Can The Testimony Of A Woman Be Accepted With Regard To Sighting The New Moon Of Ramadaan?
The Awqaf -
the testimony of a woman be accepted with regard to
sighting the new moon of Ramadaan?
Praise be to Allaah.
The fuqaha' differed with regard to accepting the
testimony of a woman with regard to sighting the new
moon of Ramadaan. There are two opinions:
1 – Her testimony may be accepted. This is the view of
the Hanafis – if it is cloudy– and the Hanbalis, and
it is one of the two views held by the Shaafa'is.
2 –That it cannot be accepted. This is the view of the
Maalikis, and the more correct view according to the
Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni (3/48):
If the one who brings the news is a woman, then
according to the madhhab her word is to be accepted.
This is the view of Abu Haneefah and is one of the two
views held by the companions of al-Shaafa'i, because
it is news that has to do with a religious matter, so
it is akin to narration of reports, or telling people
what the direction of the qiblah is, or that the time
for prayer has begun. And it may be that it is not
acceptable, because it is testimony about the sighting
of the new moon, and the word of a woman cannot be
accepted concerning that, like the new moon of
Shawwaal. End quote.
See: Tabyeen al-Haqaa'iq (1/319), al-Taaj wa'l-Ikleel
(3/278), al-Majmoo' (6/286) and Kashshaaf al-Qinaa'
The Hanafis differentiate between cloudy and clear
weather. If it is cloudy, the testimony of two men, or
a man and two women, is acceptable, but if it is clear
then it is essential to have many people to testify to
that . See: al-Bahr al-Raa'iq (2/290).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him)
said: Some scholars say that the testimony of a female
cannot be accepted, either in Ramadaan or at other
times, because the one who saw the new moon at the
time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) was a man, and because the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: "If two witnesses (shaahidayn) bear witness,
then start the fast and end the fast," and a woman is
a shaahidah not a shaahid.
The evidence of our madhhab is that this is a report
concerning a religious matter which is addressed
equally to males and females, as males and females are
equal with regard to narrating reports, and reports
are religious matters. Hence they did not stipulate
that sighting the new moon of Ramadaan should be
proven by a judge, and they did not stipulate any
particular wording for the testimony, rather they
said: If he hears a trustworthy person telling the
people in his presence that he has seen the new moon,
then he must fast on the basis of this news. End quote
from al-Sharh al-Mumti' (6/326).
As for the new moon of Shawwaal, it can only be proven
by the testimony of two men.
And Allaah knows best.