Wisdom of the Week (May 26, 2017):
How to Sight the Moon
The meaning of sighting here is seeing the crescent via the naked eye,
as it is considered by the Shafi'i School of Thought; or via telescope
or the like in order to strengthen the vision, as it is considered by
the Hanafi School of Thought. Sighting the moon by the CCD camera is
Sighting takes place on the twenty ninth day - meaning on the night
of the thirtieth of Sha'ban and the same during the month of Ramadan.
If the crescent was sighted during the night of Sha'ban, then the
beginning of Ramadan is announced; if it was not sighted during that
night, then the month of Sha'ban is completed thirty days, and we fast
thereafter. The same manner is applied to the month of Ramadan; if the
crescent was not sighted, then we complete Ramadan thirty days; we
celebrate the Eid thereafter. The reason for that is that the
lunar month is either twenty nine days or thirty days, and the
night comes before the day.
Sheikh Muhammad Bakheet Al-Mutee'i (may Allah have mercy upon him)
Indeed everyone who is capable of seeing is able to sight the
crescent – during the first night of the month, its light is very
scant, and it appears like a very small bow. It remains in westward
for a while after the sun sets, then it sets in the western horizon.
Its light continues to grow and continues to increase day by day until
its light reaches maturity and it becomes a complete circle in the
middle of the month where it is called a full moon (Budr). After that
it rises from the East as the sun sets or shortly after and it starts
to wane slowly as it was increasing slowly and its rising starts to
delay after sun sets and it rises with the burst of dawn (Fajr) until
it rises with sun rise in the morning and then it will not be seen not
because the crescent disappeared or stopped moving but rather because
its light becomes very faint compare with the strong sun light; and
it could be seen by a very strong vision person and that would be
extraordinary. It also can be seen if something would veil the sun
light. The moon will remain veiled and cannot be seen until it rises
once again from the West with the sunset or shortly after and this
cycle continues every month. End.
I, the author, (Imadudeen)
Moon sighting is
to be toward the West titled to the South a bit closer to the place
where the sun sinks. Consequently, it is becomes very hard to sight
it in many cases because of its proximity to the sun and the impact
of its light and because the light of the moon is very scant which
also contribute to the difficulty of sighting it. Therefore, it is
preferable for the observer to be at a place where the horizon is
clear from any obstacles such as hills, mountains and buildings.
The observer should also stay away from sources of light which may
disturb the observation process. He should also take into
consideration the impact of the weather, humidity, dust and clouds.
It should be certain and established that what is being sought out
of this process is the crescent of the beginning of the month not
the end of it. The crescent of the beginning of the month is
distinguished by its location which is south of the place where
the sun had sunk after it sat. The horns of the crescent will be
pointing upward to the south. Whereas, the end of the month crescent
cannot be seen after sun sets because the crescent sets before the
sun sets a bit northwardly off of the place where the sun had sunk
and its horns pointing downwardly to the North that is if it was
possible to be seen before the sun set in the west.
The moon should be sighted after sunset, and it is meaningless to
sight it before sunset.
It is important to mention that it is not possible to see the
crescent of the beginning of the month in less than (22) twenty
two minutes after sunset. It also cannot be seen before (15)
fifteen hours and (24) twenty four minutes after its birth.
From the book (Murshed Alanam Ila Royat Alhilal waahkam
alseyam) by author Imadudeen Abuhijleh Translated by