..Although, Saudi Arabia is ahead of Nigeria in counting with a day interval, there is every possibility that the two countries can still commence fasting the same day.


This is possible if Saudi Arabia starts fasting on Thursday, March 23 after counting Sha’aban to be 30, and Nigeria sights the new moon on Wednesday, the 29th of Sha’aban, declaring Thursday, the beginning of Ramadan.


Rulings on geo-Ramadan moon sighting differences: Sheikh Shafi’i


The development has brought to the fore the debate of using another country, such as Saudi Arabia’s sighted moon to commence fast in another country, like Nigeria, or elsewhere.


The Grand Mufti of Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO), Sheikh Dhikrullahi Shafii said during his live fatawa on social media monitored by _Muslim News Nigeria,_ that scholars are divided into two over this.


He said using one’s country moon sighting to commence Ramadan is considered the best.


According to him, “The Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali schools of thought are of the opinion that there is no issue around geo-sighting differences. This is because the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) does not differentiate geographical space in its directives, therefore, as an instance, a moon sighted in Malaysia could be used in Nigeria.


“The Hadith says: Establish your fast by sighting the moon, and by so should you terminate it. In fact, the Maliki Mazhab clearly states that if moon is sighted in a place, it is mandatory for other places to follow suit.


“The Shafi’i school of thought however differ as they have a ruling that says every state is bound by its moonlighting. This is deduced from the happening of Kuraib, who was in Sham when the moon was sighted and started the fast with them.


“While he returned to Hijaz the following day, he discovered they just sighted the moon the night he has already broken for the first day of Ramadan. Then, he went to Abdullah bn Abbas to ask about this, and he responded saying, “No”! That the Rasul (SAW) has commanded every nation should fast with their crescent.”


Sheikh Shafii therefore said majority of scholars support the second view, noting, “Though, whoever goes with the first opinion is not a sinner and his fast is valid.”



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