Ismaili Lunar Calendar’: An ideal base to unite the ‘Ummah’ Part 2 [Archives:2008/1196/Culture]

September 6 2008

Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany
The purpose of the following dialogue is to promote tolerance and intellectual understanding among the Muslim community of the global village. The Modern World humiliates the Muslims with the fact that while astronauts have landed the Moon, and other scientists are busy in discoveries of the universe, majority of the Muslims are still following the directions of the clergy, regarding the sighting of the Moon, instead of following the scientific course, upon which religion of Islam is based.

Syedna Hamiduddin al Kirmani (d. in between 411-427 A.H.), maintained that Allah has created everything in pairs, so no one could share and compete with Him. Qur'an says:

“He is sacred who created everything in pairs.”

In another Ayat this matter is clarified as follow:

“We have created everything in pairs. May you remember”

The learned writer of “Al Risalah al Lazimah”, Syedna Hamiduddin al Kirmani says:

It is fact that we also find pairs in everything for e.g. diamond and gems, dryness and swamp, high lands and tropical area, similarly day and night, good and bad deeds, body and soul, emergence and disappearance, Duniya and Akhirah, male and female etc. this chain is very long. Similarly Rasulullah (S) has raised Shariat on the basis of pairs, for e.g. Sal'aat & Zak'aat, Siy'aam & Haj, Az'aan & Iqamat, Haj & Umrah, Safa & Marwa, Faraz & Sunnat, Ruku & Sujud etc. In this manner there are two types of observation, which are adjoining with each other, physical and spiritual. Physical observation is linked with eyes that can observe colours and geometrical figures; on the other hand a spiritual observation is linked with the mind and soul which can attain and observe those things, which physically is not possible. Attainment of these objects is beyond the physical power. Qur'an says:

“Thus heart did not lie whatever it saw and O' Mohammad! Did not you observe your Creator that how He enlarged the shade (of sky)”

And Qur'an says:

“(O' Mohammad!) Did not you see what your Creator did with 'Ash'aab al Feel'?”

Rather we know that Rasulullah (S) was not present in the period of 'Ash'aab al Feel', that he would see them. So, the meaning of observation is linked with ilm and Marifat. For example we say that someone is blind by heart, which means he is short- sighted and incapable to understand.

It is the opinion of the people, who follow Qiyas that sometimes the month of Ramazan, is perfect and sometimes imperfect. They believed that the Siyam of Ramazan is based on the sighting of moon. These people refer to the following Hadith as evidence:

“People should observe Siy'am and celebrate their Eid by observing him. If clouds appear, then observe Siy'am for thirty days.”

This Hadith is Zaeef and non authentic. We will describe with irrefutable arguments that the month of Ramazan is always perfect and is not imperfect in any circumstances. First of all, we categorically deny and refute the argument of any person who says that, “observe Ramazan and celebrate Eid by watching (Moon) him”. We would like to guide that person and explain the meaning. When Rasulullah (S) decided to join the expedition, prior to the month of Ramazan, some of his Ash'ab approached him and asked, “O Rasulullah (S) we did our Siy'am by observing you and similarly celebrated Eid by watching you, so what should we do in your absence. Rasulullah (S) directed as follow:

“Observe Siy'am and celebrate your Eid by observing him”.

Syedna al Moayyid al Shirazi explained this Hadith in Majlis No. 42 of “Al Majalis al Moayyidiyah” as follows:

Thus the root origin of this Hadith explains that it was obligatory to observe the Siyam by the Siy'am of Rasulullah (S) in his presence. Similarly it becomes obligatory to do so with his successor too, in his absence. Thus this law attains permanency in other cases too when Rasul is absent or Imam is present, just as the Ash'ab declared that we observed Siy'am by you. Argument in favor of beginning of the month by sighting the Moon by one of the major wing is totally non acceptable on both bases, religious as well as logical. One of the reasons is that Rasulullah (S) always said that Jibrael regularly came and informed each and everything in the morning or evening. So the one, to whom in the morning and evening, the news of heavens was disclosed, did not have the need to search for the Moon in the sky. If Rasulullah (S) came out in search of the Moon, it is a self contradiction of his own declaration of Wahi, allowing the opponents of Wahi who may raise the question; O Rasulullah (S)! Why did not you ask about the Moon from Jibrael, so that you may be saved from this problem?

The second reason is the following Hadith, which has been recorded in several books as follow:

“Ana Be'turuq'aatis Sam'aae Aarafu Minkum Be 'turuq'aatil Ard”-“I am more aware od the celestical courses than you are aware of the ways of earth”.

After this Hadith is it logical to assume that Rasulullah (S) would look out for the emergence of the Moon after every 29 days, when an ordinary astrologer is well aware of this fact? It is also a fact that the condition of the earth is different, at different places. At some places the height of the land is so much high i.e.: in mountainous regions where sighting of the Moon becomes easy, while elsewhere it is so much low that the appearance of moon takes time. It is a fact that nothing was hidden from the knowledge of Rasulullah (S). If any knowledge was hidden from Rasulullah (S) than Nubuwah would have been incomplete. It is a universal fact that Rasulullah(S) was free from all faults and defaults. After knowing the difference of opinion, we become sure about the fact that our intellects follow only one aspect, and ignore the logic, reasoning, and even the divine realities of Nubuwah. Why Siy'am was declared Faraz and linked with Haj? It is common that the Moon is visible at some places and not visible at some other place. It is also incorrect and unacceptable, that there should be a day in the month of Shab'an in which the Moon does not appear. This is such an authentic argument that an intellectual just can not ignore it, except an irrational mind. Similarly Qur'an says:

“So, Siy'am has been made Faraz upon you similarly as it was Faraz before you on others. May you become pious”.

Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany has PhD (USA), NDI, Shahadat al A'alamiyyah (Najaf, Iraq), M.A., LLM (Shariah) Member, Ulama Council of Pakistan. He is Attorney at Law & Religious Scholar. He can be reached at [email protected]