As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 7


When does fasting begin?

Allah says, “So whoever of you sights (the crescent of the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan), he must fast that month.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 185] Fasting begins with the sighting of the new moon. It is sufficient that a trustworthy Muslim testifies to those in authority of seeing the new moon. Thereby, everyone should observe the fasts. Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anahu) narrated, “A bedouin came to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) and reported, 'O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), I have seen the new moon of Ramadaan.' Thereupon, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) asked him, 'Do you bear witness that 'Laa ilaha illAllah.' (i.e., there is no god worthy of worship except Allah)?', 'I do,' said the bedouin. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) further asked him whether he testifies that Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) is the Messenger of Allah. The bedouin affirmed that too. Thereupon, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) asked Bilal (radhi allahu anahu) to announce the beginning of Ramadaan.” [Sunan Abu Dawood no. 2333 and 2334]

Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anahu) said, “The people were seeking the new moon. Having sighted it myself, I reported to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) began his fast and ordered the people to begin theirs, too.” [Sunan Abu Dawood (2335) (saheeh)]

Sighting the new moon is compulsory and it cannot be replaced by astronomical calculations. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “We are an unlettered nation; we neither write, nor know accounts. The month is like this and this, i.e., sometimes of 29 days and sometimes of 30 days.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

If it becomes difficult to see the moon due to bad weather conditions, then 30 days of the month of Shabaan are completed. He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, “Fast when it (the moon) is seen and cease fasting when it is seen, so if it is concealed by clouds, then complete thirty days of Shabaan.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee (4/106)]

It is not permissible to fast a day or two before Ramadaan (the day of doubt) in anticipation of Ramadaan. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, “None of you should start Ramadaan by fasting a day or two before it, except for a man who usually fasts (on those days), then let him fast that day.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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