Fatwa: # 45555
Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings...
Country: African Country
Date: 27th June 2020


Is it permissible for non-Ulama to be part of the Hilaal committee?


Slms Mufti Saheb

Is it permissible for non-Ulama to be part of the Hilaal committee? Can they be simply given guidelines to make a decision? Are there any complexities and consideration involved beyond using of guidelines in making a decision? Is it necessary that Ulama only make such decisions? Kindly advise.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

There are specific rules and regulations and various determinations for the sighting of the crescent of the lunar month which are known to the Ulama. It is important to note that behind every rule and law, there is a deep jurisprudence which is supported by the Quran, Ahadith and sayings of Sahaba, Ta’bieen and the illustrious Fuqaha. An Alim of Deen has the support of all the underlying principles, the various determinations and procedures of Shariah behind the law. This enables him to understand and implement the law correctly. An Alim will analyse information of the moon based on the jurisprudence set out by the Fuqaha in making a decision accordingly. When one is faced with a complex situation concerning the sighting of the crescent, it may not suffice to use general guidelines to make a decision. This is the domain of a person well educated in Deen and has expertise in Fiqh to analyse the situation accordingly. If such a complex situation is subjected to general guidelines, there is a great probability of an error in the judgement. This can be understood by an example of a CT scan of a heart patient. A radiologist will present his report but a cardiologist will read beyond that based on his expertise and decide accordingly. He will not rely on the report of the radiologist and neither will the radiologist insist on the cardiologist to accept his report and practising on that.

The issue of sighting the moon is more important than the CT scan. When we exercise precaution on medical issues and rely on the expertise of a doctor, and do not rely on mere medical guidelines, how much more precaution should we exercise in Deeni issues especially when it relates to such important issues like Fardh fasts and Eids.

There maybe many complexities in sighting the crescent. The Fuqaha use the term Jamme Gafeer (a large number of people). This term ought to lead to Yaqeen (certainty) and Zanne Gaalib (almost certainty). In order to determine Yaqeen and Zanne Gaalib, one requires a full understanding of Zann and Shakk which are Fiqhi terminologies in determining Yaqeen and Zanne Gaalib.

Furthermore, transmitting information from one region to another region is more complex and requires proper and deep understanding of issues of Qadha (قضاء) and Shahadat (شهادت.) Non-Ulama and other people who do not have the knowledge of such complex issues and cannot be made in total and absolute charge of making decisions based on the sighting of the moon. It will not suffice for Ulama merely giving guidelines of accepting or rejecting the sighting and not being in charge of making the decision. Such an attitude will be incorrect and irresponsible.

Furthermore, the Fuqaha discuss issues of Ikhtilaafe-Mataali’ from a Fiqhi point of view. This is an intricate discussion involving different views of Sahaba, Ta’bieen and Imams of Fiqh. What is the Dhaahir Riwayah on this issue and how is it interpreted? Do we consider administrative issues in determining the implementation of the Dhaahir Riwayah? What about the Fiqh behind scientific calculations and the Fiqh behind that? To what extent do we consider astronomical persuasions in making a decision? 

Non-Ulama may be part of the Hilaal Committee. However, it will be incorrect to make non-Ulama totally in charge of making decisions in the presence of Ulama and placing Ulama in the back seat and using them as mere subsidiaries to provide guidelines. There is a great probability of non-Ulama making an error due to their ignorance of the deep Fiqh underlying the moon sighting issue. The error of Ulama in the moonsighting issue will not be based on ignorance, but rather on external factors. That is no justification of non-Ulama taking charge of the moonsighting issues. That will be highly irresponsible and assigning a position to people without the necessary qualifications.

Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam) is reported to have said:

فَإِذَا ضُيِّعَتِ الأَمَانَةُ فَانْتَظِرِ السَّاعَةَ قَالَ: كَيْفَ إِضَاعَتُهَا؟ قَالَ: إِذَا وُسِّدَ الأَمْرُ إِلَى غَيْرِ أَهْلِهِ فَانْتَظِرِ السَّاعَةَ (صحيح البخارى: 59)

Translation:When honesty is lost, then wait for the hour. It was asked to Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam): How will it be lost? Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said: When the power or authority comes in the hands of unfit persons, then wait for the hour. (Bukhari: 59)

When any person takes charge of any aspect of the Ummah, he should ask himself the following questions:

Do I have the necessary qualifications for that responsibility?

If I am not qualified, how will I answer Allah Ta’ala on the day of Qiyaamah?

Am I capable of bearing the burden of the Fardh Fasts of the Ummah on the day of Qiyaamah?

Remember, Fardh Fasts is the right of Allah Ta’ala. Will I be violating the right of Allah Ta’ala and risking my Akhirah? What will become of me for seeking a position I am not qualified for in the presence of more qualified people? Be a truthful servant of Allah Ta’ala and do not follow your Nafs and merely seek position and risk your Akhirah.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.



الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (2/ 387)

(قَوْلُهُ: وَقُبِلَ بِلَا عِلَّةٍ) أَيْ إنَّ شَرْطَ الْقَبُولِ عِنْدَ عَدَمِ عِلَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاءِ لِهِلَالِ الصَّوْمِ أَوْ الْفِطْرِ أَوْ غَيْرِهِمَا كَمَا فِي الْإِمْدَادِ وَسَيَأْتِي تَمَامُ الْكَلَامِ عَلَيْهِ إخْبَارُ جَمْعٍ عَظِيمٍ فَلَا يُقْبَلُ خَبَرُ الْوَاحِدِ؛ لِأَنَّ التَّفَرُّدَ مِنْ بَيْنِ الْجَمِّ الْغَفِيرِ بِالرُّؤْيَةِ مَعَ تَوَجُّهِهِمْ طَالِبِينَ لِمَا تَوَجَّهَ هُوَ إلَيْهِ مَعَ فَرْضِ عَدَمِ الْمَانِعِ، وَسَلَامَةِ الْإِبْصَارِ وَإِنْ تَفَاوَتَتْ فِي الْحِدَّةِ ظَاهِرٌ فِي غَلَطِهِ بَحْرٌ قَالَ ح: وَلَا يُشْتَرَطُ فِيهِمْ الْإِسْلَامُ وَلَا الْعَدَالَةُ كَمَا فِي إمْدَادِ الْفَتَّاحِ وَلَا الْحُرِّيَّةُ وَلَا الدَّعْوَى كَمَا فِي الْقُهُسْتَانِيِّ. اهـ.

قُلْت: مَا عَزَاهُ إلَى الْإِمْدَادِ لَمْ أَرَهُ فِيهِ وَفِي عَدَمِ اشْتِرَاطِ الْإِسْلَامِ نَظَرٌ؛ لِأَنَّهُ لَيْسَ الْمُرَادُ هُنَا بِالْجَمْعِ الْعَظِيمِ مَا يَبْلُغُ مَبْلَغَ التَّوَاتُرِ الْمُوجِبِ لِلْعِلْمِ الْقَطْعِيِّ، حَتَّى لَا يُشْتَرَطَ لَهُ ذَلِكَ بَلْ مَا يُوجِبُ غَلَبَةَ الظَّنِّ كَمَا يَأْتِي، وَعَدَمُ اشْتِرَاطِ الْإِسْلَامِ لَهُ لَا بُدَّ لَهُ مِنْ نَقْلٍ صَرِيحٍ (قَوْلُهُ: يَقَعُ الْعِلْمُ الشَّرْعِيُّ) أَيْ الْمُصْطَلَحُ عَلَيْهِ فِي الْأُصُولِ فَيَشْمَلُ غَالِبَ الظَّنِّ، وَإِلَّا فَالْعِلْمُ فِي فَنِّ التَّوْحِيدِ أَيْضًا شَرْعِيٌّ وَلَا عِبْرَةَ بِالظَّنِّ هُنَاكَ ح (قَوْلُهُ: وَهُوَ غَلَبَةُ الظَّنِّ) ؛ لِأَنَّهُ الْعِلْمُ الْمُوجِبُ لِلْعَمَلِ لَا الْعِلْمُ بِمَعْنَى الْيَقِينِ نَصَّ عَلَيْهِ فِي الْمَنَافِعِ وَغَايَةِ الْبَيَانِ ابْنُ كَمَالٍ وَمِثْلُهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ عَنْ الْفَتْحِ وَكَذَا فِي الْمِعْرَاجِ وَقَالَ الْقُهُسْتَانِيُّ: فَلَا يُشْتَرَطُ خَبَرُ الْيَقِينِ النَّاشِئِ مِنْ التَّوَاتُرِ كَمَا أُشِيرَ بِهِ فِي الْمُضْمَرَاتِ لَكِنَّ كَلَامَ الشَّرْحِ مُشِيرٌ إلَيْهِ اهـ وَمُرَادُهُ شَرْحُ صَدْرِ الشَّرِيعَةِ فَإِنَّهُ قَالَ الْجَمْعُ الْعَظِيمُ جَمْعٌ يَقَعُ الْعِلْمُ بِخَبَرِهِمْ وَيْحُكُمْ الْعَقْلُ بِعَدَمِ تَوَاطُئِهِمْ عَلَى الْكَذِبِ اهـ وَتَبِعَهُ فِي الدُّرَرِ وَرَدَّهُ ابْنُ كَمَالٍ حَيْثُ ذَكَرَ فِي مَنْهِيَّاتِهِ أَخْطَأَ صَدْرُ الشَّرِيعَةِ حَيْثُ زَعَمَ أَنَّ الْمُعْتَبَرَ هَاهُنَا الْعِلْمُ بِمَعْنَى الْيَقِينِ (قَوْلُهُ وَهُوَ مُفَوَّضٌ إلَخْ) قَالَ فِي السِّرَاجِ لَمْ يُقَدَّرْ لِهَذَا الْجَمْعِ تَقْدِيرٌ فِي ظَاهِرِ الرِّوَايَةِ، وَعَنْ أَبِي يُوسُفَ خَمْسُونَ رَجُلًا كَالْقَسَامَةِ وَقِيلَ أَكْثَرُ أَهْلِ الْمَحَلَّةِ وَقِيلَ مِنْ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَاحِدٌ أَوْ اثْنَانِ.

وَقَالَ خَلَفُ بْنُ أَيُّوبَ خَمْسُمِائَةٍ بِبَلْخٍ قَلِيلٌ وَالصَّحِيحُ مِنْ هَذَا كُلُّهُ أَنَّهُ مُفَوَّضٌ إلَى رَأْيِ الْإِمَامِ إنْ وَقَعَ فِي قَلْبِهِ صِحَّةُ مَا شَهِدُوا بِهِ وَكَثُرَتْ الشُّهُودُ أَمَرَ بِالصَّوْمِ اهـ وَكَذَا صَحَّحَهُ فِي الْمَوَاهِبِ وَتَبِعَهُ الشُّرُنْبُلَالِيُّ وَفِي الْبَحْرِ عَنْ الْفَتْحِ وَالْحَقُّ مَا رُوِيَ عَنْ مُحَمَّدٍ وَأَبِي يُوسُفَ أَيْضًا أَنَّ الْعِبْرَةَ بِمَجِيءِ الْخَبَرِ وَتَوَاتُرِهِ مِنْ كُلِّ جَانِبٍ اهـ وَفِي النَّهْرِ أَنَّهُ مُوَافِقٌ لِمَا صَحَّحَهُ فِي السِّرَاجِ تَأَمَّلْ (قَوْلُهُ وَاخْتَارَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ) حَيْثُ قَالَ وَيَنْبَغِي الْعَمَلُ عَلَى هَذِهِ الرِّوَايَةِ فِي زَمَانِنَا؛ لِأَنَّ النَّاسَ تَكَاسَلَتْ عَنْ تَرَائِي الْأَهِلَّةِ فَانْتَفَى قَوْلُهُمْ مَعَ تَوَجُّهِهِمْ طَالِبِينَ لِمَا تَوَجَّهَ هُوَ إلَيْهِ، فَكَانَ التَّفَرُّدُ غَيْرَ ظَاهِرٍ فِي الْغَلَطِ، ثُمَّ أَيَّدَ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ ظَاهِرَ الْوَلْوَالِجيَّةِ وَالظَّهِيرِيَّةِ يَدُلُّ عَلَى أَنَّ ظَاهِرَ الرِّوَايَةِ هُوَ اشْتِرَاطُ الْعَدَدِ لَا الْجَمْعِ الْعَظِيمِ، وَالْعَدَدُ يَصْدُقُ بِاثْنَيْنِ اهـ وَأَقَرَّهُ فِي النَّهْرِ وَالْمِنَحِ وَنَازَعَهُ مُحَشِّيهِ الرَّمْلِيُّ بِأَنَّ ظَاهِرَ الْمَذْهَبِ اشْتِرَاطُ الْجَمْعِ الْعَظِيمِ، فَيَتَعَيَّنُ الْعَمَلُ بِهِ لِغَلَبَةِ الْفِسْقِ وَالِافْتِرَاءِ عَلَى الشَّهْرِ إلَخْ.

أَقُولُ: أَنْتَ خَبِيرٌ بِأَنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنْ الْأَحْكَامِ تَغَيَّرَتْ لِتَغَيُّرِ الْأَزْمَانِ، وَلَوْ اشْتَرَطَ فِي زَمَانِنَا الْجَمْعَ الْعَظِيمَ لَزِمَ أَنْ لَا يَصُومَ النَّاسُ إلَّا بَعْدَ لَيْلَتَيْنِ أَوْ ثَلَاثٍ لِمَا هُوَ مُشَاهَدٌ مِنْ تَكَاسُلِ النَّاسِ، بَلْ كَثِيرًا مَا رَأَيْنَاهُمْ يَشْتُمُونَ مَنْ يَشْهَدُ بِالشَّهْرِ وَيُؤْذُونَهُ وَحِينَئِذٍ فَلَيْسَ فِي شَهَادَةِ الِاثْنَيْنِ تَفَرُّدٌ مِنْ بَيْنِ الْجَمْعِ الْغَفِيرِ حَتَّى يَظْهَرَ غَلَطُ الشَّاهِدِ، فَانْتَفَتْ عِلَّةُ ظَاهِرِ الرِّوَايَةِ فَتَعَيَّنَ الْإِفْتَاءُ بِالرِّوَايَةِ الْأُخْرَى (قَوْلُهُ: وَصَحَّحَ فِي الْأَقْضِيَةِ إلَخْ) هُوَ اسْمُ كِتَابٍ وَاعْتَمَدَهُ فِي الْفَتَاوَى الصُّغْرَى أَيْضًا وَهُوَ قَوْلُ الطَّحَاوِيِّ، وَأَشَارَ إلَيْهِ الْإِمَامُ مُحَمَّدٌ فِي كِتَابِ الِاسْتِحْسَانِ مِنْ الْأَصْلِ، لَكِنْ فِي الْخُلَاصَةِ ظَاهِرُ الرِّوَايَةِ أَنَّهُ لَا فَرْقَ بَيْنَ الْمِصْرِ وَخَارِجِهِ مِعْرَاجٌ وَغَيْرُهُ.

قُلْت: لَكِنْ قَالَ فِي النِّهَايَةِ عِنْدَ قَوْلِهِ: وَمَنْ رَأَى هِلَالَ رَمَضَانَ وَحْدَهُ صَامَ إلَخْ وَفِي الْمَبْسُوطِ وَإِنَّمَا يَرُدُّ الْإِمَامُ شَهَادَتَهُ إذَا كَانَتْ السَّمَاءُ مُصْحِيَةً، وَهُوَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمِصْرِ فَأَمَّا إذَا كَانَتْ مُتَغَيِّمَةً أَوْ جَاءَ مِنْ خَارِجِ الْمِصْرِ أَوْ كَانَ فِي مَوْضِعٍ مُرْتَفِعٍ فَإِنَّهُ يُقْبَلُ عِنْدَنَا

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