New Crescent of the Holy Month of Ramadan Sighted
August 31, 2008
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
To all Believers in North America,
Peace and blessings upon you,
While the possibilities of the New Crescent sightings based on astronomical data were weak, we were in fact able to confirm the sighting of the New Crescent of the Holy Month of Ramadan, 1429 in the city of Detroit at sunset on Sunday August 31st, 2008 based on the religious standard of sighting with the naked eye. As such, tomorrow Monday September 1st, 2008 is the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan in North America based upon the principles of his Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sistani and the Late Grand Ayatollah Sayyid al-Khoei.
May Allah make it a blessed month.
The Crescent Committee:
- Syed Muhammad Rizvi, Toronto.
- Sheikh Fadhel Al-Sahlani, New York.
- Syed Rafiq Naqvi, Washington D.C.
- Syed Mahboob Mehdi Abidi, Chicago.
- Sayyid M. B. Kashmiri.
ثبتت رؤية هلال شهر رمضان المبارك
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الى المؤمنين الكرام في اميركا الشمالية اعزهم الله
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
نفيدكم علماً بأنه ثبتت رؤية هلال شهر رمضان المبارك 1429 في منطقة ديترويت غروب هذا اليوم الأحد 31 آب 2008 على الوجه الشرعي وبالعين المجردة بحمده تعالى رغم ضعف الإحتمالات الفلكية. وبناء عليه سيكون غداً الأثنين الأول من أيلول هو أول أيام شهر رمضان المبارك في أميركا الشمالية بإذنه تعالى حسب مبنى سماحة السيد السيستاني مد ظله والسيد الخوئي (رض) أيضا.
أعاده الله تعالى عليكم وعلينا وعلى الجميع بالخير واليمن والبركة، وكل عام وأنتم بخير.
- السيد محمد الرضوي، تورنتو.
- الشيخ فاضل السهلاني، نيويورك.
- السيد رفيق حسين نقوي، واشنطن العاصمة.
- سيد محبوب مهدي عابدي، شيكاغو.
- السيد محمد باقر الكشميري، لوس أنجلس.
Criteria for Declaring the Start of the Holy Month
Our Criteria for Declaring the Start of the Holy Month
The majority of all Muslim scholars, save for the rare few, agree that according to the Holy Quran and the confirmed Tradition (Sunnah), the New Crescent is religiously established when it is sighted by the naked eye.
Jurisprudence and Astronomy
"They ask you concerning the New Crescents. Say: They are times appointed for (the benefit of) men, and (for) the pilgrimage" 2:189
In interpreting the above-mentioned verse, jurists believe that it is directed at all the people to guide them so they adopt the New Crescent as criteria to start their religious months. Astronomy was an established science before the time of Islam and if the intent was to use it, then God and His Prophet would have commanded the people to do so.
In addition, jurists point out that the word used in the verse was "Ahilla," or "New Crescents," and not "alQamar," or "New Moon." The New Crescent is but one of the moon phases, when the moon is in a certain position between the sun and the earth. Jurists follow the astronomical and scientific data that does not contradict the religious texts. For example, they use that data for situations of negative assessment whereby the astronomical data asserts the impossibility of sighting the crescent in a certain area. In those cases, any human reports of sightings would be ignored. In addition, the astronomical data can be used to establish the possibility of sighting under clear conditions without barriers such as smoke or dust in the air. Astronomical experts say that "the date and time of each New Moon can be computed exactly but the time that the Moon first becomes visible after the New Moon depends on many factors and cannot be predicted with certainty." For the full report, visit http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/islamic.php
Most Jurists do not accept the sighting with the aided eye because in interpreting the above-mentioned verse, they believe the requirement is a sighting with the normal naked eye, making the use of a telescope or binoculars unwanted. In fact, using that equipment might be a violation if technology allows us to find and see the moon even when it is in direct sunlight.
Sharing the Same Night vs. Sharing the Same Curve of Sighting
Once the sighting is established in a certain location on earth, does it follow that all other locations can follow that declaration?
A small number of Jurists say yes to the above question in that once the New Crescent is sighted in one location on earth, all other locations sharing the same night can accept that New Crescent declaration (night being defined as sunset to dawn). This opinion is known as "Sharing the same Night" or Wihdat al-Ofuq. To elaborate further, this means, if the New Crescent is sighted in Detroit, then it can also be established for those in the United Kingdom because sunset time in Detroit is before dawn in the United Kingdom, hence they share the same night. Similarly, if the New Crescent is sighted in Los Angeles, it is also established for those in New York City because the two cities share the same night. His eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid al-Khoei was the most notable scholar who adopted this opinion, may Allah bless his soul.
On the other hand, most other scholars have the view of "Sharing the same Curve of Sighting" or Ta'adud al-Afaq. Most notable among these scholars is his eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sistani, may Allah prolong his life. The opinion states that each location has its own curve of sighting that is distinct and separate from others unless there is a binding relationship between the two locations that assures a sighting in one means a sighting in the other. This happens when the New Crescent carries very similar characteristics such as size and altitude between the two locations, according to certain astronomical data if it produces certainty. This is in accordance with a response from the office of his eminence from the Holy City of Najaf.
Based on the above, the Crescent Committee of the Council of Scholars issues a release of information regarding the confirmation of the New Crescent sighting, reflecting the opinion of the majority of Muslim scholars, at the forefront of whom is Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sistani, may Allah prolong his life. However, the followers of other scholars should refer back to their respective verdicts regarding this topic.
How the Monthly Releases Are Issued
- The members of the Committee study the conditions of the New Crescent, both astronomically and mathematically, and identify the expected areas of sighting for the New Crescent. They also look at areas where astronomers say a sighting is possible in order to produce further support and assurance in reports of sighting. This is all in accordance with the verdict of Sayyid Sistani, may Allah prolong his life.
- The members of the Crescent Committee make numerous contacts with trusted believers in areas of expected New Crescent sightings to prepare for the sighting.
- The Committee receives telephone calls from faithful believers about news of their sightings.
- The Committee will then hold a conference call that may last late into the night due to the time difference in sunset between the eastern and western areas of North America.
- The Committee will make the final decision late at night and share the declaration via the internet.
Our Hope for the Believers
To emphasize piety, preserve the sanctity of the community, and bear the hope of remaining organized, we would like to point out the following to the believers:
- We must understand the nature of the different views of the grand religious leaders and their juristic opinions. We will continue to be their followers, and it is not permitted for any of us to hold our personal opinions above theirs.
- We ask the believers who disagree with the majority in identifying the date of Eid to observe their personal fasting obligation. If they wish to have group prayers, then they should have it the following day as a recommended prayer with the intention of "seeking of acceptance."
- For the purpose of taking leave from work for Eid celebration, the status of the crescent sighting must be monitored through Internet websites. When there are tied possibilities in determining the likeliest day, it is best to try taking leave from work for two days instead of one, giving the family a larger share of time together.
- It is important to take into consideration the feelings of family members. For example, it is possible that the parents are followers of Ayatollah Sayyid Al-Khoei, but the children follow Ayatollah Sayyid Sistani. This might also be the case between a husband and wife. In those situations, it is important to cooperate to resolve this religious conflict and not allow it to become a source of contention within the family.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
بخصوص تداول أنباء كاذبة حول تدهور صحة سماحة السيد السيستاني مد ظله
تناقلت وسائل اعلام مختلفة خلال الايام القليلة الماضية إشاعات مزعومة تفي بتدهور صحة وسلامة سماحة المرجع الديني الأعلى السيد السيستاني مد ظله وأنه بحالة صحية حرجة وغير ذلك من مدعيات. في وقت يقوم سماحته بدوامه ونشاطه الاعتيادي في مكتبه وبصحة وسلامة وعافية متكاملة ولله الحمد كما أفادت آخر اتصالاتنا.
إننا في الوقت الذي نثمن فيه تساؤلات واستفسارات المؤمنين أعزهم الله عن صحة وسلامة سماحته، ندين ونشجب تلكم الاشاعات الكاذبة والمغرضة التي لا طائل من ورائها سوى زرع الفتن وخلق البلبلة في الاوساط المحلية والاقليمية والدولية تحقيقاً لأهداف ومآرب دنيئة ومغرضة تحرف المجتمع والمؤمنين عن أهدافهم ومقاصدهم النبيلة.
نهيب بالمؤمنين والغيارى، أن لا تُتوخى أخبار سماحته مد ظله أو أية معلومة عن المرجعية الدينية إلا من مظانها ومصادرها الصحيحة المنحصرة بمكاتبه ووكلائه المعتمدين لا غير - كما يؤكد عليه مكتب النجف الاشرف - سداً لأبواب الفتن والفوضى، وحرصاً على مصالح الأمة والمجتمع.
أطال الله تعالى بعمر سماحته وسائر مراجع الدين، ومتع الله المسلمين بمديد أعمارهم ووجودهم والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته.
مؤسسة الإمام المهدي (عج)، (إمام)
مركز الارتباط بالمرجعية الدينية العليا في أميركا الشمالية
In the Name of Allah
August 22, 2008
Re: News with Regard to the Health of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani
In the past couple of days we have witnessed several news agencies spread rumors about the health of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani. I.M.A.M. reassures the public that such news is inaccurate. Our most recent communications with the head office reflect that he is in good health and is resuming his daily activities in his office as usual.
While we appreciate the genuine concern from faithful followers about the health of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sistani, we are also dismayed by the disingenuous people who have spread unfounded rumors. We hold those whose strategy is to spread unfounded rumors responsible for their actions that seek only to create unrest locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Furthermore, we ask the faithful followers to collect their information only from reliable, trustworthy sources in order to prevent the spread of misinformation that seeks to cause unrest. The office of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf has appointed such sources, including only the offices of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sistani as well as his direct and authenticated representatives.
We ask the Almighty to prolong the life of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani, and the rest of our jurists and faithful followers.
Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.)
The Liaison Office of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani in North America