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Q&A: Ways to Establish the New Lunar Month

  • Are the beginning and end of Ramadan determined through sighting the crescent or by means of the calendar, even if Sha‘bān was not thirty days?
  A: Deciding the beginning of any lunar month is possible through one of the following methods: sighting the new moon by the mukallaf himself; the testimony of two just witnesses to that effect; numerous reports that bring conviction that the moon has been sighted; completion of thirty days since the previous month’s beginning; or the decree of a mujtahīd.
  • In our city, they appoint the start of Ramadan on Friday without sighting the new moon and just by the passage of 30 days of Sha`bān while the start of latter was not ascertained. It would be appreciated if you tell us our duty for getting the full advantage concerning the practices of the month of Ramadan like the nights of qadr and recitation of the daily supplications.
A: If 30 days of the month of Sha`bān passed, it is the month of Ramadan even without sighting the moon of Ramadan, provided that the start of Sha`bān was acknowledged through a shar‘ī way; otherwise, the passage of 30 days has no shar‘ī standing. The qadr blessed nights are considered as a single continuous entity. For acquiring the virtue of these nights and that of the du`a’ mentioned during special timing during the holy month, if the special time cannot be confirmed, one may get the virtue of them by adopting caution and repeating the prescribed practices mentioned for them.
  • If they declare — before ‘noon’ — that it is the first day of Ramadan, what should we do for fasting of the same day?
A: If you have not done any fast invalidator, you should intend to fast, and fast. After Ramadan month, you should perform its qaḍā’ as well. If you have done one of fast invalidators, your fast is invalid. You should refrain from fast invalidators until maghrib — as a respect for the holy month of Ramadan — and perform its qaḍā’ After Ramadan month.
  • If it is difficult to ascertain the beginning of the month of Ramadan, or Eid ul-Fitr, because of 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 Sha‘bān 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 even by being sighted in an adjacent city of the same horizon, on the evidence of two just witnesses, or on the basis of a decree by a mujtahīd, it is obligatory to observe caution until the beginning of the month is ascertained.
  • If the marji`s of taqlīd differ in determining the date of the Eid ul-Fitr, what is the duty of mukallaf? Should every individual act according to the view of the marji` they follow in taqlīd?
A: There is no taqlīd in ascertaining the start of a lunar month. Rather, if a person becomes sure about the sighting of the new moon through the words or the announcement of a marji` of taqlīd, they should break their fast and if they doubt it, they have to fast that day.
These are rulings outlined by Ayatollah Khamenei

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