Establishing the beginning and ending of Ramadhaan by sighting the moon

Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim to rely upon astronomical calculations in order to establish the beginning and ending of fasting or is it a must that the new moon is seen?

Answer: The Islaamic Sharee’ah is a merciful legislation and is general. Its rulings are appropriate to all of man and jinn upon their differing status whether they be scholars or illiterate, city people or villagers and for this reason Allaah made it easy for them the way to establish the timings of different forms of worship. He made signs showing their beginning and end times all these people can participate in establishing that. He made, for example the disappearing of the sun a sign for the beginning time of the Maghrib prayer and for the ending time of the ‘Asr prayer. He made the setting of the red horizon a sign for the beginning time of the ‘Ishaa. prayer. He made the sighting of the new moon after it had been hidden at the end of the previous month a sign for the beginning of the new lunar month and for the end of the previous month and he did not burden us to establish the beginning of the lunar month by means that only a few people know, that being knowledge of the stars and the science of astronomy. In this manner did the text from the Book (the Qur.aan) and the Sunnah make the sighting of the new moon and it being spotted as a sign for the Muslims to begin fasting the month of Ramadhaan as was the sighting of the new moon of Shawwaal a sign to stop fasting. The situation is also the same when establishing the `Eed of sacrifice and the day of ‘Arafah. Allaah (‘azza wa jal) said:

{So he who from amongst you should witness the month should fast it} [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 185].

And Allaah (‘azza wa jal) said:

{They ask you about the new moons, say these are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage} [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 189].

And the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

«When you see it (the new moon) then (start to) fast and when you see it (again) break your fast (stop fasting). If your vision was impaired (due to clouds or mist) complete the period of thirty days».

So he (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) ordained that fasting start by affirming the sighting of the new moon of Ramadhaan and the end of the month of fasting be by affirmation of the new moon of Shawwaal. He (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) did not link any of that to astronomical calculations nor to the movement of stars. Based upon this, the people acted in the time of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and in the time of the righteous Khaleefahs, the four Imaams and the three generations that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) bore witness to, with virtue and goodness. So going back to the science of astronomy to affirm the lunar months in beginning and ending forms of worship without actual sighting is from the innovations that has no good in it and has no basis in the Sharee’ah. And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is holding fast to that which the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and the righteous predecessors were upon by affirming the beginning and the end of the month of Ramadhaan, the `Eeds and the times of Hajj and their like with the sighting of the moon. And all good is in following the predecessors in religious matters and all evil is in the innovations that were introduced into the religion. May Allaah protect us and all the Muslims from all trials, open or hidden.

And with Allaah lies all the success, and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Verdicts, comprising –
Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez ibn Abdullaah ibn Baaz;
Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Ibn Ghudayyaan;
Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Munee’
Fataawa Ramadhaan – Volume 1, Page 60-61, Fatwa No.27;
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa. – Fatwa No.386

Published: 5 December 1999

Hijacking planes and kidnapping

From that which is known to everyone who has the slightest bit of common sense is that hijacking airplanes and kidnapping children and the like are extremely great crimes, the world over. Their evil effects are far and wide, as is the great harm and inconvenience caused to the innocent; the total effect of which none can comprehend except Allaah.

Likewise, from that which is known is that these crimes are not specific to any particular country over and above another country, nor any specific group over and above another group, rather it encompasses the whole world.

There is no doubt about the effect of these crimes; so it is obligatory upon the governments and those responsible from amongst the scholars and other than them to afford these issues great concern, and to exert themselves as much as possible in ending this evil.

[Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Kayfa Nu’aalij Waaqi’unaa al-Aleem – Page 108-109]

The ruling concerning celebrating birthdays

Question: What is the ruling concerning celebrating birthdays?

Answer: Celebrating birthdays has no source whatsoever in the pure Sharee’ah. In fact, it is an innovation, since the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

((Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that does not belong to it shall have that action rejected)). This was recorded by both al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.

In a version recorded by Muslim and by al-Bukhaaree in definitive muallaq form:

((Whoever performs a deed which is not in accord with our affairs, that deed is rejected)).

It is well-known that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) did not celebrate his birthday at all during his lifetime nor did he ever order it to be celebrated. Nor did he teach such to his Companions. Therefore, the rightly-guided caleephs and all of his Companions did not celebrate it. They are the most knowledgeable of the people concerning his sunnah and they are the most beloved to the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam). They were also the most keen upon following whatever the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) brought. Therefore, if one is supposed to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday, this would have been made evident at their time.

Similarly, not one of the scholars of the best generations celebrated his birthday nor did they order it to be done. Therefore, it is known from the above that such a celebration is not from the Law that Allaah sent Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) with. We ask Allaah and all Muslims to witness that if the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) had done so or ordered such to be done, or even if his Companions had done so, we would rush to do it and call others to do it. This is because, and all praises are due to Allaah, we are the most keen in following his sunnah and respecting his commands and prohibitions.

We ask Allaah, for ourselves and for all of our brethren Muslims, steadfastness upon the truth, avoiding everything that differs from Allaah’s pure Sharee’ah. Verily, He is Generous and Noble.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz
Fataawa al-Mar.ah

Our Obligations Regarding The Rulers

Question: What is wajib upon us regarding the people who are in authority over us or the Hukaam (Rulers)?

Answer: Wishing them well, its explanation is that they are supported regarding the truth, they are followed and obeyed. That they be advised with softness, they are prayed behind, jihaad should be performed with them, they should be given the zakah and charity, having patience on some of their minor impressions and injustice, weapons are not raised against them up until the open kufr is apparent from them. They are not pushed into deceit by fabricated lies and supplications be performed for them for the sake of guidance and rectification.

Question: What are the proofs?

Answer: Allaah says,

“O you who believe obey Allaah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) and those of you who are in authority.” [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):59]

The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said,

“Hear and obey even if he is a slave” [Saheeh. Bukhaaree (no’s 693, 696, 7142), Ibn Maajah (no.2760), Bayhaqee in as-Sunan al-Kubraa (8/155) and Musnad Ahmad in his Musnad (6/403)]

The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) also said,

“Whoever sees something disliked from the ameer, he should have patience with it because whoever separates from the jamaa’ah by a hand span and if he died he would die the death of Jaahiliyyah.” [Agreed Upon. On the authority of Ibn Abbaas (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu). Bukhaaree (no’s 7053, 7054, 7143), Muslim (no’s 55, 56) and Ahmad in his Musnad (1/275, 297, 310)]

It is the saying of Ubaadah Ibn as-Saamit (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu) who said,

The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) called us and we gave him the pledge of allegiance, from the pledge of allegiance was obeying him in both situations of happiness and sorrow, hardship and ease and in precedence over us and we do not take the kingdom of the ruler except when we see open disbelief for which he has no proof from Allaah.” [Saheeh. Bukhaaree (no 7052), Muslim (no’s 41, 42), an-Nasaa’ee (no’s 4153, 4154), Ibn Maajah (no.2766) and Ahmad (3/144, 5/316).

It is another saying of the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam),

“It is obligatory upon every Muslim to obey that which he likes and dislikes except when he is commanded to sin, then it is obligatory upon the believer not to hear or obey.” [Agreed Upon. On the authority of Ibn Umar (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu). Bukhaaree (no.2955, 7144), Muslim (no.38), Tirmidhee (no.1707), Ibn Maajah (no.2864), Abu Dawood (no.2626) and an-Nasaa’ee (no.4206)]

In another place he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said,

“There is obedience only in the good.” [Agreed Upon. On the authority of Alee (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu). Bukhaaree (no’s 4340, 7175, 7257), Muslim (no’s 39, 40), Abu Daawood (no.2625), an-Nasaa’ee (no.4205) and Ahmad (1/82, 94, 124)]

In another place he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said,

“Even if he strikes your back and takes your wealth, then still hear and obey.” [Saheeh. On the authority of Hudhaifah (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu) which is a part of a lengthier hadeeth. Muslim (no.52). Another hadeeth with similar meaning has been reported by Ubaadah as-Saamit (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu) by Ibn Hibbaan (no.4547).]

In another place he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said,

“Whoever withdrew his hand from obedience, then will meet Allaah on the day of judgement in the condition that he will have no proof nor an excuse and whoever dies without the allegiance to the ameer round his neck, then he dies the death of Jaahiliyyah.” [Saheeh. On the authority of Ibn Umar (radi-Allaahu ‘anhu). Muslim (no. 58), Haakim (1/77, 117) who authenticated it according to the conditions of the two Shaykhs and Dhahabee agreed. Imaam al-Albaanee (raheemahullaah) also authenticated it in as-Saheehah (no.984) and in Saheeh al-Jaam’i (no.6105)]

In another place he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said,

“Whosoever wishes to divide the affair of this ummah into pieces when the ummah is united, then kill him with a sword even if he is a person.” [Saheeh. On the authority of Arfajah. Muslim (no.59, 60), Abu Daawood in As-Sunnah, the chapter of killing the Khawaarij (no.4762), an-Nasaa’ee (4020, 4023) and Ahmad (4/261, 341, 5/24).]

In another place he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said,

“There will be such leaders of the jamaa’ah you will recognise and you will abandon their bad actions, and whoever dislikes their actions will be worse… and whoever rejects them will be protected. But whoever remains pleased with them and follows them, the people asked, “Shall we fight such people?” He said, “No! Up until they establish the prayer.” [Saheeh. On the authority of Umm Salamah (radi-Allaahu ‘anhaa). Muslim (no.62, 63, 64), Abu Daawood in As-Sunnah, the chapter of killing the Khawaarij (no.4760), Tirmidhee (no.2265), and Ahmad (6/295, 302, 305, 321)]

All these ahadeeth are mentioned in the six most authentic books of hadeeth.

[Al-Allaamah, Fadheelatush-Shaykh Haafidh Ibn Ahmad al-Hakamee – A’laam as-Sunnah al-Manthoorah al-Ei’tiqaad at-Tae’fatun-Naajiyyatal Mansoorah]

Ruling on shaving the beard

Question: What is the ruling on shaving the beard or removing part of it?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

Shaving the beard is haraam because of the saheeh ahaadeeth that clearly state this, and because of the general application of texts that forbid resembling the kuffaar. One of these reports is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Be different from the mushrikeen: let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.” According to another report: “Trim your moustaches and let your beards grow.” There are other hadeeth which convey the same meaning, which is to leave the beard as it is and let it grow long, without shaving, plucking or cutting any part of it. Ibn Hazm reported that there was scholarly consensus that it is an obligation (fard) to trim the moustache and let the beard grow. He quoted a number of ahaadeeth as evidence, including the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) quoted above, and the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Arqam in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not remove any of his moustache is not one of us.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi). Ibn Hazm said in al-Furoo’: “This is the way of our colleagues [i.e., the Hanbalis].”

Is it haraam (to shave it)? Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The Qur’aan, Sunnah and ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) all indicate that we must differ from the kuffaar in all aspects and not imitate them, because imitating them on the outside will make us imitate them in their bad deeds and habits, and even in beliefs, which will result in befriending them in our hearts, just as loving them in our hearts will lead to imitating them on the outside. Al-Tirmidhi reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “He is not one of us who imitates people other than us. Do not imitate the Jews and Christians.” According to another version: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad) ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab rejected the testimony of the person who plucked his beard. Imaam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed: “It is forbidden to shave the beard, and no one does this except men who are effeminate” i.e., those who imitate women. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a thick beard (reported by Muslim from Jaabir). It is not permitted to remove any part of the beard because of the general meaning of the texts which forbid doing so.

[Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 5/133]

Ruling on using the masbahah (prayer beads)

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Fataawa (22/187): “Some of them might show off by putting their prayer-mats over their shoulders and carrying their masbahahs in their hands, making them symbols of religion and prayer. It is known from the mutawaatir reports that neither the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) nor his Companions used these as symbols. They used to recite tasbeeh and count on their fingers, as the hadeeth says: “Count on your fingers, for they will asked, and will be made to speak.” Some of them may count their tasbeeh with pebbles or date stones. Some people say that doing tasbeeh with the masbahah is makrooh, and some allow it, but no one says that tasbeeh with the masbahah is better than tasbeeh with the fingers.”

Is it obligatory to obey a ruler who does not rule according to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him)?

Question: Is it obligatory to obey a ruler who does not rule according to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him)?

Answer: Praise be to Allaah.

The ruler who does not rule according to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger should be obeyed in matters that do not involve disobedience towards Allaah and His Messenger, and it is not obligatory to fight him because of that; rather it is not permissible to do so unless he reaches the level of kufr, in which case it becomes obligatory to oppose him and he has no right to be obeyed by the Muslims.

Ruling according to anything other than that which is in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger reaches the level of kufr when two conditions are met:

1. When he knows the ruling of Allaah and His Messenger; if he is unaware of it, then he does not commit kufr by going against it.

2. When what makes him rule by something other than that which Allaah has revealed is the belief that it is a ruling that is not suitable for our time and that something else is more suitable than it and more beneficial for people.

If these two conditions are met, then ruling by something other than that which Allaah has revealed constitutes kufr which puts a person beyond the pale of Islam, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, such are the Kaafiroon (i.e. disbelievers)” [al-Maa’idah 5:44]. The authority of the ruler becomes invalid and he has no right to be obeyed by the people; it becomes obligatory to fight him and remove him from power.

But if he rules by something other than that which Allaah has revealed whilst believing that ruling by that – i.e. that which Allaah has revealed — is what is obligatory, and that it is more suitable for the people, but he goes against it because of some whims and desires on his part or because he wants to wrong the people under his rule, then he is not a kaafir; rather he is a faasiq (evildoer) or a zaalim (wrongdoer). His authority remains, and obeying him in matters that do not involve disobedience to Allaah and His Messenger is obligatory, and it is not permissible to fight him or remove him from power by force or to rebel against him, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) forbade rebelling against rulers unless we see blatant kufr for which we have proof from Allaah.

[Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/118)]