Clarification Regarding the Announcement of Syawal 2022 for Singapore
2 May 2022
The Office of the Mufti would like to issue the following clarification regarding the announcement of Syawal 2022 for Singapore.
- The determination for the beginning and end of Ramadan follows the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. in a few narrations, among them:
لا تَصُومُوا حَتَّى تَرَوْا الْهِلالَ وَلا تُفْطِرُوا حَتَّى تَرَوْهُ فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْدُرُوا لَهُ.”
Do not fast until you have sighted the crescent moon, do not end your fast (celebrate Eid) until you have seen it (the Syawal crescent moon). If it is obscured from you, then regard the month of Ramadan as 30 days.
- Based on the guidance of the Prophet p.b.u.h., scholars use two primary criteria, hisab (calculation based on the science of astronomy) and rukyah (the sighting of the moon) to determine whether the crescent moon is visible.
- In Singapore, it is generally extremely difficult for the crescent moon to be visible because of its climatic conditions, which is often cloudy. Thus, Singapore uses the commonly agreed criteria used by the MABIMS countries (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) in determining the sighting of the crescent moon. This methodology is known as imkan ar-rukya.
- This imkan ar-rukya criteria has been reviewed and refined by MABIMS countries since 2017, and finally revised in 2021, based on more than 700 data points of crescent sightings from around the world. The new criteria considers two parameters during sunset on the 29th day of the month – the elevation of the crecent moon (which must exceed three degrees) and the degree of elongation of the sun and the moon (which must exceed 6.4 degrees).
- Based on these criteria the crescent moon was not visible in Singapore at sunset on 29 Ramadan. For confirmation, the Office of the Mufti together with experts in the science of falak attempted to conduct a physical sighting of the crescent moon, which was unsuccessful (i.e. the new moon was not visible). During the sighting it was also clear that the western horizon was overcast with clouds.
- The religious authorities of the other MABIMS countries reported that the crescent moon was visible in their sightings at only certain sites in their own territories.
- Although the results differed, all MABIMS countries adopted the method of determination which was based on the principles and guidance of the Prophet p.b.u.h, and their individual results are valid in their respective contexts, and everyone adheres to the principle that Ramadan in each country did not exceed 30 days.
- This difference in determining the beginning or end of Ramadan was also narrated by Imam Muslim among the companions of the Prophet who were in different cities, where Mu’awiyah fasted on a Friday whereas the rest fasted on a Saturday, based on the differences in sighting the crescent moon in the cities of Syam and Madinah. When queried why they did not simply standardize with Mu’awiyah to regularize the fasting period, Ibn ‘Abbas replied that such determination (in following the geographical location of a person) was what had been taught by the Prophet p.b.u.h., even though it would cause different start and end dates for Ramadan among Muslims.
- In this region, differences in the start of the Hijri calendar have occurred very frequently in the past (as recently as 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2021) and may well occur again in future. Thus, in 2022, not all countries in the world (including Muslim-majority countries) celebrate Ramadan and Aidilfitri on the same dates. Indeed, the crescent moon has also not been sighted in a few other countries, and as a consequence, they will be celebrating Aidilfitri on Tuesday 3 May, like Singapore. For as long as we hold true to the principles of our faith and the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h, s.a.w., as mentioned above, differences in the determination of the Islamic calendar is something which is neither unexpected nor alarming.
- In closing, for the Singapore Muslim community, Ramadan in 2022 will last for 30 days, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri falls on Tuesday 3 May 2022. Thus, the community should continue to fast including on Monday 2 May 2022, to complete 30 days of the month of Ramadan.
- May we continue to find peace and solace in worship in the month of Ramadan which Allah S.W.T. has continued to bless us all with.
OFFICE OF THE MUFTI
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA