Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Religious Affairs Ministry has announced that the first of Shawwal 1444 Hijri or 1st Eid al-Fitr day will fall on Saturday (April 22, 2023).

The decision was taken following an isbat (confirmation) meeting on Thursday (April 20).

"The isbat meeting determines that 1 Shawwal 1444 H falls on Saturday, April 22, 2023 AD," Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas declared at a press conference on the determination of the isbat meeting in Jakarta on Thursday.

"Based on a hisab (astronomical observation), the position of the crescent moon in Indonesia is above the horizon and does not meet the new MABIMS (the Association of the Ministries of the Religious Affairs from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore) criteria, as well as the absence of seeing the crescent moon," he added.

Thus, the government and Muhammadiyah have made a different determination of 1 Shawwal. Muhammadiyah is the second largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, after Nahdlatul Ulama.

Muhammadiyah has set Eid al-Fitr for Friday (April 21), which is based on the criteria of the appearance of the crescent moon. Meanwhile, the government has set it for Saturday (April 22) based on MABIMS criteria.

The isbat meeting was attended by a number of representatives of religious organizations, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), astronomers, representatives of friendly countries, and other invited guests.

The isbat session was held on Thursday from 5 p.m. local time and closed with the stipulation of 1 Shawwal, or Eid al-Fitr.

It began with an open explanation of the position of the crescent moon (hilal) based on astronomical data by experts.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs carried out monitoring, or rukyatul hilal, at 123 points in Indonesia. It then listened to reports from a number of hilal investigators who worked under the oath of the local district or city religious court, starting from the province of Aceh to Papua.

Chairperson of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) for Fatwa, Asrorun Niam Sholeh, earlier asked Muslims to respect potential differences in the determination of Eid al-Fitr 2023.

"Given that this year, the hilal is at an uncertain height, it is certain that there will be a difference in the timing of the determination of Eid al-Fitr," he said here on Thursday.

“Therefore, there needs to be a spirit of mutual respect for these differences," he added.

There is a possibility of differences among jurists in determining the start of Ramadan, Shawwal, and Dzulhijjah, Sholeh said.

Scientifically, differences of opinion can occur, he added. On issues that allow for different opinions to emerge, tolerance must be prioritized.

"Therefore, there needs to be a spirit of mutual respect for these differences," he said.

Related news: Mahfud urges for harmony amid potential differences in Eid date

Related news: President Jokowi wants palace staff celebrate Eid with their families

Translator: Asep F, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
Copyright © ANTARA 2023