Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

More About Sighting The Moon

One of the brothers sent the following, may Allah reward him, regarding the late Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy upon him) and his opinion on sighting the moon. The Sheikh seems pretty clear as to what is the mufta bihi position in the Hanbali mathab and what the alternative position is.

And Allah knows best.

I found the following at

Question: Appearance of Ramadan Hilal or Shawwal Hilal differs between Muslim countries. So should the Muslims fast if the Hilal appears in one of those countries?

Answer: The scholars have difference of opinion regarding the issue of Hilal. Some of them view that if Ramadan Hilal appears in a place per Islamic rules, so all Muslims should start fasting. And if Shawwal Hilal appears, all Muslims should break fast.
And this is famous in the Fiqh of Imam Ahmad. And from this eg. if we see the Hilal in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, then it is incumbent on all Muslims in all countries to follow this sighting for fasting in case of Ramadan and for breaking the fast in case of Shawwal. And it was based on an open statement of Allah (SWT) in the Qur'an: "Fa man shahida minkum ash-shahr fal yasumh". and the open statement of the Hadith from our Prophet (PBUH): ): if you saw it fast, and if you saw it, break the fast.

And some scholars who say that it is not necessary to fast from the appearance of Ramadan Hilal, nor to break fast in Shawwal, except for the one who saw the Hilal or agreed on the sighting in the Matale of Hilal, because Matale of Hilal differs, as agreed by people who know. So if there are any differences (of Matale), each country must follow their own sighting. If a country agrees in the Matale of Hilal, it follows, otherwise not.

And this is what the Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taimiyah RHA chose. And he based this on the word of Allah (SWT): "Fa man shahida minkum ash-shahr fal yasumh". and the Hadith of the prophet (SAW): if you saw it fast, and if you saw it, break the fast. i.e. by the same daleel / method, which was used by the ones who obligate (all to follow one sighting), but Ibn Taimiyah who bases on the same Ayah and Hadith, differs (in his conclusions). If the ruling was to follow the witness and the sighter, so the ones who did not witnessed or saw it, the ruling will not be obligated on them. And if the Matale (sighting) differs, so the ruling of Hilal cannot be generalized (for them).

And this is for sure a strong argument to use, based on proof (daleel) and strengthened by viewpoint and qiyas (analogy).

Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saleh Othaimeen, Saudi Arabia.
Translated from Arabic book: "Fatawah Islamia", (Vol. 2, p. 113), Compiled by Muhammad bin Abdul Aziz Al-Musnad,