What it means to witness the moon?
Mufti Saeed Palunpuri mentioned the aayah of the quran, همصيلفرهشلامكنم دهشنمو (And whoever of you witnesses the month, let him fast it)
The word دهش means to witness something. Witnessing requires that a person observe something with their senses. If it is a thing which is spoken, the witnessing of it is with the ears. If it is something that is seen with the eyes, the witness to it must have seen it with his eyes. If it is a thing that is tasted, the witness to it must have tasted it with his own tongue. If it is something that is smelled, in order to witness it, a person must have smelled it with his nose. If it is something that is touched, in order to give witness of its feel, the person must have felt it.
You cannot witness that something smells a certain way, after only having looked at it with the eyes.
So now we are ordered to witness the month. And the question is, which of the five senses do we witness the month with?
Can you touch the month of ramadan? Can you hear the month of Ramadan arrive? Can you taste the month of Ramadan with your tongue? Can you smell a month with your nose? None of these 4 senses allow us to observe directly the month of Ramadan.
Rather, the witness of the month of Ramadan is to see with the eyes the moon of the first night of Ramadan. Only after seeing that, we could give testimony that we have seen that it is the month of Ramadan.
This meaning is confirmed, and none of the other meanings is even possible.
So from this single word in the Qur’aan, the entire debate is clearly and conclusively settled and two meanings are not even possible in the discussion.