This is especially in reference to moon sighting where a witness report can possibly be in conflict with sound scientific principles. Below is the visibility map of the moon on July 19, 2012 (for determining the first day of Ramadan). As you can see, it is not possible to see the moon in the USA on that day. If an otherwise reliable witness from the USA comes forward and claims to have seen the moon, is he still considered an acceptable witness (even though, scientifically, his claim is considered impossible)?

Green - Easily visible with naked eye
Blue - Visible if perfect conditions
Gray - Optical aid to find moon
Red - Visible with optical aid only
Black - The moon cannot be seen by any means

enter image description here

Source - moonsighting.com

  • Your question about the importance of science in general !? or for the issue of the start of Ramadan in particular ? – Yaman ALTareh Jul 16 '12 at 4:51
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    @MYamanT it is a general question. But should be answered in reference to moonlighting. Other examples will be acceptable also that indirectly throughs some light on it. – muslim1 Jul 16 '12 at 11:01
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    If it's science in general, it's too broad IMO to be a good fit for this site. – ashes999 Jul 16 '12 at 14:57
  • @ashes999 sorry have to disagree. Once a woman claimed she was sexually abused and she had proof of semen. Hazrat ali (RA) examined it put that in hot water and saw that it is indeed egg. He used science to debunk what she said was right. Just making a point. – muslim1 Jul 16 '12 at 15:14
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    I have rescoped and clarified the question to make it more answerable. Please review the changes. – goldPseudo Jul 16 '12 at 16:07

According to Jafari Fiqh:

for seeing moon and start of month the certainty is important and it is not important from what method this certainty is obtained. it can be by telescope or other scientific methods or by witness of trusted people. each Muslims when obtained certainty about start of month should follow his own certainty.

also witness has required terms to his witness be accepted. scientists also are considered as witness and their findings about moon can be accepted.

in case of conflict between different witnesses also there are related rules in Fiqh.


Official website of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (Online answering by Chat)

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    <comments deleted> Attacking the validity of evidences posted by other users is not tolerated (see here). – goldPseudo Jul 18 '12 at 3:56
  • @goldPseudo there's a tricky line there; questioning the validity of an answer/evidence surely must be permitted. I guess it comes down to "attacking". – Marc Gravell Jul 19 '12 at 7:15

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