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Ruling 1699

The first of the month is established in four ways:

  1. a person sees the moon himself;
  2. a group of people from whose statement one derives certainty or confidence say that they have seen the moon. Similarly, [the first of the month is established] by means of anything that one derives certainty from, or a rational source that one derives confidence from;
  3. two dutiful (ʿādil) men say that they have seen the moon at night. However, if they describe attributes of the crescent that contradict one another, the first of the month is not established. Similarly, the first of the month is not established by the testimony of two dutiful men if one is certain or confident about them having made a mistake, or if their testimony is affected by a countervailing argument (muʿāriḍ), or by something that comes under the rule of a countervailing argument. For example, if a large group of the city’s people go to sight the moon but no more than two dutiful people claim to have sighted the moon; or, if a group of people go to sight the moon and two dutiful people from among them claim to have sighted the moon and others do not sight it, while amongst those others there are two other dutiful people who are as good in knowing the position of the crescent and are as sharp-sighted as the first two dutiful people, and furthermore, the sky is clear and for those two there is no probable obstacle to seeing the moon; in these cases, the first of the month is not established by the testimony of two dutiful people;
  4. thirty days from the first of the month of Shaʿbān pass, by means of which the first of the month of Ramadan is established; and thirty days from the first of the month of Ramadan pass, by means of which the first of the month of Shawwāl is established.