Around 100 members of the Islamic sect Tarekat Naqshabandiyah in Padang celebrated Idul Fitri on Friday, two days earlier than most Indonesian Muslims, who expect to observe the holiday on Sunday.
They performed the Eid prayer at 8 AM on Friday in their mosque, Baitul Makmur, which is situated in the Pasar Baru village in the sub-district of Pauh.
Upon performing the brief prayer, the small congregation chanted the long version of the takbir (the name for the phrase “God is Greatest”) for a half-hour, after which they listened to a sermon by Syafri Malin Mudo, the leader of the congregation.
Syafri told the press that the sect had calculated that Idul Fitri fell on Friday using a method called “hisab Munjid,” based on the Javanese calendar, which, like the Islamic Hijri calendar, is based on a lunar cycle.
He claimed that the sect had roughly 8,000 adherents across West Sumatra, all of whom celebrated Idul Fitri on Friday.
“The government has a rationale in determining when Idul Fitri falls; we also have our own, which is based on the Koran and hadith,” Syafri said. Hadith refers to the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, acts or tacit approvals or disapprovals.
The majority of Indonesian Muslims are expected to celebrate the holiday on Sunday. However, the date depends upon the government’s meeting regarding the results of hilal (new moon) sightings, the method commonly used to determine the beginning and end of the fasting month of Ramadan, as well as the dates for Idul Fitri and Idul Adha, two of the biggest holidays in Islam.
A day earlier on Thursday, dozens of members of a Sufi sect called Saman celebrated Idul Fitri, also in Padang.