Yogyakarta (ANTARA) - Hundreds of Aolia Mosque congregants performed the Eid al-Fitr prayer and celebrated the end of the Ramadan fasting month on Friday morning in Giriharjo Village, Panggang Sub-district, Gunungkidul, Yogyakarta.

The congregation ended their fast much earlier than the majority of Indonesian Muslims. Most major Muslim organizations have determined that Eid al-Fitr will fall next week on April 10, 2024.

The Aolia Mosque congregants started fasting on March 7, a date determined by their spiritual leader, KH Raden Ibnu Hajar Sholeh Pranolo, who is also known as Mbah Benu among his followers.

On Friday, the congregants started gathering at Aolia Mosque and the home of their spiritual leader at 6 a.m. local time. They started the Eid prayer at 6:58 a.m.

After concluding the prayer, Mbah Benu asked his followers to safeguard their unity and harmony. He also appealed to his followers not to censure other Muslims who will celebrate Eid on a different date.

"Do not shame others as wrong. If they are wrong (that is fine), but if they are right, we will be on the wrong side," he said.

Meanwhile, Agung, the head of Panggang III Hamlet of Giriharjo Village, said that the Aolia Mosque congregation has been observing the Ramadan fast and celebrating Eid al-Fitr on a different date from the majority of Muslims in the hamlet for a long time now.

Aolia Mosque congregants and other Muslims in the region are living in harmony despite their differences, he added.

"There has never been a conflict. (The congregation) has existed since before I was born," Agung said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Islamic affairs section of the Yogyakarta provincial Religious Affairs Ministry Office, Jauhar Mustofa, said that the Aolia Mosque congregation performs Islamic rituals in the same fashion as other Muslims.

The only difference is the determination of the first day of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr as they have their own method for calculating the date, he informed.

"They have their own method introduced by their spiritual leader, Mr. Ibnu, and (it) is adhered to by his followers," Mustofa said.

The regional office, he added, has no authority to compel the congregation to follow the government-determined date in performing their Islamic rituals.

"Although, the (date) differences this year reach five days, which is very stark. Usually, the differences are only one or two days, but this year is different. No wonder they have attracted public attention," he said.
The regional office will also communicate with the congregation to ensure harmony between the government and religious leaders, Mustofa added.

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Translator: Luqman Hakim, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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