The Office of the Supreme Leader

Rules of Fasting

  • Fasting Defenition
  • Types of Fasting
  • Conditions of Obligatory Fast
  • Ways to Establish the New Lunar Month
    • Sighting the New Moon
      Print  ;  PDF


      Sighting the New Moon

      14. Are the beginning and end of Ramadan determined through sighting the crescent or by means of the calendar, even if Sha‘bān was not thirty days? 
      A: Deciding the beginning of any lunar month is possible through one of the following methods: sighting the new moon by the mukallaf himself; the testimony of two just witnesses to that effect; numerous reports that bring conviction that the moon has been sighted; completion of thirty days since the previous month’s beginning; or the decree of a mujtahīd.

      15. In our city, they appoint the start of Ramadan on Friday without sighting the new moon and just by the passage of 30 days of Sha`bān while the start of latter was not ascertained. It would be appreciated if you tell us our duty for getting the full advantage concerning the practices of the month of Ramadan like the nights of qadr and recitation of the daily supplications.
      A: If 30 days of the month of Sha`bān passed, it is the month of Ramadan even without sighting the moon of Ramadan, provided that the start of Sha`bān was acknowledged through a shar‘ī way; otherwise, the passage of 30 days has no shar‘ī standing. The qadr blessed nights are considered as a single continuous entity. For acquiring the virtue of these nights and that of the du`a' mentioned during special timing during the holy month, if the special time cannot be confirmed, one may get the virtue of them by adopting caution and repeating the prescribed practices mentioned for them.

      During the Day, One Comes to Know It Is Ramadan
      16. If they declare — before 'noon' — that it is the first day of Ramadan, what should we do for fasting of the same day?
      A: If you have not done any fast invalidator, you should intend to fast, and fast. After Ramadan month, you should perform its qaḍā’ as well. If you have done one of fast invalidators, your fast is invalid. You should refrain from fast invalidators until maghrib — as a respect for the holy month of Ramadan — and perform its qaḍā’ After Ramadan month.

      To Fast While the 1st of the Month Is not Ascertained
      17. If it is difficult to ascertain the beginning of the month of Ramadan, or Eid ul-Fitr, because of inability to observe the crescent at the beginning of the month due to clouds or for some other reason, and if the count of the month of Sha‘bān or the month of Ramadan did not add up to 30 days, is it permissible for us in Japan to go by the horizon in Iran or should we rely on the regular calendar? What is the rule? 
      A: If the crescent has not been ascertained even by being sighted in an adjacent city of the same horizon, on the evidence of two just witnesses, or on the basis of a decree by a mujtahīd, it is obligatory to observe caution until the beginning of the month is ascertained.

      Marji's Differ in Declaring Eid ul-Fitr
      18. If the marji`s of taqlīd differ in determining the date of the Eid ul-Fitr, what is the duty of mukallaf? Should every individual act according to the view of the marji` they follow in taqlīd?
      A: There is no taqlīd in ascertaining the start of a lunar month. Rather, if a person becomes sure about the sighting of the new moon through the words or the announcement of a marji` of taqlīd, they should break their fast and if they doubt it, they have to fast that day.

      To Ascertain the Birth of the New Moon
      19. If we are sure that the new moon is born and can be sighted, can we consider it as shar‘ī moon sighting even no one sights the moon?
      A: If you are sure that the new moon is born and can be sighted — i.e. certainty regarding moon existence and possibility to see it, it means knowledge regarding start of new moon and as a result its shar‘ī effects are applied, even one has not seen the new moon.

      Not Knowing the Possibility of Sighting the New Moon
      21. If we are sure that the new moon is born, but we do not know whether or not it can be sighted, is it sufficient?

      A: No, it is not sufficient.

      Watching out for the New Moon
      22. Is watching out for the new moon a kifā’ī obligation or something to be done as an obligatory caution?  

        A: It is not a shar‘ī duty in itself.

      Time of Moon Sighting
      23. As you know, one of the following three things occurs at the beginning or end of the each month: The crescent sets before the sunset; or the crescent sets along with sunset; or the crescent sets after the sunset. Please let us know which one of the three above-mentioned things is considered as a valid sighting of the new moon.

      A: In all three cases moon sighting is considered valid starting from the night after its occurrence.

      24. In some countries (like Sweden), it is not possible to see the moon from sunset up to two three days after its sighting in Iran because moon sets before sunset. To establish the month of Shawwāl, does it suffice to see the crescent before sunset?

      A: It suffices to consider the night after sunset as the start of new month if one is sure that the crescent can be seen before sunset.

      Sameness of Horizon and Its Criterion
      25. Is the sameness of horizon considered to be a condition in regards to observing the crescent?

        A: Yes, It is.

      26. What is the sameness of horizon and which places are of the same horizon?

      A: It means two cities/places are the same regarding how possible it is to sight the new moon in them.

      To Establish the New Crescent in Cities of the Same Horizon
      27. If the crescent of Ramadan month is sighted in a city, is it sufficient for the cities in which sun sets at the same time or two hours later?

      A: If it is ascertained that they share the same possibility in sighting the crescent, it suffices for other cities; the mere difference in the time of sunset is not the criterion.

      To Rely on the Horizon of Other Regions
      28. If the twenty-ninth day of the month is Eid ul-Fitr in Tehran and Khorasan, is it permissible for the residents of areas like Bushehr to break their fast too, though the horizon of Tehran and Khorasan differs from the horizon of Bushehr?
      A: In general, if the horizons of two cities are so different that the new moon cannot be seen in one of them when sighted in the other, its sighting is not sufficient for the residents of the cities where surely it is not possible to see the moon.

      To Sight the Crescent in a City to the East
      29. If the moon is seen in England, is it proved for the countries to the west?

        A: If sighting the moon in a country is inseparable from (possibility of) sighting it in another one, it suffices for the latter. However, it is possible that sighting it in the eastern country is not inseparable from possibility of sighting it in the country to the west due to so much difference in their latitude.
      30.If moon is sighted in the eastern countries, is the new moon established for the countries to the west?
      A: Although sighting the moon in an eastern country is usually inseparable from possibility of sighting it in the country to the west, sometimes it is not like that due to much difference in their latitude; the criterion is corollary between possibility of moon sighting in the two countries.

      Regions of the Same Latitude as to Sighting the Crescent
      31. North Canada is located at the same latitude as England, are they considered as having the same horizon?

        A: The mere being located in the same latitude is not sufficient; rather, criterion is corollary between sighting the moon in one country and the possibility of sighting it in another one.

      Two Regions of the Same Night
      32. I am certain that in another country the new moon is born and it is possible to sight it while this country shares a part of night with my country. Does it have any effect for me?

        A: The mere fact that they share a part of night is not sufficient to have the rules in common.

      Criterion for Sighting the Crescent
      33. Is the sighting of the new crescent through binoculars, telescope, retrieving the data saved in a computer or the like sufficient?

      A: The sighting of the new crescent with an instrument does not differ from usual sighting and it is valid. The standard is to say it has been seen. Therefore, sighting with the naked eye, with glasses, and through telescope are ruled the same. However, computerized photographing of the crescent moon which cannot be clearly categorized as sighting is problematic.


    • Sighting the Crescent by Two Just Witnesses
    • To Get Confident as to Sighting the Crescent
    • The Decree of a Mujtahīd as to the First Day of the Month
  • Fasting Intention
  • Fast Invalidators
  • Medical Rules of Fasting
  • Rules for women
  • Zakat ul-Fitrah
  • Eid ul-Fitr Prayer
  • The Qaḍā’ Fast
  • Hired Fasts
  • Kaffārah of Fast
700 /