The Jakarta Post
People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Zulkifli Hasan said he supported the creation of an Islamic calendar to end once and for all the almost annual debate over when Ramadhan started and ended.
“[With modern technology] we are already able to calculate the arrival of lunar and solar eclipses up to 50 or even 100 years ahead,” he said as quoted by Antara on Friday.
He argued that it was also possible for modern science to determine when hilal — the first crescent moon that marks a new month in the lunar/Islamic calendar — will take place.
In Indonesia, the Religious Affairs Ministry and Muslim organizations such as Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama usually convene a day or two before Ramadhan or Idul Fitri to decide when Ramadhan begins and ends.
It is not uncommon for religious organizations to arrive at different conclusions, given that they use different methods to determine the beginning of a new month. Some use what is called hisab (astronomical calculations) and others use what is called rukyat, or moon sighting.
The proposal to create an official Islamic calendar was made by the House’s Commission VIII, which oversees religion and social affairs. (nor/ahw)