This is a response from Mufti Elyas of Johannesburg, South Africa on the differences that have emerged in the Muslim community as to which day is Arafa day
The following narration testifies to the validity of differences in the occasions of Ramadhaan and Eid.
“Kuraib narrates that Ummul Fadhl Bintil Harrith sent him on an errand to Muaawiya (R.A.), in Shaam,
‘I went to Shaam and fulfilled her requirement and while I was still in Shaam the hilaal of Ramadhaan appeared over me. Thus, I saw the hilaal on the night of Friday. Then towards the end of the month I came to Madinah and Abdullaah Ibn Abbaas questioned me.
He then spoke about the hilaal and said:
‘Did you (i.e. the people in Shaam) see the hilaal?
I said: ‘We saw it on the night of Friday.’ He said; ‘Did you set it?’ I said: ‘Yes, and the people saw it and fasted. Muaawiyah too fasted.”
He (Ibn Abbaas) said: “But, we saw it on the night of Saturday. Therefore, we shall continue to fast until we complete thirty days and we see it (i.e. the hilaal at the end of the 29th day).”80
Despite the fact that the news of the sighting of the hilaal in Damascus was reliably reported to Hadhrat Ibn Abbaas (R.A.), he maintained that the people of Madinah would adhere to their own sighting. This Hadith is proof for the claim that the sighting of one place is not incumbent on the people of another place.
The Sunnah indicates that there is no incumbency for the Eid or Ramadhaan to co-inside or begin on the same day throughout the world. When the Shariah has not imposed this type of ‘unity’ the attempt to forge it on the basis of the opinions of the deviates is false and in conflict with the Shariah.