The Jamme Ghafeer Rule
The Jamme Ghafeer rule as explained by the leading jurists of this Ummah
1 is considered an important principle by the Wifaqul Ulama. If the hilal is sighted in clear conditions, meaning the skies are clear and there are no obstructions such as clouds, mist or pollution, then a testimony of a large group of Muslims will be needed to accept a claim of a sighting. This rule will remain in force if the hilal is sighted here in the UK or any other country. This principle appears in most of the books of Hanafi jurisprudence. Below are some of the writings of the Fuqaha (jurists):
لٔٛم ثلا عهخ ج عً عظٛى ٚمع انعهى( انششعٙ غهجخ انظ )ثخجش ىْ يف ضٕ إن سا الإيبو ي غٛش رمذٚش ثعذد( عه ان زً تْ۔
)دريختار كتاب انص وٌ- جهذ 3 ص 414 / يختصزانقذ رً يع انشزح ص 224 ، نعلايو اد ذًانقذ رً ه
إٔرا نى رك ثب نغ بًء عهخ نى رمجم انش بٓدح دز ٚشا ج عً كثٛش ٚمع انعهى ثخجش ىْ
.. لأ انزفشد ثبنش ٚٔخ ف يثم زْ انذبنخ ٚ ىْٕ انغهػ
فٛجت انز لٕف فٛ دزّ ٚك ج عًب كثٛشا
. )ىذايو- جهذ 1 ص 125 ، نعلايو عه بن أب بكزان زًغيناني ىجز 592 / ن رٌالإيضاح
ص 167 ، نعلايو دسن بن ع اًرشزنبلان ىجز 1469ٍ / يزاق انفلاح ص 236
إٔرا نى رك ثبنغ بًء عهخ نى رمجم انش بٓدح دزٙ ٚشا ج عً كثٛش ٚمع انعهى ثخجش ىْ لأ انزفشد ثبنشؤٚخ فٙ يثم زْ انذبنخ ٚ ىْٕ
انغهػ فٛجت انز لٕف فٛ دزٙ ٚك ج عًب كثٛشا
... .. ثى لٛم فٙ دذ انكثٛش أ مْ ان هًخ عٔ أث ٚ عٕف سد الله خ غً سجلا اعزجبسا
ثبنمغبيخ لٔا فشق ثٛ أ مْ ان صًش ئ سٔد ي خبسج ان صًش۔
)فتخ انقذيز جهذ 2 ص 328 ، نعلايو إبن ى اًو دنف 861 ىجز (ٍ
ششٚعذ يمذعہ يٛں چب ذَ ك سؤٚذ كٛهئے لب ٚہ ےْ كہ اگش
(29) ا زَٛظ ك ساد ك يؽهع ثبنكم صبف ر پ شٓ جى غفٛش ك سؤٚذ س صٔ ا سٔعٛذ كٛهئے ظش سٔ ےْ. جى غفٛشک رعذاد کے ثبسے يٛں يخزهف ال إل رخٛش فم يٛں دسج ہٛں ثعط عے
پچبط ا سٔثعط عے پب چَ عٕ غٔٛش يش ہٛں انجزہ ايبو علاي إث عبثذٚ شبي سد الله ےَ رعذاد عے لؽع ظَش كشکے
لبظ کے يؽ ئً ےَْٕ ك رشجٛخ د ےْ نٛك لبظ كب اؼ ًٛ بُ ث د ششائػ کے عبر ہٓ يشش غٔ ےْ ) 1( ايكب سؤٚذ ) 2
كثشد ش دٕٓ
.. اعهئے صبف يؽهع کےد سٔا رٛ ٚبچبس آديٛ ںٕ ك گ إ بَ لبثم لج لٕ ےْ-كذافي ردان خًتار جهذ 2 ص 141
فتا دقانيہ جهذ 4 ص 137
ع پچبط ہَ عہ كى اص كى پچٛظ رٛظ آديٙ ر ںْٕ ج چب ذَ دٚك ٛٓں
- دكٛى الأيذ دعشد ر بٓ لذط عش نك زٓے ہٛں-
اگش يؽهع صبف ر د چبس آديٛ ںٕ کے کہ ےُ ا سٔ گ إ دٚ ےُ عے ث چب ذَ ثبثذ ہَ گْٕب چب ےْ سيعب چب ےْ عٛذ
انجزہ اگش ار كثشد عے ن گٕ اپ بُ چب ذَ دٚك بُٓ ثٛب كشٚں كہ دل گ إ دٚ ےُنگے كہ ٚہ عت کے عت ثبد ث بُكش ہَٛں آئے ہٛں
ار ےُ ن گٕ ںٕ كبج ٹٕٓب بَْٕ كغ ؼشح ہَٛں عْٕكزب رت چب ذَ ثبثذ گْٕب- )بہشت سي رٌ دصہ 3 ص 6/ عهى انفقو جهذ 3 ص 425
شٛخ انذذٚث شٛخ يذ ذً صكشٚب لذط عش د جُه فم ك يعش فٔ كزبة ان غً
)جهذ 3 ص 157 ( عے مَم كشرے ہٛں۔ لٔبل أث دٕ ُٛفخ
رد وً الله
فٙ انغٛى كم نٕ بُ فٔٙ انصذ لا ٚمجم الا الا عزفبظخ لأ لاٚج صٕ أ ر ظُشانج بًعخ إن ان ؽًهع أٔثصبس ىْ صذٛذخ أن إً عَ
يشرفعخ فٛشا أدذ د انجبلٛ ۔ٍ )ا جًشان سًانك جهذ 5 ص 21
These jurists include Imam e Aazam Abu Hanifa RA, Allamah Shaami RA and Allamah Ibn Humaam RA.
The conclusion of all these quotes/writings is that when there are no obstructions in the skies then the testimony of a large group of Muslims will be needed to accept a claim of a sighting, so that no doubts remain in the sighting. This rule is the same, whether one is in a city or a village or out of the city or village.
How will the size of this group be determined? There are many opinions, some say fifty, and some say five hundred; Allamah Shaami RA has stated that this will be dependent upon the discretion of the Qadhi (judge), but there are two conditions attached to that: 1) possibility of sighting 2) a large number of witnesses.
Hadhrat E Aqdas Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi RA wr
ites: “If the skies are clear then the testimony of two or four people will not be sufficient, whether it is for Ramadhan or whether it is for Eid. On the other hand, if
so many people came forward with testimonies, that it becomes clear that they are not lying, nor can such a large group lie, then the testimonies will be accepted and the new month will commence".
However, there is an exception when one claims a sighting in the desert or at a high place. The testimony of one person could be accepted, as very few people reside there or go there.
There are people who have misunderstood
' ٘سبذصنا ' as a township or a rural village but this is incorrect as the interpretation of ‘انصذبس٘ ’ is desert or wilderness (bayaabaan in Urdu), where people do not normally reside. Therefore, if a person came from a desert or desert type land where people do not reside, or he was the only person on a very high place in the city, his testimony could be accepted. Allamah Ibn Abideen Shaami writes in his Rasaail3:
ثى مَم ف انجذش مَ لٕا رذل عه أ ظب شْ انش أٚخ اشزشاغ انعذد لا انج عً انعظٛى لبل أنعذد ٚصذق عه اث ُٛ فكب يشجذب
نش أٚخ انذغ انزٙ اخزش بَ بْ ا زَ ٙٓ )ثى( مَم زْا إرا كب انز ش ذٓ ثزانك ف ان صًش أيب إرا جبء ي يكب اخش خبسج ان صًش فإ رمجم ش بٓدر أ ان إدذ إرا كب عذلا ثمخ لأ ٚزٛم فٙ انشؤٚخ ف انصذبس يب لا ٚزٛم فٙ الأيصبس ن بً فٛ بٓ ي كثٛشح انغجبس كٔزا
إرا كب فٙ ان صًش فٙ ي ظٕع يشرفع.
)رسائم إبن عابذين جهذ 1 ص 235
It becomes very clear from what Allamah Shaami RA writes that the word
صذبس٘ is a احترازى قيد (condition of caution), hence the meaning of ‘outside the city’ is a desert not a rural village. The gist of what he writes is that the testimony of a person who comes from the desert, where no one else resides, will be accepted. This is because sighting the hilal in the desert is easier than in the city or a village, because of clear atmospheric conditions. Furthermore, in a city or a village, it would be necessary to question whether other people had seen it or not whereas this issue would not arise in the desert, as there are no inhabitants there. However, differentiating between the city and the village is incorrect, illogical and no evidence could be found to support this.
‘Ruyat e Aamah’
(sighting by a large group) is encouraged in the Sahih Hadith:
Ibn Umar RA relates from Nabi that there are twenty-nine nights in a month, do not not fast until you see it (the Hilal), if it is hidden from you then complete thirty days.
The word in the Hadith
فلا رص يٕ إ, رش أ is a plural which can mean that when a lot of people sight it (the hilal), then fasting should begin. The practice of our Pious Aslaf clearly indicate that they insisted upon the ‘Ruyat e Aamah’ i.e. a large group as could be understood by this Athar (اثش )5:
- لهذ نعؽبء: أسأٚذ ن أ سجلا سأ لْال سيعب لجم ان بُط ثهٛهخ أٚص وٕ لجه ىٓ أ ٚفؽش لجه ىٓ
؟ لبل لا، الا ا ٚشا ان بُط، أخش ) أ ٚك شج عهٛ .ّ )يصنف عبذانزساق، باب كى يج سٌين انشي دٌعه رؤيةانيلال ج 4 ص 134
Ataa was asked that if a person was to see the Hilal of Ramadhan a night before the others could see it, should he fast before them, or should he celebrate Eid before them?
He replied ‘No, not until the people (ان بُط ( see it. I fear that he is mistaken’.
From this Athar (اثش ) we become aware that a sighting by a single person could be doubtful, hence other people should also sight the hilal. We also become aware through the Hadith of Ibn Umar RA and the Athar that there is no difference between sighting the Hilal in the city and sighting it in the village. It is unfortunate that the news coming out of Saudi Arabia does not adhere to this condition of ‘Jamme Ghafeer’. The reality is that in Saudi Arabia, ‘Ru’yat e Aamah’ )sighting by a large group( is never achieved despite millions of Muslims residing there, and visiting there on occasions of Ramadhan and Eidain. Whereas, in the era of Nabi in Madinah, ‘Ru’yat e Aamah’ was common, except on the one occasion when the ‘A’araabi’ (villager) gave testimony. (Remember that this was the era of our Nabi and the pious Sahabah, the witness was a Sahabi and the Qadhi was Nabi himself. This was an era when lying was unheard of. Today, lying and dishonesty have become very common, determining the month of Ramadhan and the day of Eid has degenerated into gambling. Therefore, there is a great case/need for Ru’yat e Aamah to remove any doubts about the testimonies we receive.
Hadhrat Mufti Abdur Raheem Lajpuri RA writes: If the skies are clear the testimony of the two or four will not be enough. A testimony of such a large group is essential to the extent that the Qadhi, Aalim or Mufti is fully confident and satisfied that the hilal has been sighted, and no doubts remain.
‘Imam Abu Hanifa RA states that a large group is essential when the skies are clear.’
The Shariah Ruling as regards to the Moon of the two Eids according to Mufti e Aazam of Pakistan, Mufti Muhammad Shafi Saheb RA and the Akaabir Ulama of the time was: “If the Moon was not sighted by a large group, only two or four people observed it, and this was when the horizon was clear, there were no clouds or smog, then the sighting testimony of these two or four people will not be acceptable. Until a large group does not give testimony in this condition, the claim of sighting will not be acceptable. The testimony of the two or four will be seen as a mistake or a false testimony.” This ruling was signed by: Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi Saheb RA, Hadhrat Moulana Zafar Ahmad Uthmani Saheb RA, Hadhrat Moulana Muhammad Yusuf Binnori Saheb RA and Hadhrat Moulana Mufti Rashid Ahmad Saheb Ludhyanwi RA.
The conclusion derived from all these references given is that
‘Jamme Ghafeer’, ‘Ruyat e Aamah’ or the sighting by a great number of people is necessary when the skies are clear, and Ramadhan or Eid can only be observed after such a sighting has been made. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia, despite having clear skies the majority of the time and despite having millions of people attempting to sight the hilal, fails to fulfil this criteria. Only a few people, who are renowned as claimants year in and year out, seem to sight the moon. Further, these claims often tend to come at a time when the Hilal is impossible to sight, as it has not been born as yet, or it is in its early stages. This is the reason why the Wifaq ul Ulama has taken the cautious approach; instead of depending upon ‘impossible’ or ‘doubtful’ Saudi claims, we verify them through local sighting and by communicating with countries where a cautious approach is taken in the form of actual sighting, and where strict Hanafi principles are practiced. Although Morocco follows the Maliki school of thought, their principles on moonsighting are very similar to those of the Hanafi school of thought.