Ummul Fadle RA sent Kuraib for an errand to Sham (Syria) for getting some information from Mu’aawiya RA. He finished his mission and returned to Madeenah in the last days of Ramadan. He began Ramadan while he was at Sham. When he came to Madeenah he knew that the people of Madeenah began fasting on Saturday. But according to him he had begun fasting on Friday! Ramadan beginning on Friday at Damascus and Saturday at Madeenah was not in keeping with the Sunnah. The Prophet SAW said: “Fasting is on the day people fast, Eidul fitre is on the day people celebrate Eidul fitre and sacrifice is on the day people sacrifice”. All people must do it on the same day. Prophet SAW had forbidden to fast on the day of feasting Eid. So, according to him people in Sham fasted on Friday. People in Madeenah too should fast on Friday. Have they missed one day of Ramadan? Sham and Madeenah beginning Ramadan on two different days is contrary to the Sunnah and the orders of the Prophet SAW.
Ibn Abbas RA who was the Governor of Madeenah enquired from Kuraib when they began fasting in Sham. He said: “We began fasting on Friday”. Ibn Abbas RA asked, “When did you see the Hilaal?” Ibn Abbas RA wanted to know whether they had begun Shaban on the correct day. In Madeenah they had begun Shaban correctly on Friday after obseriving the Ahilla of Jumadil Akhir and Rajab. They had begun Shaban on Friday. Not only Ibn Abbas RA, but all people of Madeenah also know this very well. When Shaban begins on Friday, then the 29th of Shaban will also be on Friday. But Kuraib’s reply: “we saw the Hilaal on Thursday evening” was unbelievable. This was impossible because Hilaal will not appear on 28th of Shaban, Thursday. Ibn Abbas knew that some thing was wrong with Kuraib.
He again asked Kuraib: “Did you see the Hilaal yourself on Thursday evening at Sham?” Kuraib’s repy to this question was not to the point. Kuraib said: “yes, people too saw it and they fasted, Mu’aawiya also fasted”. Ibn Abbas RA replied: “But we saw it on Friday evening” meaning that the people of Madeenah and Ibn Abbas RA assured that Shaban 1st was on Friday and so the 29th of Shaban should also fall on Friday and they began fasting on Saturday depending on that. How could Kuraib and others see the Hilaal on Thursday which was only the 28th of Shaban? And he further added: “and we will continue fasting till we complete 30”. This shows that Ibn Abbas RA knew that, the particular Ramadan was a month of 30 days by his observation of the ahillah and manaazil of the moon. “Or till we see it” means we will now verify whether Ramadan is of 29 or 30 days by observation.
Then Kuraib asked: “Is not Mu’aawiya’s seeing and fasting enough for you?”. Ibs Abbas RA retorted: “No, the Prophet SAW ordered us like this”. The Prophet SAW had ordered them to see the Ahillah properly and begin or end fasting accordingly. That is “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi wa afthiroo li ru’uyathihi….”. They have done that and begun Ramadan correctly. Now they cannot change their right view and admit that they have omitted the first day of Ramadan. This was the stand of Ibn Abbas RA and all the people of Madeenah. He rejected it as it was a single report which was unbelievable to them. So the episode of Kuraib does not establish the view that Muslim Ummah could differ in dates.
The Hilaals or Ahillah show people their dates. The crescents seen from Syria and Madeena are not different. They knew it very well. The moon which Allah has appointed to show people their date cannot show different dates for Syria and Madeenah. The date shown by the moon for Syria and Madeenah should be same. The full moon viewed at Madeenah and Syria will not be on different days. So, 15th of Ramadan must be Saturday for both towns Damascus and Madeenah. According to Kuraib, 15th of Ramadan would be Friday for Syria!
This ridiculous state of affairs will not be the rule of Islam which is the Right way. Some people use this tradition to establish that lunar dates must be different for America and Arabia. This is absurd and pathetic. Such wrong and un-Islamic concepts must be rejected.
I am giving below the quoting from translation of Sahih Muslim into English. The translator has no knowledge in the subject he is dealing with. He says that Ummul Fadle sent her son Fadle to Mu’awiya! Such careless translations mislead even the educated elite.
Book 006, Number 2391: Kuraib reported that Umm Fadl, daughter of Harith, sent him (Fadl, i. e. her son) to Mu'awiya in Syria. I (Fadl) arrived in Syria, and did the needful for her. It was there in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon (of Ramadan) on Friday. I then came back to Medina at the end of the month. Abdullah b. 'Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) asked me (about the new moon of Ramadan) and said: When did you see it? I said.: We saw it on the night of Friday. He said: (Did) you see it yourself? -I said: Yes, and the people also saw it and they observed fast and Mu'awiya also observed fast, whereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. So we would continue to observe fast till we complete thirty (lasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sighting of the moon by Mu'awiya not valid for you? He said: No; this is how the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) has commanded us. Yahya b. Yahya was in doubt (whether the word used in the narration by Kuraib) was Naktafi or Taktafi.