims.
MESSAGE FOR DHUL HIJJAH & 'EID
AL-'ADHA from Zaytuna
With sightings of the
crescent for Dhul Hijja here in the Bay area Thursday evening, and indeed
throughout North America, Zaytuna Institute is pleased to announce to all of our
friends and supporters that Eid al-Adha here in North America will be on Sunday,
February 1, 2004. As we have done for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, we wish to offer
the believers advise for the coming days and the Eid.
1. Our decision to base our
timing of Eid al-Adha on confirmed North American crescent sightings stems from
the following considerations:
The timing of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha should be based on a single
To base Ramadan on a North
American crescent sighting, and Eid al-Adha on the calendar of Saudi Arabia is
to negate the relevance of the Hijri calendar as a determinant of the Islamic
dates. Were we to adopt the dual criteria for determining our dates, we would in
effect be working with two calendars, one based on actual North American
crescent-sightings, predicated on variant geographical and astronomical
conditions; the other based on the astronomical new moon. This would in turn
lead to a negation of many Prophetic traditions relating to crescent-sighting,
such as His saying, Peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him:
The two months of Eid will
not both be incomplete, [those month's being] Ramadan and Dhul Hijja.
b) The advocates of
coordinating Eid al-Adha with the Pilgrimage must produce a legal proof to
support their claim. The two Eids were legislated during the second year after
the Hijra. After arriving in Medina, the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah
upon Him, inquired, when informed that there were two days that the people of
Medina were celebrating (Nayruz and Mahrajan), What are these two days?They
said, We used to celebrate them during the pre-Islamic period.The Messenger of
Allah, Peace and Blessings of Allah upon Him, said, Allah has substituted for
you two days better than them, The Day of the Sacrifice, and the day of
Fast-breaking (al-Adha and al-Fitr).
The Hajj was legislated
eight years later, in some opinions seven years later. Hence, for seven or
eight years it was impossible to coordinate Eid al-Adha with the standing on
Arafat. The question then becomes, when was this coordinating instituted?
c) The effort to base
all of the Islamic dates, every year, on one country, with a total disregard for
the actual crescent sighting, is problematic, and also negates the relevance of
the Hijri calendar. The proof for the unified crescent sighting is the saying of
the Noble Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon Him, Fast based on its
[the crescent moons] sighting, and break the fast based on its sighting. It
is well-known that the Hilal first appears at a different point in the moons
orbit each month. This may be over the Middle East one month, over Africa the
next, over the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, or over North America. This divergent
pattern is a manifestation of the justice of Allah. Eventually, every land will
have the honor of first sighting the crescent moon. To fix the timing of all of
the Islamic occasions, Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, Hajj and Eid al-Adha on any one
country, year after year, with total disregard of the actual sighting, is an
extremely problematic practice.
d) As for the saying
attributed to Imam al-Tirmidhi that mistakes in the matter of determining the
Islamic occasions are of no consequence, based on the Prophetic tradition, The
Fast is when you all fast, breaking the fast is when you all break the fast, and
the day of sacrifice is when you all sacrifice, Imam al-Tirmidhi mentions
that this is the opinion of some of the scholars. Others, such as al-Khattabi,
are of the opinion that such mistakes are only permissible on issues involving
personal reasoning, such as seeing the moon on the 30th day, completing the full
month, and then being informed that the moon was in fact seen on the 29th
day. Such mistakes, as mentioned by Prof. Ahmad Hasan in his English
language commentary on the Sunan of Abu Dawud, are overlooked if they are
occasional, not constant. Similarly, such mistakes do not disregard the
actual crescent sighting. In these days and times, when computer programs and
models can create very accurate visibility curves as to when the crescent might
first be sighted, it is inexcusable to overlook repeated mistakes in this
e) As for the contention
that local crescent sightings should not be considered for distances greater
than 700 miles, the distance between Damascus and Madina, locations of
significance in the Hadith of Kurayb, which serves as one of the strongest basis
for the legitimacy of local sightings, this distance has never been universally
accepted as a demarcating distance. Imam al-Qurtubi reports that the position of
Malik was that a sighting in Basra is valid for the people of Yemen, a distance
of over 1200 miles. Ibn Rushd and Ibn Juzayy considered the distance to be
considered for a regional sighting to be as great as the distance between
Islamic Spain (al-Andalus) and Madina, a distance of over 3,000 miles. Ibn Abd
al-Barr, the great Maliki Hadith master, considered the distance acceptable to
be united by a single sighting to be from al-Andalus to Khurasan in Iran, a
distance of over 4,000 miles. Hence, one can see that the establishment
of a North American crescent sighting is a logical move that has a strong basis
in traditional Islamic scholarship.
2. The first ten days of
Dhul-Hijja are blessed days, which we frequently neglect. The Noble Prophet,
Peace and Blessings of God be upon him, said, There are no days in which
righteous deeds done during them are more beloved to God than these days,
referring to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijja. They said, O Messenger of God!
Not even struggling in the Way of God? He said, Not even struggling in the way
of God. Except [the struggle] of a man who goes forth in the Way of God with his
life and his wealth, then he returns with neither.
During these blessed days we
should try to exert ourselves in worship, for the Ulama mention that the virtue
of these days surpass even the virtue of the days Ramadan. Among the indications
of the distinction of these days is the special mention made of them as a group
or individually in both the Quran and the Sunnah. The above-mentioned Hadith
suffices as an indication from the Sunnah, although we will mention other
indications from that source shortly. As for the Quran, God says, I swear by
the Dawn, the Ten Nights, the Even and the Odd. The Dawn, refers to the
first or the tenth day of Dhul Hijja. The ten nights refer to the first
ten nights of Dhul Hijja, as related by Ibn Abbas and others. The even
and the odd refer to the Day of Sacrifice and Jumuah. These ten days are
also the well-known days mentioned in the verse, &and they remember the Name of
God during the well-known days over the beasts We have provided them.
The religion was also
completed during these days. Umar ibn al-Khattab, May God be pleased with him,
relates that the verse, This day have I perfected your religion for you, and
completed My Favor unto you, and chosen Islam as your religion, was revealed as
the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon him, stood at Arafa [on the ninth of Dhul Hijja]
during the Farewell Pilgrimage.
Bearing these and many other
virtues of these days in mind, we should be especially diligent in increasing
our righteous acts during them. The following acts are especially recommended:
a) We should try to fast
as many of the first nine days as possible. We should make an extra effort to
fast the Day of Arafa. It is related in Sahih Muslim from Abu Qatada, May God be
pleased with him, that the Noble Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon
him, said, "I anticipate that Fasting the Day of Arafa will atone for the sins
of the previous and coming year.
b) We should carefully
monitor our speech, what we listen to, and what we allow our gaze to fall on
during these days, again, especially on the Day of Arafa. The Noble Prophet,
Peace and Blessings of God be upon him, said, "[Concerning] the Day of Arafa,
whoever controls his hearing, gaze, and speech on that day, he will be
c) We should be
excessive in repeating the declaration of Tawhid, with special emphasis on the
phrase, "La ilaha illallah, Wahdahu La Sharika lah, Lahul Mulk, wa lahul Hamd,
biyadihi Khayr, wa Huwa ala kulli Shayin Qadir."  Imam Tirmidhi relates
that this was the supplication the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of God be upon
him, repeated more than any other on the Day of Arafa.
d) We should pray for
forgiveness and liberation from the Hellfire during these days, especially the
Day of Arafa. Imam Ali, May God be pleased with him, relates, God liberates
people from the Hellfire everyday. And there is no day when more people are
liberated from the Hellfire than the Day of Arafa.
Eid al-Fitr commemorates the
end of the struggle undertaken by the fasting believers. Eid al-Adha
commemorates the end of the struggle undertaken by the pilgrims to Mecca and the
Sacred Precincts. The latter also commemorates the struggle of our father
Abraham, Peace be upon him, and his family. Abrahams struggle revolves around
his pure devotion to God, and his willingness to sacrifice everything he
possessed for his Lord, even his very son.
During this blessed season,
let us all strive to renew our commitment to our faith. Let us commit ourselves
to the great struggle of carving out for our community a dignified place in
these Western lands. Let us renew the spirit of sacrifice and selflessness in
this world of selfishness and egoism gone mad. However, let us also take time to
enjoy ourselves during the coming holiday. But even as we enjoy ourselves, let
us keep the remembrance of God ever present on our tongues and in our hearts.
Our beloved Prophet described our great holiday best when he mentioned,
concerning the three days which follow the Eid day, They are days of eating,
drinking, and remembering God.
May each year when these
blessed days return find you all in the very best of states. May your life be
dominated by the remembrance of God. In all that we do, May He be glorified.
On behalf of your servants
at the Zaytuna Institute, Imam Zaid Shakir
 The scholars differ
as to the meaning of this expression (&will not both be incomplete). Ibn Hajar
mentions in Fath al-Bari that one of the well-known meanings among the righteous
forebears was that both months will not be 29 days in one year. This opinion is
related from Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Imam Ahmads opinion is supported by a
Prophetic tradition, The two months [RamadanandDhulHijja] will not be 58
days.See Ibn Hajar al-Asqilani, Fath al-Bari: Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, (Damscus,
Syria: Dar al-Fayha, 1997) vol. 4, pp. 160-162.
 Related by al-Bukhari
#1912; Muslim #2526, 2527; Abu Dawud #2323; al-Tirmidhi #692; and Ibn Majah
 Abu Dawud
al-Sajistani, Sunan Abu Dawud, Al-Riyad, Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Salaam, 1999/1420)
 Dr. Mustafa al-Bugha,
et. al, al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, (Damascus, Syria: Dar al-Qalam, 1998/1419) p. 370.
 This Hadith is
related by Imam al-Bukhari #1959; and Muslim #2496.
 Related by
al-Tirmidhi #697. See Imam Abu Isa Muhammad al-Tirmidhi, Jamial-Tirmidhi,
(al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Dar al-Salaam, 1999/1420) pp. 177-178.
 This is a paraphrase
of al-Khattabis opinion mentioned in Muhammad Shams al-Haqq al-Adhim Abadi, Awn
al-Mabud: Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud, (Cairo, Egypt: Dar al-Hadith, 2001/1422) p.
 See Prof. Ahmad
Hasan, Trans., Sunan Abu Dawud, (Lahore, Pakistan: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf 1984)
vol. 2, p. 635.
 Muhammad Ahmad
al-Qurtubi, al-Jamili Ahkam al-Quran (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1407/1987), vol. 2,
 For a fuller
discussion of this issue see Dr. Khalid Yahya Blankinship, On The Moon Sighting
of Ramadan.Grassroots: The Journal of MANA, Fall 2004, p. 16.
 Ibn Hajar al-Asqilani,
vol. 2, p. 589, #969.
 Al-Quran 89:1-2.
 See Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali,
Lataif al-Maarif (Damascus: Dar Ibn Kathir, 1416/1997), p. 470.
 Ibn Kathir, Tafsir
al-Quran al-Adhim (Beirut, Sida: Al-Maktaba al-Asriyya, 1416/1996), vol. 4, p.
 Ibn Kathir, vol. 4,
 Al-Quran 22:28.
 Ibn Hajar, vol. 1,
pp. 141-142, #45. Muslim, #3017.
 Muslim, #1162.
 Musnad Imam Ahmad,
vol. 1, no. 329.
 The translation of
this phrase is, There is no God but Allah. He is alone without partners. His
is the dominion, and unto Him is all praise. With Him is all good, and He over
all things has power.
 Al-Tirmidhi, #3585.
 Quoted in Ibn
Rajab, p. 494.
 Muslim #1141