Moon Sighting issue
Question : I have noticed a great commotion in regards to moon sighting issues. The Maraji have various edicts on this, which has led to some confusion and doubts in regards to Marja’iyyah and the concept of Taqleed. To remedy this, is it possible for the Maraji get together to reach one conclusion and one edict on this issue?
Answer : What has happened in recent years is because of the differences in the ijtihad and in understanding of the sources and narrations from the Imams of the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them). Some religious authorities – including his Eminence Sayyid Al-Hakeem (may Allah prolong his life) – have the opinion that the narrations from the Ahlulbait (peace be upon them) prove that most countries can have one Eid in such a way that if the crescent was seen in a country, it is sufficient to establish Eid in other countries as well, even if the distance between the two countries are relatively far. The details of the verdict of his Eminence are explained in his books of Islamic Laws. However, some other Maraji have the opinion that seeing the crescent in countries that share a horizon proves the Eid for those areas in particular only, so such sighting does not prove the Eid in other distant countries.
If the differences in the verdicts originate from the differences in Ijtihad and understanding of religious texts, then it is unavoidable, since a Mujtahid cannot change his opinions that are based on his own Ijtihad and research simply because of social pressure or similar reasons that are not related to what the religious texts indicate as per his understanding. As a matter of fact, doing so is considered as compromising against his duties in finding religious realities.
Differences of these types indicate the authenticity of the Shia sect, and the piety and sincerity of its followers.
The Marja’ tries his best – via his research and teaching – to reach the religious realities. At the same time, the believers try their best to find out the most knowledgeable Mujtahid who fulfills all the criteria of the Marja’ and to act upon his edicts. This shows the strength of faith that these two groups possess.
Difference in opinions should not lead to conflicts or aversion. It should rather be dealt with calmness and wisdom for the sake of unity and the general interests of the believers.
Moon Sighting
Question : What is the ruling of his Eminence on the sighting of the moon? Must it be seen on the same horizon, or does the sighting anywhere in the world confirm the beginning of the new month?
Answer : If the crescent was seen in one of the countries of Europe, Asia, Africa or Australia, then the beginning of the month is confirmed in all the countries of the world. However, if it was seen in the continents in North or South America, the month is not confirmed in other continents.
Moon Sighting
Question : In Canada, it is very difficult to see the New Moon of Ramadan and Shawwal with the naked eye, so can we depend on scientific calculations?
Answer : If the new moon has been ascertained through the religiously valid way in any place in the Americas, then one should act upon it in all the regions of the Americas. If the sighting of the new moon has not been established, but there is certainty derived from scientific calculations that the new moon has reached the level where it is possible to be seen by the naked eye, then one should act upon that too. If there is no such certainty, then one should assume that the month is continuing until the completion of thirty days.