Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin in the center announcing that Muslims in Indonesia will celebrate Idul Fitri on Wednesday, June 5. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

No Confusion This Year, All Indonesian Muslims Will Celebrate Idul Fitri on June 5


JUNE 04, 2019

Jakarta. The exact day of Idul Fitri, based on the sighting of the new moon, sometimes creates controversies in Indonesia, as different Muslim groups offer their own astronomical calculations to decide the end of the Ramadan month and the beginning of Syawal – when Lebaran is celebrated – in the Islamic lunar calendar. In some years, Muslims in Indonesia celebrated Idul Fitri on different days, one or sometimes even two days apart. 

To avoid confusion, the Indonesian government announced on Monday that Idul Fitri in Indonesia this year will fall on Wednesday, June 5. Their calculation was based on observing the position of the moon to figure out the beginning of Syawal in the Islamic Hijri calendar. 

Muslims celebrate Idul Fitri to mark the end of 29 or 30 days of fasting during the whole Ramadan month. Syawal is the tenth month in the Hijri calendar.

"There was no sighting of the new moon [by Monday]. Ramadan this year will go the full 30 days. We will still be fasting on Tuesday and the first of Syawal will fall on Wednesday, June 5," Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said.

He said government observers were sent to 105 monitoring posts in 33 provinces (out of the total 34) across Indonesia and none of them was able to get a sighting of the new moon, which indicates the beginning of a new month in the Hijri calendar. 

The government then held a meeting to determine the first day of Syawal, which was attended by representatives of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), other Islamic organizations, members of the House of Representatives and scientific organizations.

The meeting is now compulsory according to a 2004 fatwa issued by MUI.

"There is no reason to reject the determination made by the Religious Affairs Minister that the first of Syawal will fall on Wednesday, June 5," Yusuf Yusnar, a member of MUI's board of chairmen, said after the meeting.