Friday Khutbah, Masjid Al-Haram,
Makkah, Saudi Arabia
By Al-Eqtisadiah Newspaper, Saudi Arabia; Dated: 22 July 2011
Translated by: Omar Bouderdaben, ICOP Media Committee; Dated: 23 July 2011
Imam Al-Haram Al-Makki: There are no obstacles (deterrents, preventions) from benefitting from the modern means in the sighting of the crescent moon.
Imam and Khateeb of the Masjid Al-Haram in the Noble Makkah, Sheikh Dr Saud Al-Shuraim, advised the Muslims to be Allah conscious and to fear Him as he ought to be feared and to hold on to the strong rope of Islam.
And he clarified, in his Khutbah delivered on Friday at the Masjid Al-Haram, that the lunar calendar is among things with which Allah blessed the Muslim Ummah and made it as one of its characteristics where as the previous nations used the sun as the basis for their calendars, which is about 11 days longer than the lunar calendar. The calendar of the Arabs before the advent of Islam was based on the moon, in contrast to the others, and Islam asserted that method and accepted it.
He also pointed out that the moon is a sign of Allah’s signs used to warn His servants by its eclipse in this life and in the hereafter, that it is a disgrace to belittle it, and that it is of misguidance to use other than the lunar calendar. It is also wrong to raise children in a manner that makes them attached to pictures whether inanimate and animate subject and amongst these are the moon they represent with eyes and nose and things like that, or it has a mouth, or smiling or crying. It is a sign of Allah which should not be made fun or belittled.
He also pointed out that old nations and modern ones had some wrong beliefs that are outside of what Allah has created the moon for. Amongst these beliefs is the belief of the moon eclipses for the death or birth of people which the messenger, peace be upon him, denied.
The Imam and Khateeb of the Masjid Al-Haram added that a large group of those who interpreted Quran mentioned in their interpretations that some companions asked the messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, why is that the moon appears sometimes as a very thin crescent, then grows to become a full circle then decrease until it is as it started? Then Allah revealed the following ayah: “They ask you about the crescent moons, say they are fixed time for people and Hajj…” (Quran 2:189). He also pointed out that there are some people that think that the Shar’i sighting of the moon is not in agreement with the calculations and it (Shari sighting) is only suppositions and not accurate compared to modern means while calculations are certain and precise. The answer to this is that the messenger, peace be upon him, was not unable to comprehend the details of things despite being unlettered. Revelation comes to him so that he, peace be upon him, conveys that which is much greater than that. He indeed described the seven havens and what is in them of the messengers on the ascension of the “Isra” as he described the “Masjid al-Aqsa” as it was (during the same journey with precise details). However his response, peace be upon him, above was short because his Ummah was more in need to the worship of Allah and their obedience to Him and the impact should be practical not theoretical, hence the answer “It is fixed times for people. This is what is beneficial to them.
He also clarified that whoever says in his (the messenger, peace be upon him) response there is disagreement with the science of astronomy, they certainly have committed a grave act against Allah and his messenger, peace be upon him. The book of Allah is greater than to be just a book of astronomy or chemistry or physics as some enthusiasts focus their goals on these points far away from being guidance and a light and success. And may be because of this they fall into three categories: First, a mental decline that makes them think that science is the criterion with which we should judge Quran and that Quran follows science, so they try to confirm Quran by scientific reasoning. The second is the lack of understanding of the reality of Quran and its message that the message is finite and does not accept examination or investigation because the one who said this is the one that nothing escaped Him on earth or in the heavens. And the third is to fall prey to the arbitrary interpretations and sophistication in directing the texts of Quran towards new knowledge and new theories that may be negated in the future. This should not be understood that we should not take advantage of the latest scientific inventions in expanding the meaning of the Ayat of Quran and demonstrate its miracles and that it follows Quran not the other way around.
He went on to say that, on this occasion, we ought to emphasize, with an open mind, that the discussion should be about the moon and the crescent and not let the difference in “mataali’” be the cause of harsh disagreement and conniving against each other. This matter should be approached with gentleness and Ijtihad that will get us to a common greater goal and that we should stay away from unfruitful debate.
Sighting [the crescent] by the human eye is the Shar’i method, but this should not be considered as contradictory to the use of telescopes or helpful calculation to determine the sighting with more precision so that the differences could be united and the gap will be brought closer.