Q/A: Jum'ah and Eid

Is jum’a prayer held in an institution which does not allow outside visitors to attend still valid? If we cannot sight the moon from this location, and someone sights the moon in saudi Arabia or Pakistan and informs someone here by telephone, do we begin fasting according to their sighting?

David L. Dembo, Otisville


Maulana Shah Muhammed Rukn ud Deen, in his book says the following:

The Jum’a is not valid in prison, since there is no “free access” (izn-e-aam), which is a condition of Jum’ah prayer. They can however pray Zuhr prayer in jama’at. Zuhr prayer is not valid for places where there is “free access”. (Rukun-ud-Deen page 199).

If someone sights the hilal (new crescent moon) in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Morocco, Muslims living west of these locations should be able to sight the hilal. If no one sees it other than the claimants, they obviously saw something other than the hilal. We cannot follow their sighting, more especially if it is happening on a consistent basis every year. A hilal seen in Saudi Arabia is eight hours or so older at Maghrib time in the Americas and should therefore be bigger, higher and much easier to see. This is a test from Allah, we should follow the authentic sighting by any Muslim living east of us and to a reasonable distance west of us. The Connecticut Council of Masajid has decided to wait until Isha time and no further. If there is any reliable sighting to the West of us by that time CCM accepts it. We do not accept arbitrary national boundaries in this matter as any more than what they are, arbitrary! Hilal seen in California or Hawaii is thus too late to be followed. We should not follow any group that has shown that its announcements are consistently based on un-sight-able hilal. Unfortunately Saudi regime is one such group. We have now enough Muslims all over the world including in North America that are observing the sunnah of the Prophet  and looking for the hilal all year round. This has solved the problem to a large extent in Connecticut and in North America. Allah helps those who help themselves.

For more, see The Mystery of Moonsighting.