Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3 Eid days

There was a huge confusion in Indonesia in the past couple of days about when is the Eid ul Fitr, the start of the new Islamic month which signify the end of the fasting month.
There was a sect celebrating it on Monday. Then Muhammadiah, one of the biggest Islamic organization in Indonesia with about 40 millions followers decided that they celebrate it on Tuesday because they use Hisab, a way of calculating the new moon. However, the government decided that we cant see the moon on Monday, so the Eid ul Fitr would be on Wednesday based on looking for 'hilal' (I think it means the new moon).

We joked, complained, panicked because of the government decision. Yes, a lot of people are panicking because we were all almost sure that it would be on Tuesday, so a lot of decisions were based on that. Offices close on Tuesday but open on Wednesday. Caterings were booked on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, Tickets were booked on Wednesday instead of Thursday. You get the idea.

Our family waited for my uncle decision. I was sure he would celebrated it on Tuesday because normally, when there was such confusion he chose the earlier of the two. So, on Monday we started cooking at our place, until my aunt, his wife, called to tell us that this year we celebrate it on Wednesday.

This morning I asked him why he didnt celebrate it yesterday. He said he sit in this Islamic scientists forum and this guy convinced him scientifically and religiously that the government is right. No one can see the moon on Monday in Indonesia. You can see the moon in the Western part of the Southern hemisphere, though. Apparently, on Tuesday there is a conjunction of moon and sun, which means it's a new moon according to the astronomy. Muhammadiah is supposed to cite a certain Koranic verse to use the conjunction as the start of a new moon. However, according to that scientist, there are more verses supporting looking for hilal. Apparently, the fact is you can only see a hilal when the moon is up about 2 degrees. On Monday, the moon is up less than 2 degree, therefore the next day couldnt be said the new month.

I then asked why Saudi celebrates it on Tuesday when the moon is up less than 1 degrees over there. He said, in Saudi no one verify the witness, so as long as someone came up and said he saw hilal then they declare it as a new month the next day. In Indonesia the government verify the witnesses. In that sense, Indonesian government did it very well for once.

That being said, I dont get why the government used the conjunction instead of the conjunction plus 2 degrees calculation in deciding when the next Eid ul Fitr to limit the confusion. Logically now we have a different Islamic calendar than Saudi Arabia or Malaysia. I also dont get why we always have this problem only about Eid ul Fitr, but not about other Islamic holidays. I feel that the organizations politicize the event so much that they have difficulty agreeing on it.

With the confusion, in some families the deciding factor is the catering. Seriously. You cant let all those food gone wasted, right? One of the positive things out of this is today the cemeteries are not as crowded as normal Eid ul Fitr as some people already visited them the day before.

I guess all I could say is Indonesia is definitely a very democratic country.

Selamat Lebaran!
Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.
Lots of love, T


colson said...

Wow.Thanks for the explanation. Now, due to you ( and your uncle :)) at long last I'm beginning to see the light and the esoteric logic ( some minor question marks remain though):).

I wish you and all your friends and next of kin a perfect Lebaran .

triesti said...

Thanks colson, you mean you see the moon, right? ;)

Multibrand said...

A very explanation of the confusing decisions. It is difficult for me to understand why such differences exist

Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri 1432 H mohon maaf lahir batin.

Hning said...


triesti said...

@harry, yeah my uncle explained that to every one all morning that day, including showing the map etc.
@yaya, monggo... balikin ye kalo dah selesai. Emang timekeeper neranginnya piye?