In the Name of Allah…
In another clear violation of basic Muslim practices agreed upon by the Muslim scholars throughout history, controversial American preacher Yusuf Estes’ website “Islam NewsRoom” announced yesterday that the fast of Ramadhan will begin on July 9, conveying Ramadhan greetings from their “GuideUS TV” team, featuring the following individuals (as if they have all agreed to this):
- Yusuf Estes
- Mutahhir Sabree
- Imam Karim Abu Zaid
- Imam Mohamed S. Adly
- Imam Siraj Wahaj
- Sheikh Salem Al Amry
- Dr. Zakir Naik
- Dr. Mohamed Salah
- Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem
- Sheikh Saeed Rageah
- Sheikh Abdur-Raheem McCarthy
- Sheikh Abduraheem Green
- Dr. Bilal Philips
- Dr. Yasir Qadhi
- Dr. Jaafar Idris
- and others
Source: This screenshot of the IslamNewsRoom website taken today.
While the Muslims who take their Religion from Allah and His Messenger (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) will be looking for the crescent of Ramadhan at the end of Sha’ban, or possibly beginning their fasts after completing 30 days of Sha’ban, whoever wishes to follow the misguidance continually published on Yusuf Estes’ websites will be doing their own thing, in stark contrast to the message of Islam found in the Quran and Sunnah:
( فمن شهد منكم الشهر فليصمه )
“So whoever of you sights the month (i.e. the crescent of Ramadhan), let him fast it.” [2:185]
لا تصوموا حتى تروا الهلال، ولا تفطروا حتى تروه
“Do NOT fast until you sight the moon, and do NOT break your fast until you see it.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Fasting is an act of worship that has been prescribed by Allah, and Muslims must not ever consider changing it from the way it was legislated. The Deen of Allah is complete, and we do not need the adjustments of Yusuf Estes – not in basic beliefs, and not in acts of worship either.
The Permanent Committee of Scholars in Saudi Arabia, headed by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, issued many official fatwas that it is not permissible at all to rely on the estimations found in calendars, citing reports of scholarly consensus on the issue (dating back to the time of Ibn Taymiyyah), concluding that anyone who contradicts consensus in this issue is not allowed to have their opinion considered. (See: their Fatwa Collection: 10/104-107, and Ibn Baaz’s Fatwa Collection: 15/109-145)
NOTE: Do not allow the legitimate scholarly differing over the issue of “local” vs. “global” moonsighting to be grounds for anyone to introduce any concept they choose – like removing the entire concept of moonsighting altogether!
Scholarly Consensus Violated Once Again
Once again, we must remind Yusuf Estes and those who follow him and his websites about the disastrous results of opposing ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus) in basic acts of belief and worship in Islam.
“And whoever contradicts the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him, following a way other than the path of the believers, we shall turn him to what he has turned himself towards and put him in the Hellfire, what an evil abode!” (Meaning of 4:115)
The scholars say: Contradicting the Messenger (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) is when a person opposes something established in the texts of the Book and the Sunnah, and “the Path of the believers” referred to is the consensus of the Muslims. Thus, when a person opposes the united position of the Muslim scholars on an issue, he subjects himself to the punishment mentioned in the verse.
Review: pp.36-37 of this informative PDF.
A visitor at the “Islam NewsRoom” website asks an innocent question:
“Don’t we have moonsighting?” Mohammad, clearly you are confusing the websites of Yusuf Estes with Islamic websites based on knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. In actuality, this is exactly the kind of misguidance expected when unqualified and uneducated preachers like Yusuf Estes are taken as sources of Islamic knowledge.
Requests have been sent to three of Yusuf Estes’ teachers today, asking them to speak the truth, intervene, and try to stop him from corrupting the Muslims’ most important acts of worship. May Allah give them hearts that fear Him alone and tongues that speak the truth.
UPDATE – 1434/08/26 (07-05-2013)
Since the publication of this article and other public reminders on this crucial topic, Yusuf Estes’ “Islam Newsroom” article has been updated to include the disclaimer: “Estimated moonsighting,” and a reference to other articles on the actual start of Ramadhan. (screenshot)
Praise be to Allah that one form of impending misguidance has been removed today!
At the moment of this update, the articles being published and linked to have no academic value on the topic, but rather they contain general admonitions to be united and not to cause division. Yusuf Estes (and/or his team of editors) seems to think that correcting his open errors is a cause of unwarranted division amongst the Muslims
Three or so articles have been re-updated, published, and referenced, none of them having any academic benefit on the topic of how to begin Ramadhan, all of this under the guise of getting “real answers from real scholars”! (screenshot) No scholar (real or otherwise) is mentioned, just more hopeless pages of Yusuf Estes’ writings.
Instead of simply encouraging the Muslims to observe the moonsighting as is clearly commanded in the Quran and Sunnah – the correct way to end unneeded differing on this topic – the same Ikhwani rhetoric is parroted once again – everyone’s opinion may be right and should be respected, but just don’t differ. It’s the never-ending paradox, the pipe-dream of true Muslim unity without actually forbidding or working against the very cause of discord and differing – opposing Allah and His Messenger! (May Allah raise his rank and grant him peace.)
Smooth, Subtle Transition Noted (No Retraction or Correction of the Misguidance)
Furthermore, it should be noted that the smooth transition from blatant disregard for the moonsighting to the subtle mention of “an estimated moonsighting” reminds us of his transition from the blatant negation of “The Quran is not a book” to the subtle adjustment, “The Quran is not just a book.” One might speculate, “Will we now see more accusations from Yusuf Estes he has been lied upon again?” (i.e. he never tried to announce the start of Ramadhan by a calendar prediction?) Trickery and deception of the Muslims is not part of Islam in any way whatsoever.
A solid dose of old-fashioned honesty and sincerity to Allah and to His Muslim servants would likely revive and heal a troubled heart.