Some Muslim minority sects across the country have already celebrated the first day of Idul Fitri on Friday and Saturday, in advance of the government's decision as to when the religious holiday should begin.
In several cities in West Sumatra, around 5,000 followers of the Tarekat Naqsabandiyah sect performed mass prayers to mark the end of Ramadhan on Friday morning. The sect believes that the end of the fasting month coincided with Indonesian Independence Day, following a calculation based on their own hisab (astronomical observation).
With their own observation, the sect had also started the first day of Ramadhan on July 18, two days earlier than most Muslims in the country.
The second largest Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah, decided that the first day of the fasting month fell on July 20, while other organizations, including the largest organization, Nadhatul Ulama (NU), and the government opted for July 21.
“We never really care about these differences. Every human has his or her own faith after all,” said Mursyid, a Tarekat Naqsabandiyah leader.
Meanwhile, several minority sects in East Java also celebrated the first day of Idul Fitri on Saturday.
Dozens of followers of Tarekat Anfusiyah Ied mass prayers at a mushola [prayer house] in Sanggrahan village in Mojokerto, East Java. Thousands of followers of Al Karawi Islamic boarding school in Sumenep, East Java, also performed the same prayers in the school’s prayer house. The sects had also started fasting earlier than the majority of Muslims in the country.
The government itself has yet to decide on the beginning of Idul Fitri. The Religious Ministry plans to hold an isbat (confirmation) meeting on Saturday evening to decide the start of the awaited religious holiday. (riz/iwa)