Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi explains the decision of the Fiqh Council of North America about using astronomical calculations to affirm the month of Ramadan.
The Fiqh Council is not negating any Sunnah of the beloved Prophet (PBUH). We are saying that the actual sighting with the naked eyes is not required. If the moon is born and enough time has passed after conjunction to make the moon visible then we accept it whether the moon is sighted by the naked eyes or not. This is the reason why we have maintained that if the new Moon was born at 12:00 Noon GMT (or 3:00 PM in Makkah), this Moon will be around 12 to 18 hours of age by the time it reaches the North American Matl’a upto IDL (International Date Line). The Fiqh Council is NOT going with the birth of the new Moon only; it is rather going with the possibility of its sighting somewhere within the Western Hemisphere.