Q: Assalaamu 'Alaykum Respected Mufti Saahib, Some people are sending this email out (below) regarding when Eid should be celebrated. How do we respond to them?
"Muslims all over the world should follow the hujjaaj in Eid-ul- Adhaa. This is the only opinion that can unite all of the Muslims. The Fuqahaa (RA) (scholars of Fiqh), did not discuss the issue of "ikhtilaaf ulmataali" (the situation where each region has its own moon sighting) or "ittifaaq ulmataali" (the situation where sighting the moon in one place is sufficient for the rest of the world) when it comes to Eid-ul-Adhaa. As a matter of fact, some scholars, such as As-Sarakhsee (from the Hanafee school of thought) in his book 'AlMabsoot' mentioned that there is consensus between the scholars that Muslims should follow the hujjaaj in Eid-ul- Adhaa. 'Arafah is the name of a place, not a day. Whenever Muslims stand in that place during the hajj time, we call that particular day the Day of 'Arafah and the following day is Yawm un-Nahr (Day of Sacrifice) or Eid-ul-Adhaa. Al-Qaadi Zaadah (also from the Hanafee school of thought) said in his treatise, 'Haashiyah', that the day of 'Arafah is the day when Muslims will be standing in 'Arafah." [Haashiyah 2:328] This is why we should follow the hujjaaj in Eid-ul- adh haa."
A: Jazakumullah for your email. The following are a few points in response to this message:
1) Having one Eid on the same day throughout the world is definitely not going to help in uniting the Ummah. Sahaba had Eid on different days according to the sighting of their respective lands. Did that affect their unity? If this was a point crucial to unity (as the words "the ONLY opinion to unite" suggest) then surely Allah Ta'ala would have ordained this for the whole Ummah right from the time of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), as He did with the other important acts of unity for the Ummah. Furthermore, when the people of one country have Eid on the same day and they are still as disunited and disjointed as ever, is that not a clear indication that unity is not confined to just unification of Eid?
2) It is blatantly false to aver that the Fuqaha of before never raised the question of ikhtilaafe mataali' in relation to Eidul Adh-haa. When the issue of "different horizons" were discussed by the Fuqaha, they applied it to all months of the Islamic year, without any exception. Whoever claims they excluded Zhul-Hijja must bring proof for this. For that matter, another person can jump up and claim that Rabiul-Owwal is also excluded from the principle of ikhtilaafe mataali'. Are we going to accept this merely on the strength of someone's whim and fancy? Whoever makes such an absurd claim shall have to adduce proof, and that too, categorical proof.
3) The citation from AL-Mabsoot of Sarkhsi is a total fabrication and blatant lie. Imam Sarakhsi made no statement like this at all anywhere in his kitaab. Instead, he said the contrary. Imam Sarakhsi reiterated the well-known, centuries-old, and widely accepted view that all Islamic months should be established through visual sighting of the crescent. This is quite clearly and emphatically mentioned under the section of fasting in his book. The fact that the claimant failed to provide a reference from the Mabsoot for this claim proves that it is patently false.
4) The statement that Arafah is the name of a place, not a day is evident proof that the writer of this email is an ignoramus by all standards. He does not even know the difference between 'arafah' and 'arafaat'. The open plains wherein the Hujjaj make wuqoof is called ARAFAAT, and the ninth day of the month of Zhul-Hijjah is called Arafah.
5) Just as the creator of this email attributed a lie to the great Imam Abubakr Sarakhsi (rahimahullahu ta'ala), he has added another fabrication to his credit by citing a so-called reference from the haashiyah of Imam Qaadhi Zaada (rahimahullahu ta'ala). Qaadhi Zaada made no statement of the sought that this anonymous ignoramus claims. On the assumption that Qaadhi Zaada did say that "the day of 'Arafah is the day when Muslims will be standing in 'Arafah" that in no way implies following the sighting of Makka. For the people in Hajj, certainly Arafah is the Day they make wuqoof. This much is proven from the hadith; but the same hadith states: "Your day of Adh-haa is the day you make your sacrifice", as narrated in Musnad-e-Ahmad. This in turn amply indicates that people elsewhere in the world must follow their own day of sacrifice or udh-hiyyah. The reality is that Qaadhi Zaada has also adopted and advanced the same viewpoint of the vast majority, that the all Islamic months are to be established through visual sighting, and not the following of one particular country.
Muslims should ignore such anonymous emails from cowards who lack the conviction of their own claims and are constrained to hide like women behind the veil of anonymity. The purpose of such emails is nought but to create fitnah and confusion among the Muslims. Allah Ta'ala save us from the evil of fitnah-mongers, aameen
Mufti Siraj Desai