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start of Ramadan: a matter of anyone versus everyone?

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  • start of Ramadan: a matter of anyone versus everyone?

    Muhammadiyah started their fast this morning, but the official government calendar says Ramadan should start tonight, thus begin fasting at dawn on Sunday. Naturally, those who start early will end early, celebrating wildly while the others are still soberly fasting.

    If I recall correctly, the discrepancy is due to Muhammidyah decreeing that if *anyone* in the archipelago can see the new moon (e.g., someone in Aceh, where the sun sets a couple hours later than Irian), then the entire nation's Muslims should fast on that date.

    The other viewpoint is that the start date is when *everyone* in the archipelago (both Sabang and Merauke) is able to see the new moon on the same calendar day.

    Perhaps someone can clarify, and also offer an opinion on how/why this discrepancy exists amidst all the other moves by santri to have every Indonesian Muslim "on the same page" with uniform practice that is recognizable in Arabia, etc.

  • #2
    Originally posted by martindo View Post
    Muhammadiyah started their fast this morning, but the official government calendar says Ramadan should start tonight, thus begin fasting at dawn on Sunday. Naturally, those who start early will end early, celebrating wildly while the others are still soberly fasting.

    If I recall correctly, the discrepancy is due to Muhammidyah decreeing that if *anyone* in the archipelago can see the new moon (e.g., someone in Aceh, where the sun sets a couple hours later than Irian), then the entire nation's Muslims should fast on that date.

    The other viewpoint is that the start date is when *everyone* in the archipelago (both Sabang and Merauke) is able to see the new moon on the same calendar day.

    Perhaps someone can clarify, and also offer an opinion on how/why this discrepancy exists amidst all the other moves by santri to have every Indonesian Muslim "on the same page" with uniform practice that is recognizable in Arabia, etc.
    They are both off, in my opinion.

    Ramadan starts for a region based on the sighting of the hilal. If one region has the hilal and another does not, the region that has it is in Ramadan whereas the other region is not. It's pretty simple. Islam does not recognize the territorial boundaries of states like Indonesia, so it's immaterial if someone in one area can see it or if everyone can see it. The only thing that matters is that the hilal has been spotted in YOUR area.

    Now we have three opinions, and this is fine. This is a matter where it's somewhat murky, so there is preference of opinion. Islam is a very decentralized religion. It does not place much authority in mortals, and tends to thumb its nose at clergy. The ulema exist as experts on Islam, but they're going to disagree wildly on matters that have not been made abundantly clear.

    This isn't too big of a deal. Fasting in the month of Sha'aban is also praiseworthy, so even if they are off the fasting is still Sunnah and good. If they end the fast at the beginning of Shawal, there is no problem. Again, this is a matter of preference, and while I disagree with Muhammadiyah and the Indonesian government I don't really think it's "wrong."

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    • #3
      From what i understand, the government said on tv last night that no-one (at least nobody on the "official list" of approved observers) saw the new moon last night, from one side of the archipelago to the other, though I might have gotten it wrong. In any case, Muhammadiyah doing their thing and us doing ours has become par for the course. We who follow the government will start tonight.
      [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Warden: "What we got here ... is failure to communicate."

      The Dude: "Oh yeah? Well that's just, like, your opinion, man."[/FONT]

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      • #4
        Dan - whats a hilal ?? The new moon ??

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ScooterIndo View Post
          Dan - whats a hilal ?? The new moon ??
          The crescent of the new moon, yes.

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