Abiding By The Four Schools Of Thought In Determining Ramadan
All praise is due to Allah and may Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad, his virtuous and blessed kin and honoured companions.
We start with the Name of Allah. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and may Allah raise the rank of our Master Muhammad, and protect his nation from what he fears for it. The following are some statements from the four madhahib (schools of thought) about determining the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan.
From The Shafi^Iyy School
In his book Asna Al-Matalib Sharh Rawd Attalib, Shaykh Zakariyya Al-Ansariyy, who died in 925 AH, said what means:
The calculations of the astronomer have no significance. They do not determine the obligation of fasting and it is a sin to rely on them for that purpose. Surat An-Nahl, Verse 16 refers to deducing the direction of the Qiblah.
From The Hanafiyy School
Ibn ^Abidin, who died in 1252 AH, in his annotations on ‘Ad-dur Al-Mukhtar’, wellknown book, said what means:
The statement of the astronomers is not taken into consideration. Moreover, the book ‘Al-Mi^raj’ states: Their sayings are not taken into consideration by scholarly consensus and it is not permissible for the astronomer to fast relying on his own calculation. (Volume 3, p 354, Published by Darul-Kutub Al ^ilmiyyah).
From The Malikiyy School
Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Mayyarah Al- Malikiyy, who died in 1072 AH, in ‘Addur Ath- Thamin’ said that Ash-Shahab Al-Qarafiyy, who died in 684 AH, related that Sanad, who in turn died in 541 AH, said what means:
If an Imam (Muslim ruler) declared the beginning of fasting based upon calculations, then the Muslims must not follow him, because the Salaf agreed by scholarly consensus that determining Ramadan by calculations is invalid. (p 327, published by Darul-Fikr)
In ‘Ash-Sharh al-Kabir’ Shaykh Ahmad ad- Dardir al-Malikiyy, who died in 1201 AH, from the school of Imam Malik, said what means: It is stated that the beginning of Ramadan is not confirmed by the saying of an astronomer, neither for himself nor for others. (Volume 1, p 462)
From The Hanbaliyy School:
In his book, ‘Kashshaf Al-Qina^’, Al-Buhutiyy al-Hanbaliyy, who died in 1051 AH, who is among the famous Hanbaliyy scholars, said what means:
If one intended to fast the 30th day of Sha^ban without lawful evidence, then one’s fasting is invalid. This means if one’s fasting was based upon calculations or astronomy rather than on sighting the crescent or completing Sha^ban (if the crescent is blocked from view), then one’s fasting is invalid, even if calculations or the sayings of astronomers regarding the new moon often coincide with the observed beginning of Ramadan, or after a clear night. Later, if he knew that the day he fasted was actually the first day of Ramadan; his fasting was still invalid because it was not based on religiously acceptable means to commence with.* (Volume 2, p 302, published by: DarulFikr)
Clearly, the Scholars of the four schools agree that no consideration should be given to the sayings of the astrologers, astronomers and/or mathematicians for determining the beginning and end of the month of Ramadan. Moreover, many scholars conveyed the scholarly consensus on this ruling. Reliance should be placed upon sighting the crescent or completing 30 days of Sha^ban as mentioned by many numbers of scholars within these schools.
We advise every Muslim to abide by the sayings mentioned by the fuqaha’ of the four schools. The Muslim nation unanimously agreed on the high rank and integrity of those scholars. Let the Muslim learn the rules of fasting by studying under someone who possesses both knowledge and trustworthiness and is someone who has acquired the knowledge from another trustworthy and knowledgeable person, and so on until the continuous chain reaches right back to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).