Don't disregard this beautiful Sunnah

By Asma bint Shameem

I remember when I was a kid, we would go up to the roof of our house on the 29th of Sha’baan and try to look for the new moon of Ramadhaan. It brings backs fond memories to the mind and I can’t help but smile at the happiness and excitement that I felt as a kid trying to sight the new moon, perching on tiptoes, competing with my brother to spot it before he could!
I also remember the joy, simply at the anticipation of Ramadhaan…..Will we begin the fasting tomorrow??? Or will it be the day after???
And when we did actually see it, the delight….indescribable, the giggles…uncontrollable!

Sighting the moon was such a sweet joyful experience and it was part of the whole spirit of Ramadhaan. It only added to the whole beauty and sanctity of the blessed month, and to our Ibaadah and submission to Allaah.
And now, many years later, as another Ramadhaan approaches us, I look forward to another chance to look for the moon, this time with my kids, teaching them the importance of this Sunnah, sharing with them their innocent joy and excitement….their delight at seeing the bright crescent that brings glad tidings of a blessed month full of mercy and barakah.
And why shouldn’t it be so???
After all, to search for the new moon is an ACT OF IBAADAH and a means of EARNING REWARD from Allaah.

And it is the SUNNAH of our beloved Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam)
The Sunnah is ‘seeing’ and not mere knowledge of moon’s existence above the horizon.
The month of Ramadan does not begin with the birth of the moon. It does not even begin when it becomes possible to sight the moon. The month of Ramadan, according to the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam), begins with the SIGHTING of the moon. This means a human EYE has to ‘see’ the crescent of Ramadan. And no one should dare to think that the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) did not realize that the new crescent of Ramadan could be behind the clouds.
There are many, many Ahaadeeth encouraging us to ‘look'( with our eyes) for the new moon.
The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Do not fast until you ‘see’ the new moon, and do not stop fasting until you ‘see’ it, and if it is concealed by clouds them count out (the thirty days of Sha’baan ) for it.” (Bukhaari, Muslim).

Aaishah (radiy Allahu anha) said,

“The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) used to treat Shaa’ban as he treats no other month. He would then fast for sighting (the moon) of Ramadhan. Whenever he could not sight it, he would count thirty days (for Shaa’ban) and then start the fast.” [Abu Dawood]

Sighting the new moon of Ramaadhan is a Fardh Kifaayah
It is obligatory to witness the new moon for establishing certain acts of worship. If these acts are obligatory, such as fasting Ramadhan and Hajj, then witnessing the new moon also becomes obligatory on at least a part of the Muslim Ummah (Fardh Kifaayah). That is because, “what is necessary to fulfill the requirements of an obligation is an obligation itself.”
The Sunnah Dua upon seeing the new moon
The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) even taught us the dua to read when we see the new moon. So make an effort to sight the Ramadan moon with full attention and eagerness and say this prayer on sighting the moon:

“Allaah is the greatest. O Allaah, let the crescent loom above us in safety, faith, peace, and Islaam, and in agreement with all that You love and pleases You. Our Lord and your Lord is Allaah.”
A neglected Sunnah??
It is a part of the beauty of Islam anticipating when fasting will start. When will Eid be? This builds up the excitement and love of these blessed times. And there is deepest wisdom in how Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala ordained these issues. This was the way of the Prophet(sallAllahu alayhi wasallam), the Sahaabah, and the Early generations, including the Four Imams.
Yet, it is sad to see many Muslims getting lost in the fast track world of machines and calculations and neglecting this act of Sunnah, thus losing out on the chance to earn reward from their Rabb for following the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) and his guidance.

So work hard to revive the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) and don’t belittle it. Practice it yourself, teach it to your children and others. Reviving aspects of the Sunnah that are being forgotten is one of the most important charitable deeds that a person can do during his lifetime and is a deed that will bring an immense reward

“Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.” (Tirmidhi)

He(sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) also said:

‘Pay attention to my Sunnah and the way of the Rightly-guided Khaleefahs after me, adhere to it and hold fast to it.'(Saheeh Abi Dawud)

For our complete guidance, it is a must for us to learn and follow the Sunnah. If possible, let us invite others to learn and follow the same. We must know that our Creator sent His Messenger() with Guidance and the Religion of Truth to make it prevail over all religions and that He promises great rewards for those who support the Truth.

“And he who brings the Truth and he who confirms (and supports) it — such are the men who do right. They shall have all that they wish for, with their Rabb. Such is the reward of those who do good: so that Allah will remit from them (even) the worst in their deeds and give them their reward according to the best of what they have done.” (Qur’an 39:33-35)