Fasting Sawm

Fasting Sawm

1. As you know, one of the following three conditions occurs at the beginning or end of the each month: The crescent sets before the sunset; or the crescent sets along with the sunset; or The crescent sets after the sunset. Please clear the following matters: First, which one of the three above-mentioned conditions would […]

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    1. As you know, one of the following three conditions occurs at the beginning or end of the each month: The crescent sets before the sunset; or the crescent sets along with the sunset; or The crescent sets after the sunset. Please clear the following matters: First, which one of the three above-mentioned conditions would be considered the beginning of the month according to Islamic law? Second, if we take into consideration that these three conditions are accounted for in the farthest places of the world using accurate calculations, is it possible to benefit from these computations to figure out the beginning of the month in advance, or it is necessary to observe it with the naked eye? A: The basis of determining the beginning of the month is the crescent that sets after sunset which can be observed before sunset in the customary way. The astronomical calculations are not reliable unless confidence is obtained through them. 2. If the crescent marking the beginning of Shawwal is not observed in a city by the local people, and if the radio or television announces the beginning of Shawwal, should the local people act upon the radio announcement, or should they ascertain by investigating whether Shawwal has commenced? A: If the radio or television announcement makes them feel sure that Shawwal has commenced, or if there is a decree by the Supreme Religious Authority [wali al-faqih] announcing the beginning of Shawwal, then there is no need for investigating further. 3. If it is difficult to ascertain the beginning of the month of Ramadan, or Eid al-Fitr, because of the inability to observe the crescent at the beginning of the month due to clouds or for some other reason, and if the count of the month of Shaban or the month of Ramadan did not add up to 30 days, is it permissible for us in Japan to go by the horizon in Iran or should we rely on the regular calendar? What is the rule? A: If the crescent has not been ascertained by being sighted even in the regions located at the same longitude with your city, or on the evidence of two just witnesses, or on the basis of a decree by a religious authority announcing the end of Ramadan, it is obligatory to observe precaution by ascertaining the beginning of Shawwal. The sighting of the crescent in Iran, which is to the west of Japan, cannot be a basis regarding the beginning of Shawwal for one residing in Japan. 4. Is the sameness of horizon (the longitude) considered to be a condition in regards to observing the crescent? A: It is sufficient that the crescent be sighted in the areas of the same horizon, or nearby, or in the areas to the east. 5. What is meant by sameness of horizon? A: When certain areas are located on the same longitude, according to astronomy, they are said to share the same horizon.

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