Can Muslims break fast at the totality of the lunar eclipse on Monday, April 8 (Ramadan 29, 1445 AH)?

The Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) says:

صُومُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ وَأَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ

“Observe fast on sighting it (the new moon) and break (fast) on sighting it (the new moon), but if the sky is cloudy for you, then complete the number (of thirty).”

Optical effects during a total eclipse including Bailey’s Beads (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baily%27s_beads) create a visible crescent moon.

This suggests breaking fast after viewing the total eclipse follows the teaching of The Prophet (ﷺ).

  • I don't see how the eclipse has any impact on the fasting. Since the time of Maghreb is known. The Hadith you have mentioned applies for the determination of the beginning of the month not for an ongoing month while other Hadith have well determined the length of a hijri month. The timing for observing moon is well defined Finally other ahadith discuss the phenomenon of eclipse, so any new approach is an innovation. To sum up there's no issue to discuss here. Note that the same applied last year and many times before.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 7 at 13:26
  • > “The Hadith you have mentioned applies for the determination of the beginning of the month not for an ongoing month” ⬅️ This Hadith defines when the sawm is broken: “أَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ”. This is the first crescent moon seen after the crescent moon that starts the sawm. Wouldn’t this first visible crescent moon that ends sawm be the one seen tomorrow during the eclipse? If there are other hadith that address this question it would be very appreciate to quote.
    – baqaayya
    Commented Apr 7 at 16:27
  • Yes indeed I misinterpreted a bit, but you need to see a crescent at the right time. And since it is known that the eclipse is happening this is rather a hindering of a view so certainly Ramadan has 30 days for those who follow a local sighting where the eclipse is ongoing on the time for observation of a crescent moon. I don't know if this happens to all location where the eclipse shall be visible, but I read that at least in some locations the moon will disappear before the sun (means before Maghreb time which is crucial here), which means a sighting of any acceptable crescent is not given.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 7 at 22:11
  • Thank you for your answers, but with respect, you haven’t answered this question with any authoritative sources, and your answers have several basic mistakes. The Hadith I quoted specifically addresses when sawm is to be broken, the Prophet (ﷺ) does not speak of the “right time” to see the crescent moon, and in contrast to your answer, tomorrow’s eclipse is unprecedented in the history of Ramadan, as the Prophet (ﷺ) Himself spoke, “there are two Signs which have never occurred before since the creation of the heavens and the earth … the Sun will be eclipsed in Ramadan” [Dar-Qutni I p. 188].
    – baqaayya
    Commented Apr 8 at 0:58
  • Also, these comments “are used to ask for clarification or to point out problems in the post.” If the post has problems or needs clarification, please point out. If you have an authoritative answer to the question, please post a separate answer that can be discussed. It appears that the Prophet (ﷺ) answers this question in “أَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ”, but there could be other Hadith that address this question.
    – baqaayya
    Commented Apr 8 at 1:02

1 Answer 1


Textual sources for the determination of the beginning of a lunar month

First of all the hadith you have quoted (in Arabic) about the determination of the beginning of Ramadan is incomplete and the complete version already answers the question asked:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) or Abul-Qasim said, "Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and give up fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete thirty days of Sha'ban."
(Sahih al-Bukhari, similar versions are available in all known hadith collections see for example the search results here)

This hadith is the rule of thumb for determining the beginning and end of a lunar month. It says if on the day of observation (at the end of 29th of a month) anything: a natural phenomenon, clouds etc. hinders a clear sight one must complete the month to 30 days.
Since the day according to the view of Islam starts at sunset, this means the end or beginning of a month must be clear at sunset, so you can only observe a new crescent moon minutes before the Maghrib (Sunset) prayer, since the sun must go down first to be able to see the moon. If it was seen later, this crescent strictly speaking belongs to the next day. So there is a right time to observe a crescent moon which is defined by the definition of day and night.
Note for Ramadan seeing the moon means one should perform Tarweeh prayers so it doesn't make sense if you saw the crescent after praying 'Isha and further in early days of Islam no means for communication existed so each city or town could only send out people to inform its surroundings which are near enough to inform before it was too late and vice-versa (Because it is easier to observe a new moon in a place outside of the city etc. as there are significantly fewer obstacles to a sighting and therefore the view is not as clouded as in cities where there are lights, fires, smoke etc.)

Further, the minimum amount of days of a lunar month is well defined in the sunnah by ahadith such:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "The month (can be) 29 nights (i.e. days), and do not fast till you see the moon, and if the sky is overcast, then complete Sha'ban as thirty days."
(Sahih al-Bukhari, similar versions are available in other hadith collections see search results here)

This hadith clarifies that there's no restriction on the length of a month on Ramadan only, especially since some of the variations linked are more general. So a lunar month is at minimum 29 days long (including their nights) and 30 at maximum.

As for the hadith you've mentioned from Sunan a-Daraqotni it is known to be weak and a potential fabrication, which even the author was aware of, as he identified two weak narrators or fabricators in the narrator chain in his Sunan and other books. (See: Is the Hadith describing lunar and solar eclipses as signs of Mahdi's arrival authentic?). So this hadith can't be taken seriously for this discussion.

To summarize:

  • A lunar month has either 29 days or 30 days.
  • In case a crescent was not visible at the evening of the 29th day one must consider the month having 30 days.
  • The open questions are:
    Does an eclipse count as an overcast that hinders seeing the crescent or as a crescent by itself?
    Can a crescent be seen at all while this phenomenon is occurring?

On eclipses

  • A lunar eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when the Moon moves into the Earth's shadow, causing the Moon to be darkened. Such an alignment occurs during an eclipse season, approximately every six months, during the full moon phase, when the Moon's orbital plane is closest to the plane of the Earth's orbit. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned (in syzygy) with Earth between the other two, which can happen only on the night of a full moon when the Moon is near either lunar node. The type and length of a lunar eclipse depend on the Moon's proximity to the lunar node. (Wikipedia)

  • A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby obscuring the view of the Sun from a small part of Earth, totally or partially. Such an alignment occurs approximately every six months, during the eclipse season in its new moon phase, when the Moon's orbital plane is closest to the plane of Earth's orbit. In a total eclipse, the disk of the Sun is fully obscured by the Moon. In partial and annular eclipses, only part of the Sun is obscured. Unlike a lunar eclipse, which may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth, a solar eclipse can only be viewed from a relatively small area of the world. As such, although total solar eclipses occur somewhere on Earth every 18 months on average, they recur at any given place only once every 360 to 410 years. (Wikipedia)

On April 8th a solar eclipse is expected this day is the 29th of Ramadan for all countries, following Saudi-Arabia ("sighting") and Turkish ("calculation") and in the two Americas and Pacific Islands.
Note that the same case was present for some locations in 2022 and 2023 where a (total) solar eclipse occurred on 30th of April and 20th of April respectively which both coincided with the 29th of Ramadan in Chile and east Timor especially (Locations of the total eclipse).

First of all from the definition above it is clear that in some location the moon will fully hide the sun. What would this mean for those who potentially will observe this phenomenon at the time of the determination for a crescent moon on the 29th of Ramadan (assuming it being possible at all)? It means that they cannot see the crescent so they shall follow the order of the hadith and complete the fast of the month of 30 days.

This goes along with the explanation made in this article explaining how the astronomical calculation of the possibility for a moon sighting is done and what conditions must be taken into account (Source: Islamic journal Da'awt al-Haqq #388 from 1422 a.H.), which even makes clear that a sighting of the crescent isn't possible at all:

وإذا شوهد كسوف للشمس، كليا كان أو جزئيا، فلا سبيل إلى رؤية الهلال عشية ذلك اليوم، لأن القمر في تلك الحالة أقرب ما يكون للشمس إلى درجة أنه يغطيها، ولا يمكن للهلال أن ينفصل ذلك اليوم عن الشمس ولو جرى بأقصى سرعته، فالشمس والقمر يغربان في أوقات متفاوتة جدا تمنع الرؤية. فيوم الكسوف ويوم الثلاثين يومان مختلفان بالضرورة، فالرؤية ممتنعة يوم كسوف، ولازمة بعد الغروب يوم الثلاثين.
If a solar eclipse is observed, whether total or partial, there is no way to see the crescent on the eve of that day. This is because the moon is so close to the sun that it covers it, and the crescent cannot be separated from the sun that day even if it runs at its fastest speed, as the sun and the moon will set. At very varying times it prevents sighting. The day of the eclipse and the day of the thirtieth are necessarily different days. Sighting is impossible on the day of an eclipse, and is necessary after sunset on the thirtieth.

In other words, in the case of a solar eclipse, it doesn't seem correct to count the possible part of the moon seen (and I doubt it being possible, but Allah knows best) as a crescent. Further, a sighting is not possible due to the eclipse, which make an eclipse one overcast which may cause us to add an a day and complete the month to 30 days.

There's another rule of thumb for the vision or sighting (Source: same article as above):

وإذا ما شوهد الهلال في بلاد شرقية، فلابد أن يشاهد في نفس اليوم في كل المدن الغربية التي تتحد معها في العرض الجغرافي؛ ذلك أن مشاهدة الهلال تدل على أنه خرج من شعاع الشمس وابتعد منها بما يكفي رؤيته، وبما أن غروب الشمس في البلاد الغربية يتأخر عن غروبها في البلاد الشرقية، فإن الهلال في المواقع الغربية يزداد نورا ولمعانا وبعدا عن الشمس بالنسبة لما هو الشأن عند غروبه في البلاد الشرقية.
If the crescent moon is seen in an eastern country (from the actual location), it must be seen on the same day in all the western cities that unite with it in geographical latitude.
ذلك أن مشاهدة الهلال تدل على أنه خرج من شعاع الشمس وابتعد منها بما يكفي رؤيته، وبما أن غروب الشمس في البلاد الغربية يتأخر عن غروبها في البلاد الشرقية، فإن الهلال في المواقع الغربية يزداد نورا ولمعانا وبعدا عن الشمس بالنسبة لما هو الشأن عند غروبه في البلاد الشرقية.
This is because seeing the crescent moon indicates that it has emerged from the rays of the sun and is far enough away from it that it can be seen, and since sunset in western (located) countries is later than its setting in the eastern countries, the crescent in the western locations increases in light, brightness, and distance from the sun in relation to what is the case when it sets in the eastern countries.

This explains: That most of the countries which started fasting on 11th of March in Africa, Middle East and Asia are following a global sighting not a local or they are blindly following others.

Secondly this is why you may read in arabic.cnn:

من جهته قال نائب رئيس جمعية الطقس والمناخ السعودية، عبدالله المسند في تدوينة على صفحته بمنصة أكس (تويتر سابقا): "ظروف هلال شوال 1445 وكسوف الشمس.. يحدث كسوف للشمس يوم الاثنين 29 رمضان 1445، الموافق 8 أبريل، يشاهد فقط في أمريكا الشمالية والوسطى وأجزاء من المحيطين الأطلسي والهادئ.. وسيغرب القمر يومها قبل الشمس في العالمين العربي والإسلامي، وعليه لن يكون هناك هلال يرى يوم 29 رمضان، حيث لم يجتمع القمر بالشمس، ولم يولد الهلال بعد.. وهذه المرة سيكون الاقتران مشاهداً بل ومصوراً في أقصى غربي أوروبا، وفي أمريكا الشمالية والوسطى عبر حدث الكسوف الشمسي، وسيحصل الاقتران عند الساعة 09:23 من مساء يوم الاثنين وفقاً لتوقيت السعودية".
For his part, Vice President of the Saudi Weather and Climate Society, Abdullah Al-Misnad, said in a blog post on his page on the X platform (formerly Twitter): “The conditions of the crescent of Shawwal 1445 and the solar eclipse... a solar eclipse will occur on Monday, Ramadan 29, 1445, corresponding to April 8, and will only be seen in North America.” And the central and parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.. and the moon will set that day before the sun in the Arab and Islamic worlds, and therefore there will be no crescent seen on the 29th of Ramadan, as the moon has not met the sun, and the crescent has not yet been born.. and this time the conjunction will be seen and even photographed in the far west. Europe, and in North and Central America through a solar eclipse event, and the conjunction will occur at 09:23 pm on Monday according to Saudi time.”

So this confirms the case, if the moon disappears before the sun a sighting of a crescent is impossible. Thus Ramadan counts 30 days for those who have started fasting on the 11th of March. Further, how can a crescent be seen if the new moon was not yet even born?

Nevertheless, according to Moonsighting.com some community in India declared Eid for Tuesday 9th of April as you may read here:

April 8, 2024 (Monday):
Reported: MCW member Irshad Sait N.M. of HiJRI COMMITTEE of INDIA reported: Hijri Committee of ladia is celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr 1445 on Tuesday (April 9, 2024) considering the Total Solar Eclipse occuring. on Monday (April 8, 2024) which is the last day of the month, being the Day of conjunction.

This honestly speaking doesn't make any sense since in India the eclipse cannot even been observed, so the rule of thumb we have learnt in our first hadith applies here which says no crescent can be seen and therefore one must complete the month.

To answer my above question one should ask the HiJRI COMMITTEE of INDIA, since they seemingly act against the sunnah of the prophet () and the scientific approach explained above.
Note Other communities in India actually have only fasted 28 days and therefore will observe the moon on the 9th of April this could lead to a weird gap of two days between those who 1st started fasting and those who last started Eid which clearly shows the issue of a global view vs. Local sighting in addition to ignorance of basic rules of thumb.

A sighting of Baily's beads

In the past, especially in the early days of Islam, many people were capable and knowledgeable enough to observe the sky and get information about prayer times, the crescent moon, etc. as it was basic and necessary knowledge for them to survive and find the way and not get lost in strange places. This no longer applies today, as most of us do not need this knowledge or rely on the technology or instructions of others who know. Therefore only specialists have the necessary basic knowledge and these people should know whether a sickle is the Crescent of a new moon or a kind of silhouette is about Baily's beads. Since eclipses and their dates and exact times can be calculated using modern scientific methods (and Muslim scholars of the Golden Age have already provided fairly accurate calculations for such phenomena). Allah taught us in several verses, which have been interpreted by exegetes - in their general meaning - that when there is uncertainty about a subject, one should rely on the knowledge and statements of specialists in that subject:

  • ... so ask the people of the message if you do not know. (16:43 and 21:7).

  • ... ... so ask about Him one well informed.(25:59)

Here we may have a problem, because in the early days the person bringing the information about the sighting of the crescent moon could be any layman, as long as he was trustworthy and Muslim. Ultra-Orthodox Muslims in particular will find it difficult to deviate from this view, since there are textual references for such an approach. The result of this is that we observe many unbelievable sightings that we experienced in Saudi Arabia, where the sighting of Saturn or another Planet (extremely rare) was incorrectly reported as a new moon sighting. The alleged sightings there reach an extremely high level of inaccuracy (96 % according to independent astronomers. See also Voluntary fasts just after Ramadan)

Two opposite fiqh views on the sighting

In the above consideration, I've only considered a local sighting. However, the Muslim Ummah is divided into two views:

  • A view considering a local sighting: Assuming the crescent is seen in one country it counts only for this country.
  • A view considering a global sighting: Assuming the crescent can be seen anywhere on the globe the sighting is binding for all Muslims.

I think I have explained both as well as I can in prior answers. For further information please refer to posts like:

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