The Muslim jurists have differed in opinion concerning sighting the new moon during the daytime whether because of the solar eclipse or other. They have three different views in this regard: (1) Sighting the new moon must be after sunset and any sighting of it during the daytime is not to be taken into account; (2) If the sighting is before the sun reaches its zenith (that is, before noon), this day (in which the sighting has taken place) will be the first day of Ramadan; if the sighting is after the sun reaches its zenith, this day will mark the end of Sha`ban (and the beginning of Ramadan will be the following day); (3) Sighting the new moon during the daytime in general, whether before or after the sun reaches its zenith, marks the beginning of Ramadan on the following day.
The eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states: Almighty Allah has ordained Muslims to fast the month of Ramadan every year. It is one of the (five) pillars of Islam according to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Fasting Ramadan becomes binding upon Muslims when they are certain, or, at least, think it more likely, that the new moon of Ramadan has appeared.
Almighty Allah says: (Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting) (Al-Baqarah 2:185). (who is present (at his home) during this month) refers to those who know that the month has begun. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was reported to have said, “Fast when the moon (of Ramadan) is sighted, and break your fast when the moon (of Shawal) is sighted” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was also reported to have said, “Do not start fasting until you sight the moon (of Ramadan) and do not break fasting until you sight the moon of (Shawwal). If the skies are cloudy, and you are unable to sight it, then calculate about it” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
According to this hadith, the sign of the beginning of the month of Ramadan was sighting the moon by one’s naked eye, not by means of astronomical calculations, which were not common then and, moreover, were known only by a few non-Muslim people.
However, the Prophet’s saying at the end of this hadith“If the skies are cloudy, and you are unable to sight it, then calculate about it” has opened the gate for scholars to give their personal legal opinions on the issue. Some early scholars of the righteous predecessors like Imam Abu Al-`AbbasibnSuraijwere of the opinion that the Prophet’s saying “then calculate about it” means sight it by means of astronomical calculations. This was also the opinion of some prominent scholars of the followers of the righteous predecessors like Mutrafibn `Abdullah and Qattadah.
On this was based the viewpoint of many Shafi`i, Maliki, and Hanafi scholars. They held that the science of astronomy in which the Muslims excelled during the booming of the Muslim civilization is to be concerned with sighting the moons of the lunar months. This science has now reached such outstanding development that man has managed to ascend to the moon itself and, moreover, investigate other planets like Mars.
Hence, we can conclude that astronomical calculations are to be concerned at least in case of not sighting the moon. This is to say, we are to believe the astronomical calculations when they say that there is no moon sighted, for these calculations are based on clear-cut mathematical rules, and the Islamic Shari`ah never contradicts clear-cut scientific rules.
Based on the above, the unanimously agreed-upon opinion on deciding about the beginning of a new month is sighting its moon. It is usual to sight the moon after sunset, for sunlight prevents one during daytime from seeing the moon of the following day. But what would the case be if the moon is sighted during the daytime when there is a partial or total eclipse of the sun as mentioned in the question in hand? On this point scholars have differed as follows:
1. Sighting the new moon is not to be considered unless it is after sunset. This opinion is reported to have been held by Abu Hanifah and (the eminent scholar) Muhammad. The Shafi`i scholars were also reported to have said that sighting the new moon of Ramadan during daytime of the 29th of Sha`ban is not sufficient and it must be sighted on the eve of its thirtieth day.
2. Sighting the new moon during the daytime may be considered if it takes place after the sun reaches its zenith of the day in question, not before it, for the time after the sun’s zenith is closer to the following night. If it is sighted before the zenith of this day, it will be considered as the moon of the previous night. This opinion was reported to have been held by `Ali and `A’ishah, and was one of two different opinions said to be held by `Umar.
3. The moon sighted during the daytime of a day is the moon of the following night whether it takes place before or after the sun’s zenith of that day. This is reported to be the second view of `Umar on the question;
it is also reported to be the opinion of his son `Abdullah, `Abdullah ibnMas`ud, Anas, and the dependable opinion of the majority of scholars. The author of Ad-Dur Al-Mukhtar said, “The moon sighted during the daytime is the moon of the following night,” and added in the footnote commenting on this point “whether it is before or after the sun’s zenith of the concerned day.”
According to Al-Mudwanah by Malik, he who sights the moon during the daytime of the 29th of Ramadan is not to break his fast, for this moon belongs to the following night, as the time before sighting the moon belongs for sure to Ramadan; if so, it would not be tenable that the time after it (which is still in the same day) be regarded as being of Shawwal and thus one would break his fast during it. The same applies to sighting the moon of Ramadan during the daytime of the 29th of Sha`ban.
In Al-Mughni, IbnQuddamah quoted the eminent scholar Al-Kharqi’s opinion: “If a new moon is sighted during the daytime, it is the moon of the following day” and explained the bases on which Al-Kharqi built this opinion as follows:
The most dependable opinion reported to have been held by Imam Ahmad is that if a new moon is sighted during the daytime of the 29th of Ramadan, whether before or after the sun’s zenith, the Muslims are not to break their fasting by sighting it then (that is, it belongs to the following day). This is also the viewpoint of `Umar, IbnMas`ud, Ibn `Umar, Anas, Al-Awza`i, Malik, Al-Laith, Ash-Shafi`i, Ishaq, and Abu Hanifah.
Ath-Thawri and Abu Yusuf were reported to have believed that if the moon is sighted before the sun’s zenith, it is the moon of the previous night; and if it is sighted after the sun’s zenith, it belongs to the following night. This is because the time before the sun’s zenith is closer to the previous night than the following one. `Umar was also reported to have held this opinion. In supporting this view IbnQudamah quoted Abu Wa’il as saying, “We received `Umar’s message to the effect that ‘Some moons are bigger than others, so if you sight a new moon during the daytime (of the end of Ramadan) do not break your fast; continue it until sunset unless two (trustworthy) men witness that they have sighted it in the previous night.'”
This applies also to sighting the new moon of Ramadan. That is to say, if the new moon is sighted during the daytime at the end of Sha`ban, it belongs to the new month. This opinion is reported to have been held by Malik, Abu Hanifah, and Ash-Shafi`i.
Imam Ahmad is reported to have another view to the effect that this moon belongs to the previous one and thus one is to abstain from food from the time of sighting the new moon until sunset and is to make up for this missed day after Ramadan.
Based on the above, it becomes clear that if the moon is sighted after noon, or, in other words, after the sun reaches its zenith, it is considered, according to the majority of scholars, to be the moon of the following night (and consequently the following month). If this moon is of Ramadan, people are not to abstain from food for the rest of that day, and if it is of Shawwal, people are not to break their fast on sighting it then. This is said by IbnHazm to be a well-established consensus of Muslim scholars, being based on the agreement of opinion of a number of the Prophet’s Companions that the sighting of the new moon is to be considered after the sun’s zenith of the day in question.
Based on this, we can conclude that since the eclipse of the sun referred to in the question in hand is expected to occur after the sun’s zenith of the 29th of the current Sha`ban, if a new moon is sighted during this eclipse, this means it belongs to the following night and thus is considered the sign of the beginning of Ramadan. This is to be emphasized by the fact that this moon cannot be said to belong to the previous night (that is, the 28th of Sha`ban), as it is proved via authentic hadiths that lunar months are only either of 29 or 30 days.