Use of CCD in moonsighting

Aug 14, 2021 | Sawm (Fasting)



I am trying to find a ruling as to whether it is allowed or not to use a CCD (Charge Couple Device) for moonsighting. My understanding is that sighting the moon with naked-eye, binoculars and telescopes are all allowed however, I would like to know the specific ruling on the use of CCD’s in moonsighting. In simple terms, CCD is almost like an x-ray. The object cannot be seen by eye but a picture is taken to see the object. They are used mainly in the daylight when the moon cannot be seen by naked-eye, binoculars or telescopes.

Whilst the moonsighting issue is a different aspect, I would like to reiterate that my question is strictly related to the use of a CCD in moonsighting.

Jazakumullahu Khayra.


The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed us that we should start and end the month of Ramadan by sighting the moon. Sighting here is in contrast to calculating the stages of the moon. Hence, the moon has to be observed to determine the start and end of the month. However, what is meant by sighting and observing the moon is not explained in detail within the hadith. For this reason the issue of using modern technology to sight the moon becomes one of ijtihad (legal interpretation).

One way to look at this is to look at the literal meaning of the word ru’yat which is the word used by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace ) to refer to sighting or observing. The reason for using the literal meaning is that this is the default in language and one would only move to an alternative metaphorical meaning if the literal meaning cannot be used.  In Lisan al-‘Arab, ru’yat has been defined as observing with one’s eye. From this it can be argued that the use of CCD does not fall within observation with the naked eye as the light captured is converted and transferred into different formats before it is visible to the eye. This is our position for the time being, though we will be doing a more detailed study and write up on this issue insha Allah.

لسان العرب (14/ 291)
رأي: الرُّؤْيَة بالعَيْن تَتَعدَّى إِلَى مَفْعُولٍ وَاحِدٍ، وَبِمَعْنَى العِلْم تتعدَّى إِلَى مَفْعُولَيْنِ؛ يُقَالُ: رَأَى زَيْدًا عَالِمًا ورَأَى رَأْياً ورُؤْيَةً ورَاءَةً مِثْلُ راعَة. وَقَالَ ابْنُ سِيدَهْ: الرُّؤْيَةُ النَّظَرُ بالعَيْن والقَلْب

عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري (10/ 271)
وَقَالَ أَبُو عمر: وَالَّذِي عندنَا فِي كتبه أَنه: لَا يَصح اعْتِقَاد رَمَضَان إلاَّ بِرُؤْيَة فَاشِية أَو شَهَادَة عادلة، أَو إِكْمَال شعْبَان ثَلَاثِينَ يَوْمًا، وعَلى هَذَا مَذْهَب جُمْهُور فُقَهَاء الْأَمْصَار بالحجاز وَالْعراق وَالشَّام وَالْمغْرب، مِنْهُم مَالك وَالشَّافِعِيّ وَالْأَوْزَاعِيّ وَالثَّوْري وَأَبُو حنيفَة وَأَصْحَابه وَعَامة أهل الحَدِيث إلاَّ أَحْمد وَمن قَالَ بقوله، وَذكر فِي (الْقنية) للحنفية: لَا بَأْس بالإعتماد على قَول المنجمين، وَعَن ابْن مقَاتل: لَا بَأْس بالاعتماد على قَوْلهم وَالسُّؤَال عَنْهُم، إِذا اتّفق عَلَيْهِ جمَاعَة مِنْهُم، وَقَول من قَالَ: إِنَّه يرجع إِلَيْهِم عِنْد الِاشْتِبَاه بعيد

بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (2/ 80)
وَأَمَّا الثَّانِي: وَهُوَ بَيَانُ مَا يُعْرَفُ بِهِ وَقْتُهُ، فَإِنْ كَانَتْ السَّمَاءُ مُصْحِيَةً يُعْرَفُ بِرُؤْيَةِ الْهِلَالِ، وَإِنْ كَانَتْ مُتَغَيِّمَةً يُعْرَفُ بِإِكْمَالِ شَعْبَانَ ثَلَاثِينَ يَوْمًا، لِقَوْلِ النَّبِيِّ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ -: «صُومُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ وَأَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَكْمِلُوا شَعْبَانَ ثَلَاثِينَ يَوْمًا ثُمَّ صُومُوا» .
وَكَذَلِكَ إنْ غُمَّ عَلَى النَّاسِ هِلَالُ شَوَّالٍ أَكْمَلُوا عِدَّةَ رَمَضَانَ ثَلَاثِينَ يَوْمًا، لِأَنَّ الْأَصْلَ بَقَاءُ الشَّهْرِ وَكَمَالُهُ، فَلَا يُتْرَكُ هَذَا الْأَصْلُ إلَّا بِيَقِينٍ عَلَى الْأَصْلِ الْمَعْهُودِ

Answered by:
Ifta Research Fellow

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel