Sighting the Hilal, Pursuing the Sunnah

Alhamdulillah, the blessed month of Shawwal is upon us, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. As a Muslim observing the Sunnah and Hadith, I share my recent experience of sighting the Hilal, symbolizing the beginning of this joyous month.

On this particular day (9.4.2024), I was blessed with the company of Brother Fyruz and Ustaz Luqman (Taraweh Imam at Al Hayat Centre, Southampton), both eagerly anticipating their first-ever Hilal sighting. I must admit; their initial excitement was adorable! The sight of a crescent moon is a significant event in our Islamic calendar, and I wanted to ensure that they had a memorable experience.

The first claimed Hilal – False sighting.

To our surprise, brother Fyruz spotted a Hilal at the beginning of our observing session. While I must admit that it was an exciting moment, two concerns crossed my mind. First, the direction of the Hilal was not what I had anticipated. Second, the sky was still quite bright at the time, which made it harder to spot a crescent moon. I remembered the importance of patience and diligence in following the Sunnah and kindly asked them to wait while I mentally prepared myself to re-sight the Hilal , ensuring its confirmation.

We took a break to break our fast and performed Maghrib prayer at the park, where we were situated. We sit and enjoy some cake after prayer, and I glance up at the sky once more at the direction I knew is correct, only to be astonished by the sight of the Hilal right above us. SubhanAllah, Allahu Akbar, the sight of a glowing crescent moon in the dimming sky filled our hearts with joy and gratitude.

The Hilal was clearly sighted via naked eye by three of us, and photo from phone camera.

Alhumdulillah, it was a beautiful moment that was truly heartening, especially for Brother Fyruz and Ustaz Luqman, who eagerly embraced the experience of sighting the Hilal for the first time.

In the honor of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we made a collective dua for the wellbeing of the ummah, before spending a few more minutes soaking in the beauty of the Hilal and the heavens above.

For many of us, familiarizing ourselves with the science of moon sighting or falak knowledge can be a significant yet enriching undertaking. However, I am disheartened to see debates and arguments surrounding hilal observation and the conflict when comparing it with modern technology and astronomical data. Our Islamic teachings emphasize that we rely on Sky Observations (Rukyah) rather than simple calculations.

The Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD) opines:

“As Muslims, we acknowledge the diverse range of opinions on the different methods of moonsighting. We believe that everyone should respect these differences.

The Qur’an (‘shaida’ = to witness or see, in Al-Baqarah, 2:185) and Hadiths (‘taraw’, ‘ra aytum’ = you see it, in hadis narrated by al-Bukhari, #1906, Ibn Hajar #1989:150; narrated by al-Bukhari #1909, Ibn Hajar #1989:15; narrated by Muslim #1081, al-Nawawi #1996:158-159) serve as the ultimate authority and source of reference for the rukyah hilal technique in Brunei Darussalam.

When determining the starting dates of Ramadan, Shawwal, or any other Islamic month, only the observation / rukyah method is permissible under Islamic jurisprudence (Shariah). The calculation method, which is known as the Hisab method, is used as a supplementary guide at most and should never be used to conclude the moon-sighting process. Even when the moon’s position fulfills the criteria of Imkan al-Rukyah (MABIMS).”

I shared pass experience sighting for hilal, and hope it will inspire others to start and try sighting for hilal, the sunnah way. InsyaAllah.

    Comments are closed

    Subscribe to my newsletter
    The latest news, articles, and resources, sent to your inbox monthly.
    © 2024 All rights reserved.