Only by the establishment of a Rightly Guided Caliphate will the endless moonsighting disputes come to a close. This is because Muslims are obliged to obey the Caliph in this matter as part of their bay’a of obedience to him.
Article 3 of the draft Caliphate constitution states:
“The Caliph adopts specific Sharia rules, which he will enact as a constitution and laws. If he adopts a Sharia rule, this rule alone becomes the Sharia rule that must be acted upon and it becomes a binding law that every citizen must obey openly and privately.” [Hizb ut-Tahrir, Muqadimatud-Dustur Aw al-Asbabul Mujibatulah]
Some of the classical scholars also held this view.
The following has been reproduced from Caliphate1.com
Imām Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī quotes the following in his Fatḥ al-Bārī Sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī:
“Ibn al-Mājishūn* said: Only the people of the town where the witnessing occurs are obliged [to fast] unless it is established by the Caliph (al-Imām al Azam). In such a case, all the people are obliged [to fast], because all the towns with respect to him (the Caliph) are as one town, since his verdict is binding upon everyone.”
[Translated by Shaykh ‘Abdullah bin Hamid ‘Ali]
*“Abu Marwan ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Salama al-Majishun (r) (d. 212) the sea of knowledge, a Jurisprudent and Mufti of Madina, a contemporary of Malik more than his actual student, he studied mostly under his father, then with Malik and others. Whenever al-Shafi‘i rehearsed Fiqh with him, people would not understand them because they spoke the desert Arabic of Hudhayl and Kalb. Suhnun and Ibn Habib praised him lavishly and preferred him to most of Malik’s companions.”
[The Four Imams and their Schools, Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad, Muslim Academic Trust, 2007, p. 148]
[NB: The relied upon opinion in the Hanbali, Hanafi and Maliki Madhabs is global sighting of the moon. The main point made here by Ibn al-Mājishūn is that if the Caliph announces the beginning of Ramadan (or indeed for ‘Eid), then all will be obliged to accept his decision since “his verdict is binding upon everyone”.
Having an orthodox Caliph ruling us would solve the chaos caused every Ramadan and ‘Eid by a certain kingdom]
[See for Hanbali Madhhab: Muwaffaq al-Din and Shams al-Din ibn Qudama, al-Mughni (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d.), 3:10-13]
[See for Hanafi Madhab: Muhammad Amin “Ibn Abidin”, Hashiya Radd al-Muhtar (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1415/1995), 2:432-433]
[See for Maliki Madhab: Mubarak bin ‘Ali al-Ahsa’i, Tashil al-Masalik ila Hidaya al-Salik ila Madhhab al-Imam Malik, ‘Abdul Hamid bin Mubarak, ed. (Riyadh: Maktaba al-Imam al-Shafi’i, 1416/1995), 3:783]
Ustadh Iyad Hilal has spent years studying the topic of moon-sighting and argues that in origin a lot of the debates about what constitutes sighting have been subject to differences between the classical scholars. To insist on one way, as some Islamic groups do, in the absence of a caliphal authority that resolves disputes, comes from a shallow understanding of the lawfulness of difference of opinion in Islam. He argues that it is perfectly natural for there to be differences of interpretation of texts and that the correct way is to accept this difference with adab and civility. In other words, there is no problem in having differences as long as it is based on a sincere reading of the Islamic sources of law. Listen to a full podcast on this subject below courtesy of The Thinking Muslim.