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Author Topic: DETERMINTION OF THE RAMADHAN IS BOUNDED TO SIGHTING THE HILAAL (CRESCENT)  (Read 1964 times)

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Determination of the Ramadan is Bounded to Sighting the Hilal (crescent); Islamic Months are According to the Lunar Calender and Moon Sighting
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحَمْدُ للهِ وَحْدَهُ، وَالصَّلاة وَالسَّلامُ على مَنْ لا نبيَّ بَعْدَهُ، وَبَعْدُ

Muqaddimah (Preface)

Siyaam (fasting) which is one of the five pillars of Islam, has been prescribed to the Muslimin as it was prescribed to those before us.


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ أَيَّاماً مَّعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضاً أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْراً فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ وَأَن تَصُومُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint, (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. (al-Baqarah 2/183-184)

Rasulullah (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) has explained to us how to the beginning of the month of Ramadan is determined. For this reason it has become a responsibility upon the Muslimin to view and sight the movements of the moon in order to establish the months and the Hijri calendar.


أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ "‏ إِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَصُومُوا، وَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَأَفْطِرُوا، فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْدُرُوا لَهُ ‏"‏‏.‏وَقَالَ غَيْرُهُ عَنِ اللَّيْثِ حَدَّثَنِي عُقَيْلٌ وَيُونُسُ لِهِلاَلِ رَمَضَانَ‏.

Narrated Ibn Umar radiyallahu anhuma: I heard Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam saying, "When you see the crescent (of the month of Ramadan), start fasting, and when you see the crescent (of the month of Shawwal), stop fasting; and if the sky is overcast (and you can't see it) then regard the month of Ramadan as of thirty days." (Bukhari; Sawm, #5, #11; Muslim, Siyaam, #6, #9, #18)

In another narration it states:


عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ذَكَرَ رَمَضَانَ فَقَالَ ‏ "‏ لاَ تَصُومُوا حَتَّى تَرَوُا الْهِلاَلَ، وَلاَ تُفْطِرُوا حَتَّى تَرَوْهُ، فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْدُرُوا لَهُ ‏"

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar radiyallahu anhuma: Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam mentioned Ramadan and said, "Do not fast unless you see the crescent (of Ramadan), and do not give up fasting till you see the crescent (of Shawwal), but if the sky is overcast (if you cannot see it), then act on estimation (i.e., count Sha'ban as thirty days). (Bukhari; Sawm, #11)

For this reason in order to determine the month of Ramadan and others, we constantly view and sight the moon and al-Hamdulillah (All Praise is due to Allah) with His (Taala) Hidayah (guidance) and with the Irshad (guiding hand) of those who guide us, we have been saved from the confusion and have succeeded in establishing a calendar since a few years. The (Hijri) calendar which takes place at the top of the forum is a result of this effort. We request that our Lord (Azza wa Jalla) allows us to keep steadfast upon this Amal (action). Under this heading we will Inshaallah share information regarding this Islamic calendar and the activity of the Muwahhidin regarding the sighting of the moon. Before this we would like to share information regarding the Fiqh of sighting the moon along with some ignorance and misguidance we often come across regarding this matter. Success is from Allah.

In al-Umdah which is among the sources of the Hanabila Madhhab, which is the Madhhab we follow, under the Bab (chapter) regarding Siyaam (fasting) Ibn Qudamah stated:


يجب صيام رمضان على كل مسلم بالغ عاقل قادر على الصوم، ويؤمر به الصبي إذا أطاقه، ويجب بأحد ثلاثة أشياء: كمال شعبان، ورؤية هلال رمضان، ووجود غيم أو قتر ليلة الثلاثين يحول دونه، وإذا رأى الهلال وحده صام، فإن كان عدلاً صام الناس بقوله، ولا يفطر إلا بشهادة عدلين، ولا يفطر إذا رآه وحده، وإن صاموا بشهادة اثنين ثلاثين يوماً أفطروا، وإن كان بغيم أو قول واحد لم يفطروا إلا أن يروه أن يكملوا العدة، وإذا اشتبهت الأشهر على الأسير تحرى وصام، فإن وافق الشهر أو ما بعده أجزأه، وإن وافق قبله لم يجزه.

The fast of Ramadan is obligatory for every Muslim who is an adult, of sound mind, and physically capable of fasting. The minor is also commanded to keep it, if he is able to do so. The beginning of its obligatory observance is marked by one of three things: The completion of the month of Shaban, the sighting of the new moon of Ramadan, and the presence of clouds or dust in the air on the night of the thirtieth (of Shaban), obscuring the view of the sky.

If someone sees the new moon when he is by himself, he should begin the fast, and, if he is known to be an honest person, the other people should fast on the strength of his word.

When it comes to breaking the fast at the end of Ramadan, the evidence of two honest witnesses is required, and a person may not break it if he is the only one to have sighted the new moon (of Shawwal). (Ibn Qudamah, al-Umdah)

Regarding this, in al-Mughni; Ibn Qudamah stated: This is because it is possible that the one who sighted the crescent moon was mistaken. Hence during the reign of Umar (radiallahu anh), he had commanded a man who had claimed to have seen the crescent moon to wipe his eyes and after he had wiped his eyes, the man was not able to see the crescent moon. However if two just witnesses sight the crescent moon even if it (their sighting) is not accepted by the Qadi (judge), the people can do break their fast (do Eid) with their statement. (al-Mughni, 2/467)

By this while the evidence shows that commencing the month of Ramadan with the news of one witness suffices, at the end of Ramadan one witness does not suffice and he himself can not even act upon his own witnessing. However if an individual has even one more witness alongside himself it is sufficient and both them and others can commence Eid.

Regarding this, in al-Mughni Ibn Qudamah stated: The witnessing of women will not be accepted, however if a single man sights the crescent moon, the witnessing of two females will be accepted as witnessing (alongside his sighting). (al-Mughni, 2/466)
 
While the witnessing of a reliable Muslim is sufficient to begin Siyaam in Ramadan, at the end of Ramadan and at the beginning of other months (Shawwal, Dhul Hijjah etc.) the new month will commence with the statement of two witnesses. Abu Dawud narrates the following:


أَمِيرَ مَكَّةَ خَطَبَ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: عَهِدَ إِلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ نَنْسُكَ لِلرُّؤْيَةِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ نَرَهُ، وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدَا عَدْلٍ نَسَكْنَا بِشَهَادَتِهِمَا، فَسَأَلْتُ الْحُسَيْنَ بْنَ الْحَارِثِ مَنْ أَمِيرُ مَكَّةَ، قَالَ: لَا أَدْرِي، ثُمَّ لَقِيَنِي بَعْدُ، فَقَالَ: هُوَ الْحَارِثُ بْنُ حَاطِبٍ أَخُو مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ حَاطِبٍ، ثُمَّ قَالَ الْأَمِيرُ: إِنَّ فِيكُمْ مَنْ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ مِنِّي، وَشَهِدَ هَذَا مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَأَوْمَأَ بِيَدِهِ إِلَى رَجُلٍ، قَالَ الْحُسَيْنُ: فَقُلْتُ لِشَيْخٍ إِلَى جَنْبِي مَنْ هَذَا الَّذِي أَوْمَأَ إِلَيْهِ الْأَمِيرُ؟ قَالَ: هَذَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ، وَصَدَقَ كَانَ أَعْلَمَ بِاللَّهِ مِنْهُ، فَقَالَ: بِذَلِكَ أَمَرَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar (radiyallahu anhuma): Husayn ibn al-Harith al-Jadli from the tribe of Jadilah Qays said: The governor of Makkah delivered a speech and said: Rasulullah (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) took a pledge from us that we should perform Nusuk (rites of Hajj) after sighting the moon. If we do not sight it and two reliable persons bear witness, we should perform the Nusuk (rites of Hajj) on the basis of their witness. I then asked al-Husayn ibn al-Harith: Who was the governor of Makkah? He replied: I do not know. He then met me later on and told me: He was al-Harith ibn Hatib, brother of Muhammad ibn Hatib. The governor then said: There is among you a man who is more acquainted with Allah and His Apostle than I. He witnessed this from Rasulullah (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam). He then pointed with his hand to a man. al-Husayn said: I asked an old man beside me: Who is that man to whom the governor has alluded?  He said: "This is Abdullah ibn Umar, and he spoke the truth. He was more acquainted with Allah than he. He (Abdullah ibn Umar) said: For this is what Rasulullah (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) commanded us (to do). (Abu Dawud, #2338. This Hadith has been narrated by Daraqutni as well and has stated the Isnad to be Sahih and Muttasil. Nasbur Raya, 2/445)

Regarding this Nawawi has stated:


لَا يَثْبُتُ هِلَالُ شَوَّالٍ وَلَا سَائِرِ الشُّهُورِ غَيْرَ هِلَالِ رَمَضَانَ إلَّا بِشَهَادَةِ رَجُلَيْنِ حُرَّيْنِ عَدْلَيْنِ لِحَدِيثِ الْحَارِثِ بْنِ حَاطِبٍ السَّابِقِ قَرِيبًا وَقِيَاسًا عَلَى بَاقِي الشَّهَادَاتِ الَّتِي لَيْسَتْ مَالًا وَلَا الْمَقْصُودُ مِنْهَا الْمَالُ وَيَطَّلِعُ عَلَيْهَا الرِّجَالُ غَالِبًا مَعَ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ فِيهِ احْتِيَاطٌ لِلْعِبَادَةِ بِخِلَافِ هِلَالِ 
رَمَضَانَ هَذَا مَذْهَبُنَا وَبِهِ قَالَ الْعُلَمَاءُ كَافَّةً إلَّا أَبَا ثَوْرٍ


Except for Ramadan, the witnessing of the crescent moon for the month of Shawwal and others is not stable unless with the witnessing of two free and just men. This Hukm (ruling) has been given according to the mentioned Hadith of al-Harith ibn Hatib and with the Qiyaas of the witnessing other than that regarding wealth. Hence here the matter is not regarding the witnessing of wealth and mostly men will have the knowledge of this and contrary to the crescent moon of Ramadan cautiousness is not the case. This is our Madhhab and all Ulama except for Abu Thawr has accepted this.
 
After this Nawawi relates the opposing views and states them to be Shazz and weak. (al-Majmu Sharhul Muhadhdhab, 6/281)

With this it is stable amongst most the Ulama that the month of Ramadan will commence with the sighting of a single reliable witness, and other months will begin with the witnessing of two reliable men. Attention must be paid to the fact that these witnesses must be just, reliable. Hence in the above mentioned Hadith Rasulullah (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) stated: that we should perform Nusuk (rites of Hajj) after sighting the moon. If we do not sight it and two reliable persons bear witness, we should perform the Nusuk (rites of Hajj) on the basis of their witness points to this. The first condition of Justness is Islam and therefore with the witnessing of an individual who is not a Muslim, Siyaam and other Muamalat of Islam will not be performed. When the Ulama make the condition that the witness must be Just they make Isnad to this following Ayah in Surah al-Hujuraat:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا

O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth!.. (al-Hujuraat 49/6)

Although everyone reads this Ayah many do not act upon its rights and even arrange their Ibadaah according to the news related by the Kuffar. In another Hadith related by Imam Ahmad it has been mentioned clearly that the witnesses must be Muslim.


صُومُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ، وَأَفْطِرُوا لِرُؤْيَتِهِ، وَأَنْسِكُوا لَهَا، فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَتِمُّوا ثَلَاثِينَ، وَإِنْ شَهِدَ شَاهِدَانِ مُسْلِمَانِ، فَصُومُوا وَأَفْطِرُوا

Fast with sighting the crescent moon, and break your fast (do Eid) with the sighting of the crescent moon. Perform your Nusuk according to it, and if it is cloudy complete to thirty days. If two Muslim witness Fast and break Fast (do Eid) according to it. (Musnad-i Ahmad, #18895)

Hence Rasulullah sallalahu alayhi wa sallam has questioned whether or not those who witnessed the crescent moon for Ramadan were Muslim:


وَعَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ: " جَاءَ أَعْرَابِيٌّ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ: إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ الْهِلَالَ يَعْنِي هِلَالَ رَمَضَانَ فَقَالَ: أَتَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ قَالَ: أَتَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ. قَالَ: يَا بِلَالُ أَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ أَن يَصُومُوا غَدا

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiyallahu anhuma ajmain): A Bedouin came to the Nabi (Prophet) sallalahu alayhi wa sallam and said: I have sighted the moon. al-Hasan added in his version: that is, of Ramadan. He asked: Do you testify that there is no god but Allah? He replied: Yes. He again asked: Do you testify that Muhammad is Rasulullah (the Messenger of Allah)? He replied: Yes. and he testified that he had sighted the moon. He said: Bilal, announce to the people that they must fast tomorrow. (Abu Dawud, Sawm #14)

From this and other similar Ahadith the Ulama have made Istidlal (draw evidence) regarding the fact that the individuals who will be a witness regarding Siyaam or other matters  must be Muslim. Molla Aliyy'ul Qari stated the following regarding the mentioned Hadith:


قَالَ ابْنُ الْمَلَكِ: دَلَّ عَلَى أَنَّ الْإِسْلَامَ شَرْطٌ فِي الشَّهَادَةِ

Ibn Malak (from the Hanafi Madhhab) said: This Hadith is evidence that, it is a condition one is Muslim to accept his witnessing.

Aliyy'ul Qari narrated this in his Mirkat'ul Mafatih in his explanation of the Hadith numbered 1978. By this it is established that the individual who brings the news of sighting the crescent moon for the month of Ramadan must be Muslim. Furthermore even if he is a Muslim and he is not a just individual who refrains from greater sins and does not persist in minor sins and truthful then his witnessing will not be taken in account.

Ibn Qudamah in al-Mughni stated the following while mentioning the Niyyah (intention) which is one of the Faraid (obligations) of Siyaam (fasting):

The meaning of Niyyah is to intend something to lean towards and for the heart to believe in something without any hesitation. In this sense the Niyyah must carry certainty. For this reason, for example a fast which his held with a Niyyah such as, if tomorrow is Ramadan I am fasting; on the thirtieth of Shaban this Siyaam will not be Sahih (valid). The reason is because the beginning of Ramadan is either by the sighting of the crescent moon, or by completing the month of Shaban to thirty or according to the Hanabila by the sky being cloudy on the last night of Shaban. Niyyah for Siyaam is not valid unless with one of these evidences from Shari'ah. Likewise, the Siyaam of the individual who began with the calculation of astrologers or those who deal with the science of astrology, even if their calculations hit the mark most the time. (al-Mughni, 2/412-413)

As seen, in order for an individual to begin his fast he must base his Siyaam on evidence from Shari'ah such as the sighting of the crescent moon by two reliable Muslim men or the completion of the month of Shaban. In addition to this the Hanabila had added that if the sky was cloudy on the last evening of Shaban, then Siyaam must begin the next day. Other than these, it is not permissible for an individual to begin his Siyaam without any evidence from Shari'ah, without reliance on a statement from a Mujtahid, by relying on his own personal views or imitation of someone which imitation is not permissible such as an ignorant, Kafir or Fajir, by following astronomic calculations and in such case such Siyaam is not valid. There is no place for Dhan and estimate when it comes to commencing and breaking Siyaam.  It would not be valid for an individual to begin his Siyaam by seeing some Kafir countries or Jamaa'ah commencing their Siyaam and thinking it most likely is Ramadan tomorrow and making the Niyyah by stating I am fasting the Siyaam of Ramadan if it is Ramadan, if not then my intention is for Nawafil Siyaam.

As seen in the Book, the evidences from the Sunnah and the evidences which the Ulama have drawn Ahkam from, all this shows us that for the establishment of the month of Ramadan and others the only measure is not news of the sighted crescent moon in the sky. For this reason scholars have not esteemed the Kafir, the Fasiq etc., and have debated regarding the witnessing of the woman. All of this show that the illness of acting without Fiqh which is prevalent today has leaped to the field of Ibadaah and that the Ibadaah of many even if they may be Muslim will not be accepted due to acting upon ignorance. The reason is because when many commence their Ibadaah such as Siyaam and others at random as mentioned above without reliance on any evidence from Shari'ah such Ibadaah will not be valid. In reality such individuals do not differ from the Awam (layperson) who perform Siyaam and Salah due to accustomed culture. Many who claim to be Ahli Tawhid (People of Monotheism) adhere to the Taghout and Balam of Saudi while trying to oppose other Taghout. Most of them just follow the masses. Whereas none of them is a measure of appointing the time of Ibadaah. The measure is the sighting of the crescent moon as stated in the Hadith and this can only be established by the witnessing of just men who adhere to the creed of Tawhid, if that is not possible then the month will be completed to thirty. The Kuffar governments or Jamaa'ah making Ittifaaq (agreement) regarding the sighting of the crescent moon has no value, and the Muslim will not rely on any of them.

Today the matter of the crescent moon has become a matter which takes shape according to astrological calculations, where as the Muslim is obligated toshape his Ibadaah according to the Islamic Jurisprudence.

Now we would like to end this piece of writing by touching ground on a few other issues other than what had been mentioned. Another matter which is debated among the scholars is the matter of Ikhtilaafu Matali, which is the matter of the difference of the birth of the crescent moon. Ibn Qudamah in his al-Mughni stated that with the sighting of the crescent moon anywhere on the earth it will obligate the Muslimin everywhere:

When the people of an area sight the crescent moon of Ramadan, the people in other areas must fast the same day as well. The view and Ijtihad of Imam Layth and some among the Shafii are in this regards. Meaning according to the preferred statement Ikhtilafi Matali will not be regarded. (al-Mughni, 2/406 in summary)   

After reliable witnesses have sighted the crescent moon attention will not be paid to the Waswasa (whisper) of the Shaytan (Satan) and they will not turn from acting upon the sighted crescent. According to the narration of Muslim Abul Bakhtari stated:


عَنْ أَبِي الْبَخْتَرِيِّ، قَالَ: خَرَجْنَا لِلْعُمْرَةِ، فَلَمَّا نَزَلْنَا بِبَطْنِ نَخْلَةَ قَالَ: تَرَاءَيْنَا الْهِلَالَ، فَقَالَ بَعْضُ الْقَوْمِ: هُوَ ابْنُ ثَلَاثٍ، وَقَالَ بَعْضُ الْقَوْمِ: هُوَ ابْنُ لَيْلَتَيْنِ، قَالَ: فَلَقِينَا ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، فَقُلْنَا: إِنَّا رَأَيْنَا الْهِلَالَ، فَقَالَ بَعْضُ الْقَوْمِ: هُوَ ابْنُ ثَلَاثٍ، وَقَالَ بَعْضُ الْقَوْمِ: هُوَ ابْنُ لَيْلَتَيْنِ، فَقَالَ: أَيَّ لَيْلَةٍ رَأَيْتُمُوهُ؟ قَالَ فَقُلْنَا: لَيْلَةَ كَذَا وَكَذَا، فَقَالَ: إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: إِنَّ اللهَ مَدَّهُ لِلرُّؤْيَةِ، فَهُوَ لِلَيْلَةٍ رَأَيْتُمُوهُ

Abu'l Bakhtari reported: We went out to perform Umra and when we encamped in the valley of Nakhla, we tried to see the new moon. Some of the people said: It was three nights old, and others (said) that it was two nights old. We then met Ibn Abbas (radiyallahu anhuma ajmain) and told him we had seen the new moon, but that some of the people said it was three nights old and others that it was two nights old. He asked on which night we had seen it; and when we told him we had seen it on such and such night, he said Rasulullah sallalahu alayhi wa sallam had said: Verily Allah deferred it till the time it is seen, so it is to be reckoned from the night you saw it. (Muslim, #1088)

As Qadi Iyad has stated, what is meant by the last sentence is that Allah had extended it so that its time is seen. Therefore when the crescent moon is first seen it is the moon for that day and attention will not be paid to the fact that it looks like a two day old or a three day old crescent.
   
In conclusion: in the direction of the mentioned principles of Fiqh (jurisprudence) we strive to adopt the Hijri calendar in all areas of our lives. By sighting the condition of the crescent moon we have made a calendar and arrange our Ibadaah (worship) according to it. We have done this by basing this calendar on the sighting and witnessing of individuals around the globe, whose Islam we have witnessed and are reliable. Sometimes we have sighted the crescent moon sometimes we have completed to month to thirty. Obviously we are not free from defect however we are obligated to act upon with that we have power to do and that which we know. We request help from Allah regarding this.

Wa'l Hamdulillahi Rabbil Alamin (all the praises and thanks be to Allah; the Lord of the mankind, jinns and all that exists).
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Izhr'ud Dn

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Bismillh,

Just a reminder!
Shaykh'ul Islm Ibnu Taymiyyah (Rahimahullh) stated,

والعالم يعرف الجاهل؛ لأنه كان جاهلا، والجاهل لا يعرف العالم لأنه لم يكن عالما

"The lim (scholar) recognizes the Jhil (ignorant) since he was once a Jhil. The Jhil does not recognize the lim since he has never been an lim." (Shaykh'ul Islm Ibnu Taymiyyah, Majm'ul Fatw, 13/235)

 

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