Before discussing the current moon debacle, it is appropriate and necessary to apprize the Muslim public of the rules of the Shariah pertaining to moon-sighting and the issues concomitant with the sighting.
(1) According to all four Math-habs, the principle: “For every city is its sighting.”, is a valid tenet. All Math-habs accept it.
(2) There is no Math-hab which advocates a unitary Eid.
(3) Eid during the era of the Sahaabah, Taabi-een, Tab-e- Taabieen and throughout Islamic history was comfortably celebrated on different days without the development of discord and disunity.
(4) According to the Shaafi’ Math-hab, moon-sightings are valid only for places within a radius of 48 miles. The Fuqaha have adopted 48 miles on the basis of it being the distance a traveller is allowed to perform Qasr Salaat.
(5) While according to the Hanafi Math-hab, sightings of distant places are valid if reliably reported, neither is transmission of sighting information nor acceptance thereof incumbent. There is explicit Nusoos of the Saheeh Ahaadith to substantiate this fact. And such has been the Ta-aamul of our Akaabir Ulama.
(6) The Shariah does not impose on the people of one city to institute measures for adopting the sightings of other places.
(7) According to the Hanafi Math-hab, the sighting of another town/city will be valid only if it is transmitted by Tareeq Moojib, and this method of transmission is achieved in one of the following four ways:
(a) Shahaadat alal Rooyah
(b) Shahaadat ala Shahaadat bir Rooyah
(c) Shahaadat ala Hukmil Haakim
Insha-Allah, these Shar’i terms and concepts shall be discussed and explained in a future publication when Allah Ta’ala grants us the means and the ability. In the context of the current scenario and moon-debacle it suffices to say that none of these methods was employed by the miscreants who had announced the sighting of the moon – sightings which are dubious in terms of the Shariah.