Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

More About Sighting The Moon

Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

As salaamualaykum

This is my first post to you so please forgive me if i fail to
observe any etiquettes associated with your group.

I am trying to understand the moon sighting issue you have been
dealing with.  Its something i have been taught by my Hanafi Shaykh
in brief but i want to clarify some aspects of the position of
hanbali school that continue to be unclear to me. In connection with
the issue of moon sighting i have the following  questions:

You mentioned the position of Imam Ahmad (RA) and Shayk al Islam Ibn
Tamiyyah (RA), Which i understood as holding to the view that when
it is sighted then it is incumbent upon all to fast.  However, what

What was in the original post on the issue is that Zad Al-Mustaqni` says that:

if the people of one land site it, it is binding for the people--all of them--to fast

and that this is the mufta bihi position in books such as Al-Raud Al-Murbi`  (p172), Nail Al-Ma'arib (p269), Al-`Umdah & Al-`Udda  (p196), Al-Muqni`  (p101), Akhsar Al-Mukhtasiat  (p144, footnotes), and Ghayat Al-Muntaha  (1: 320), Kashaf Al-Qina`  (2:303-4) confirm this and clarify that this means people everywhere.

However, Ibn Taymiyyah (Allah mave mercy upon him) held a different opinion, which the late Ibn `Uthaymin (Allah have mercy upon him) alludes to preferring  from the perspective of evidence.

a] By common sense you know that the claim of the sighting of the
hilal by a person or a nation is false - commonly because the claims
are made before the hilal can possibly be sighted [such as a time
before the new moon is born, or when it is too young to be seen by
the naked eye or the the setting of the hilal would take place
before maghrib]. Could some one knowingly break their fast if they
were certain it was a physical impossibility to have sighted the
moon at the time the claim was made? (assuming of course there is no
duress upon the individual)

The issue you raise is valid, especially when you consider that some countries offer prizes to the first person to sight the moon, and when there is no way of knowing how well the report is verified.

This is something that I prefer not to answer, since it involves unity in addition to the soundness of an individual's worship. Perhaps Faraz on the Hanafi list has something to say about this, and now would be a good time to discuss it.

b] If you live in India (eastern time zone)but did not sight the
moon yet British Muslims claim to have sighted the moon.  Are Indian
Muslims expected to follow ruling (assuming there are hanbali
indians) and begin the new month?  From the nature of how the moon
rises, falls and how the hilal grows with time it is possible for it
to sighted in the west but impossible to sight in the east?

Terms like "east" and "west" make little sense here. The earth spins around its axis. If the moon is sighted in one place, then it should become binding as the earth rotates. The new moon is visible at Maghrib for only a few minutes, so it's not like the UK can sight it and then call up India and tell them that they should have been fasting.

I apologise aforehand if my question is unclear or if i have
otherwise missed the point of you previous remarks on the subject.

And I apologize if things were left unclear not clear enough, and that I cannot provide complete answers for everything asked.

and jazakallah khair for an excellent yahoogroup

wa al-salamu `alaykum