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Fasting » Ways of establishing the first of the month

Ruling 1699. The first of the month is established in four ways:

1.
a person sees the moon himself;
2. a group of people from whose statement one derives certainty or confidence say that they have seen the moon. Similarly, [the first of the month is established] by means of anything that one derives certainty from, or a rational source that one derives confidence from;
3. two just (ʿādil) men say that they have seen the moon at night. However, if they describe attributes of the crescent that contradict one another, the first of the month is not established. Similarly, the first of the month is not established by the testimony of two just men if one is certain or confident about them having made a mistake, or if their testimony is affected by a countervailing argument (muʿāriḍ), or by something that comes under the rule of a countervailing argument. For example, if a large group of the city’s people go to sight the moon but no more than two just people claim to have sighted the moon; or, if a group of people go to sight the moon and two just people from among them claim to have sighted the moon and others do not sight it, while amongst those others there are two other just people who are as good in knowing the position of the crescent and are as sharp-sighted as the first two just people, and furthermore, the sky is clear and for those two there is no probable obstacle to seeing the moon; in these cases, the first of the month is not established by the testimony of two just people;
4. thirty days from the first of the month of Shaʿbān pass, by means of which the first of the month of Ramadan is established; and thirty days from the first of the month of Ramadan pass, by means of which the first of the month of Shawwāl is established.

Ruling 1700. The first of the month is not established by the ruling of a fully qualified jurist (al-ḥākim al-sharʿī) unless by means of his ruling, or the first of the month being established in his view, one derives confidence in the moon having been sighted.

Ruling 1701. The first of the month is not established by the predictions of astronomers unless one derives certainty or confidence from their statements.

Ruling 1702. The moon being high or setting late is no evidence that the night before was the first night of the month. Similarly, if the moon has a halo, it is no evidence that it is the second night.

Ruling 1703. If the month of Ramadan is not established for someone and he does not fast, and afterwards it is established that the previous night was the first of the month, he must make up the fast for that day.

Ruling 1704. If the first of the month is established in a city, the first of the month will also be established in other cities that are united with it in the horizon. The meaning of ‘unity of horizon’ here is that if the moon is seen in the first city, it would also be seen in the second city if there were no obstacles, such as clouds. This brings about confidence in the case where the second city – if it is to the west of the first city – has a latitudinal position close to that of the first city; and if it is to the east of the first city, then in addition to closeness in latitudinal position, there must not be a large difference in the longitudinal position either.

Ruling 1705. If a person does not know whether it is the last day of Ramadan or the first of Shawwāl, he must fast on that day. However, if during the day he finds out that it is the first of Shawwāl, he must break his fast.

Ruling 1706. If a prisoner cannot be certain about whether or not it is the month of Ramadan, he must act according to his supposition; and if he can find a stronger supposition, he cannot act on the weaker supposition. Furthermore, he must endeavour to attain the strongest probability; if there is no other way, he must as a final resort draw lots (qurʿah) if this results in strengthening his inclination. And if acting according to supposition is not possible, he must fast a month that he deems is probably the month of Ramadan. Moreover, he must bear that month in mind and if he finds out afterwards that it was indeed the month of Ramadan, or it was after it, there is no obligation on him; however, if it becomes known that it was before the month of Ramadan, he must make up the fasts of the month of Ramadan.
Fasting » Unlawful (ḥarām) and disapproved (makrūh) fasts → ← Fasting » Those on whom fasting is not obligatory (wājib)
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