Question # 116: I am resident of Dubai and planning to go to India for Idd-aladha, on what day I can fast for Arafa? I have to follow Saudi date or local date of India? Hope I am clear on my query.

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The correct scholarly view is that the moon sighting varies by region. Therefore, based on the hadith of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “When you see it (the new moon) fast and when you see it break your fast”, one should fast the day of ‘Arafah along with the people of the country where he/she is living, whether that is in accordance with Saudi Arabia or not.

Long Answer:  The day of ‘Arafah and the fast thereon is the ninth day of the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, which is defined for each country according to their sighting of the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah. It is not essential to follow the people of Saudi when there are differences in the sighting of the new moon. This is the most correct of the scholarly views, that each country has its own sighting when there is a difference concerning that.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: what if the day of ‘Arafah is different because of the moon being sighted at different times in different countries? Should we fast according to the moon sighting in the country where we are or according to the moon sighting in al-Haramayn (the two Holy Sanctuaries)?

He replied: This is based on a difference of opinion among the scholars: Is there only one moon sighting for the whole world or does it varies according to when the moon rises in different places?

The correct view is that it varies according to when the moon rises in different places. For example, if the moon is sighted in Makkah, and today is the ninth, and it is sighted elsewhere one day before Makkah, and the day of ‘Arafah in Makkah is the tenth for them, it is not permissible for them to fast on this day because it is Eid. Similarly, if it so happens that they sight the moon after Makkah, and the 9th in Makkah is the 8th for them, then they should fast the day that is the 9th for them, which is the 10th in Makkah. This is the correct view, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “When you see it (the new moon) fast and when you see it break your fast.” Those who did not see the moon in their own location have not seen it. Just as people are unanimously agreed that the times for dawn and sunset vary according to their own location, so too the months are also worked out by location, just like the daily timings. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa)

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) also said: “…The most correct view is …if the moon rises at the same point for two countries they become like one country, so if it is sighted in one of them that ruling applies to the other. But if the rising points differ, then each country has its own ruling. This is the view favored by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him); this is the apparent meaning of the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah and what is implied by analogy.

…With regard to analogy, the times for starting and ending the fast each day should be worked out in each country on its own, according to the local times of sunrise and sunset. This is a point on which there is scholarly consensus.

But if many regions come under the same government, and the ruler gives the command for the fast to start or end, then his command must be followed, because this is a matter of scholarly dispute but the command of the ruler dispels that dispute. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa)

(The above reply is based on the answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.