The government will conduct an isbat (confirmation) meeting to decide the first day of Idul Fitri on Saturday evening, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali has said.
Suryadharma said Monday that various religious groups and related agencies would be invited in the meeting.
According to Bahrul Hayat, the ministry’s secretary general, the hilal (crescent moon), which marks the beginning of the new month after Ramadhan, is predicted to appear on Saturday after the sunset. It is not until Saturday night that the ministry could receive reports on hilal observations in various parts of the country.
The government would announce that Idul Fitri falls on Saturday if the observation teams find hilal is visible at least 2 degrees above the horizon.
Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, has announced that the first day of Idul Fitri will fall on Aug. 19. The organization used the calendar-based calculation rather than the observation-based method.
With the same method, Muhammadiyah decided that the beginning of Ramadhan fell on July 20, one day earlier than the government ultimately decided on. (fzm/lfr)