Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s Scholarly Respone to ISNA’s Moon Sighting Decision; ICNA decides to stick with tradition and rules out calculations in moon sighting

Subhanallah! This paper is excellent. You can download it from Zaytuna’s Website:


A couple of statements I found interesting:

“This paper advances several arguments and rebuts others in an effort to prove that the only acceptable basis for determining the lunar month is the actual sighting of the dawning crescent. At the root of the problem is a failure to recognize that the crescent moon’s appearance is a legal cause (sabab) determined by God in the Qur’an and through His Prophet’s words. That being the case, no scholar in the history of Islam has ever permitted calculation in lieu of sighting until the modern era.”

“I argue that the actual naked-eye sighting is the standard demarcator for establishing the entrance of the Islamic lunar month based on the fact that the Qur’anic verse, They ask you about the crescent moons; say they are a means to measure your specific times and are also for the commencement of the Hajj (2:189), can only be interpreted literally. This conclusion ensues because the verse is decisive in its evidentiary nature and unequivocal in meaning.”

“Hence, I argue that, far from being an advancement, moving to a calculated lunar calendar is a reversion to pre-Islamic (jahili) custom.”

“In addition to advancing proofs showing that none of our scholars advocated standardizing the determination of the beginning of the lunar months based on calculations, I will show how the opinion of Ibn Daqiq al-‘Id has been misrepresented by the advocates of such calculations.”

“I conclude my argument by presenting the opinion of the four Sunni schools and the Ja’fari Shia school that the norm for establishing the beginning of the lunar month is the actual naked-eye sighting.”

– Shaykh Hamza Yusuf


Another recent development: ICNA released a statement today declaring they will not be siding with ISNA and their Fiqh Council on their moon sighting decision. They said:

“The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has traditionally adopted the opinion of sighting the moon in North America . On the advice of ICNA’s Scholars Committee, we have decided to continue following our existing approach and will not be adopting a calendar which is primarily based on calculations.”


5 Responses to Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s Scholarly Respone to ISNA’s Moon Sighting Decision; ICNA decides to stick with tradition and rules out calculations in moon sighting

  1. Azeem says:

    ICNA posted its position today on

  2. Good to hear they are not adopting calculations.

  3. Faraz says:

    While I disagree with the ISNA position, I think at a personal level, it’s best to follow your locality. If that locality is going with ISNA, I feel it’s better to follow that ruling rather than stand out differently from the rest of your local community. Of course, we should try to encourage our community members to follow the local sighting, but if they won’t, I think it’s more in keeping with the Islamic spirit to follow your local masjid.

  4. Ginny says:

    Assalamu alaikum, I am not scholar, but it seems that while calculations could be used as a guide to help people determine the *possibility* of sighting the moon, and to be used as a tool to verify sighting reports, using calculations alone, I never felt comfortable with ever since ISNA came out with its position. All I kept thinking was “but you gotta sight the moon”, etc. I’ve read Shaykh Hamza’s paper, and though scholarly, I found it to be very easy to understand. Although Inshallah I’ll read it again at some point, as it was late when I read it and I was trying to battle a migraine at the itme.

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