Sighting of the Crescent - The testimony of hilal

How does one ascertain the hilal? The testimony of hilal can be achieved by
(a) direct sighting, where you see it yourself, or

(b) indirect sighting, where someone sees it, and you rely on his sighting.

If an individual who is reliable, upright, and trustworthy ('adl) witnesses the hilal, it becomes incumbent upon him to fast. If he informs others about his testimony, according to the major­ity of the scholars, it becomes incumbent upon them to fast. This is the ruling that enjoys support in hadith.

Ibn Umar (raa) reported,
“During the time of the Prophet (saas), the companions went looking for the new crescent. So I told the Prophet (saas) that I saw it. So he fasted and told the compan­ions to fast.” (Abu Dahud / Hakim)

Abu Hurairah (raa) related the Messenger of Allah (saas) said:
“Fast by sighting the (new) hilal, and break your fast by sighting. If there is a cloud, complete the counting of Sha'aban 30 days.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

What Should Be Said at the Sighting of the Crescent

It is recommended that whoever sights the crescent (Hilal) of Ramadan, or any other month for that matter, or being in­formed about new crescent, should say:

“Allahu Akbar, Allahumma ahillahu 'alaina bil yumni wa Iman, Was Salaamata wal Islam, Ribbi wa rabbika illah.” (Tirmidhi)

Meaning: “Allah is Greatest. O Allah, make it the begin­ning, the beginning of prosperity, faith, peace, and total submission to Allah. Your Lord and mine is Allah.”

Also, it has been reported from Ali bin Abi Talib (raa) that the Messenger said:

“If you witness the crescent of the new month, say:
‘Al­lahu Akbar (three times) Al-hamdu Lillah. Alladhi Kha­laqani wa Khalaqaka, wa qaddara laka manajil wa ja'alaka ayatna lil 'alameen.’ ” (Naylul Awataar)

Meaning: “Allah is Greatest. (three times) praise be to Allah who created me and you and decreed for you the phases and made you a sign for the universe.”

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