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Eid Mubarak ~ Maaf Zahir & Batin

September 20, 2009

Brunei Darussalam will be celebrating Hari Raya Aidil Fitri or Eidul Fitr tomorrow, Monday 21 September 2009 after the new moon of Syawal was not sighted early yesterday’s  evening. Hari Raya Aidil Fitri or also known as Hari Raya Puasa or Lebaran or Eidul Fitri (depending on where you are) marks the end of Ramadhan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, and the start of Syawal, a month for joy and celebration. 

Raya itself is a Malay word meaning big so yes, its a big celebration for Muslims around the world. Other Raya word use in Malay is ‘jalanraya’ meaning road and the other one at the top of my head is ‘hantu raya’, a type of ghost though I am not sure if this particular ghost is the biggest ghost of all. This interesting post on why Indonesians use ‘Lebaran’ to refer to the big day says that the original word of ‘lebar’ actually comes from a Javanese word meaning afterwards that is after the fasting month; and not the ‘lebar’ which is English for wide.   

Hilal or the new moon. Brunei celebrates Hari Raya on Monday, 21 September 2009.

Hilal or the new moon. Brunei celebrates Hari Raya on Monday, 21 September 2009.

Every year, it has been like a tradition for Bruneians to gather around their Tv or radio sets to know the outcome of the sighting of the new moon of Syawal as it determine the first day of Raya. For some, the good news will be welcomed by praising Allah with tahmid and takbir and for some, with the sound of firecrackers. And the bad news when the moon is not sighted? For some, the news may either be followed with a sigh or a joy, depending on one’s situation.

The decision to the manner and method on determining the beginning of Ramadhan, Syawal, Zulhijjah and Muharram for Brunei Darussalam through rukyah or the sighting of the moon was made at a meeting in 1994. There, MABBIMS countries which group Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore agreed that Brunei will exclusively uses rukyah while the rest of the three countries jointly agreed that if the new moon is not sighted through rukyah then the beginning of the new moon will be based on calculations. 

This page from the Brunei Astronomical Society quoting a joint-reply from the State Judiciary Department and the Survey Department explains more on why Brunei uses rukyah. Furthermore, it quote that a fatwa or religious rulings from the State Mufti saying that rukyah being practised in Brunei Darussalam is based on clear hadiths or sayings of the Prophet. It also says that on 1 October 2003, Brunei’s Muslim Council will not accept rukyah results from other countries as from 1424 Hijrah. We are in the year 1430 Hijrah now, so that was six years ago.  

Its time to celebrate, well, at least tomorrow for Brunei. I would like to wish all Muslims around the world, a Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir & Batin. Eid Mubarak. Taqabballahu minna waminkum, waja’alna minal aidin wal faidzin.


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