Muslims in S’pore Will Celebrate Hari Raya Puasa Tomorrow (3 May) Unlike People From Other Regions


Advertisements
 

If you’ve been taking a look at neighbouring countries’ calendars, you’ve probably realised that many other countries around us are celebrating Hari Raya Puasa today (2 May).

Malaysian, Indonesian and Bruneian officials announced yesterday (1 May) that they will be pushing Hari Raya Puasa forward by a day, causing many people to panic-buy and stock up on various Hari Raya Puasa goodies to welcome guests.

But instead of celebrating Hari Raya Puasa, also known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, on the same day as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, Singapore will be celebrating it tomorrow (3 May) instead.

And here’s why.

Date of Hari Raya Puasa Determined by Crescent Moon

If you don’t know about this, now you do.

The date for Hari Raya Puasa is actually determined by the presence of the crescent moon, meaning that the festival will only fall on a day when the crescent moon is visible. The sight of a crescent moon marks the start of a new month.

Just yesterday (1 May), Dr Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, who is Singapore’s top Islamic leader, announced in a statement that the crescent moon for the month of Syawal was not visible after sunset yesterday evening. Syawal follows the month of Ramadan.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Nazirudin Nasir (@nazirudinmnasir)

“This signifies that tomorrow (May 2) will be the end of 30 days of Ramadan,” he said. “As such, I am pleased to announce that the first day of Syawal or Hari Raya Aidilfitri for year 1443H falls on Tuesday, May 3.”

However, despite Dr Nazirudin’s clarifications, many netizens have still taken to social media to voice their concerns and doubts, especially since many other neighbouring countries are celebrating the festival one day ahead.

In response to the doubts, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) released a statement today (2 May) to clarify the confusion.


Advertisements
 

MUIS also highlighted that “differences in the start of the Hijri calendar have occurred very frequently in the past (as recently as 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2021) and may well occur again in future”, explaining why we will be celebrating Hari Raya Puasa one day later than most of our neighbours.

The statement also clarified that in Islam, Muslims are instructed to observe 30 days of Ramadan if the moon is obscured.

The Islamic calendar is lunar, which means that the months may last for 29 days or 30 days.

“Do not fast until you have sighted the crescent moon, do not end your fast (celebrate Eid) until you have seen it (the Syawal crescent moon). If it is obscured from you, then regard the month of Ramadan as 30 days,” the statement explained.

No Pushing Forward of Singapore’s Hari Raya Puasa Date After Moon Sighting

In Dr Nazirudin’s Instagram post, he also uploaded a photo of him and his team conducting a moon sighting yesterday (1 May) after sunset at Raffles Marina in Tuas.

“May God bless this effort to help us follow our Prophet’s saying, which tells us to fast for 30 days if the crescent moon is not visible,” he wrote in the post in Malay.

After noting that the team was unable to spot the crescent moon, Dr Nazirudin wished all Muslims in Singapore Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and sought their forgiveness for any shortcomings.

Additionally, he also emphasised the importance of being socially responsible while engaging in the festivities.

Singapore Initially Had Same Hari Raya Puasa Date as Neighbouring Countries

Back in October last year, MUIS had initially updated the date for Hari Raya Aidilfitri to 3 May 2022 to fit with the dates set out by Islamic authorities from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

The Islamic authorities of four countries, including Singapore, got together and conducted extensive research to determine and standardise dates of various important dates in the Islamic calendar.


Advertisements
 

This point was explained by MUIS, who mentioned the intentions behind doing so in a statement last October.

Other Countries Also Celebrating Hari Raya Puasa Tomorrow

On the other hand, there are also countries which will be celebrating Hari Raya Puasa tomorrow (3 May).

In Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, the local Islamic authorities also announced that they were unable to spot the crescent moon yesterday (1 May), resulting in their Hari Raya Puasa holiday falling on 3 May as well.

Hence, not all countries will be celebrating Ramadan and Aildilfitri on the same day this year.

“Indeed, the crescent moon has also not been sighted in a few other countries, and as a consequence, they will be celebrating Aidilfitri on Tuesday 3 May, like Singapore,” MUIS wrote in their statement.

The statement also mentioned, “For as long as we hold true to the principles of our faith and the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad, differences in the determination of the Islamic calendar is something which is neither unexpected nor alarming.”


Advertisements
 

How to Determine Islamic Festivals through Moonsighting

In the past before the 1970s, the top Muslim authorities in Singapore would go moonsighting by trekking up Mount Faber. Alternatively, some of them travelled to Sultan Shoal by boat.

However, the moon could not be seen “with certainty” most of the time. This was due to Singapore’s climatic conditions, as the skies were often cloudy.

After that, the Singaporean leaders would obtain references from religious leaders in Malaysia in order to determine the exact dates of the festivals.

However, in recent years, Singapore has taken another approach to set the dates for various important Islamic dates.

Singapore has been using astronomical calculations in order to do so, and although this method was initially met with scepticism and opposition, it has since been more widely accepted since the calculations were proven to be accurate.


Advertisements
 

Usually, scholars use a combination of both criteria, astronomy and moon sightings, to confirm whether or not the crescent moon can be seen.

Use of Criteria Set by MABIMS in Singapore

As mentioned previously, the religious ministers of the MABIMS (Majlis Bahasa Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia) countries, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore got together in the past to discuss the sighting of the crescent moon.

Since 2017, all four countries have repeatedly improved and reviewed the criteria of the sightings, and was last revised in 2021.

More than 700 data points regarding crescent sightings from across the globe were taken into consideration.

Since the start of the unofficial get-togethers, Singapore has been using the dates obtained through discussion with the three MAMBIMS countries for Islamic festivals.

As for the latest criteria, MUIS also explained it in its latest Facebook update.

“The new criteria considers two parameters during sunset on the 29th day of the month – the elevation of the crecent moon (which must exceed three degrees) and the degree of elongation of the sun and the moon (which must exceed 6.4 degrees),” MUIS mentioned.

“Based on these criteria, the crescent moon was not visible in Singapore at sunset on 29 Ramadan,” the statement confirmed.


Advertisements
 

“For confirmation, the Office of the Mufti together with experts in the science of falak (astronomy) attempted to conduct a physical sighting of the crescent moon, which was unsuccessful – that is, the new moon was not visible. During the sighting, it was also clear that the western horizon was overcast with clouds,” it added.

Join our Telegram channel for more entertaining and informative articles at https://t.me/goodyfeedsg or download the Goody Feed app here: https://goodyfeed.com/app/ 

“The religious authorities of the other MABIMS countries reported that the crescent moon was visible in their sightings at only certain sites in their own territories,” the statement also mentioned.

However, MUIS affirmed that despite the different results that different countries obtained, they were all obtained through the same set of methods and beliefs.

“Everyone adheres to the principle that Ramadan in each country did not exceed 30 days.”

The statement also touched on how Muslim chroniclers recognised that different cities would have different start and ends dates for Ramadan, and that it depended on the differences that arose from the sighting of the crescent moon.

“Thus, the community should continue to fast including on Monday 2 May 2022, to complete 30 days of the month of Ramadan,” the statement concluded.

Read Also:

Featured Image: Tobias Krohn / Shutterstock.com