By Ainur Rohmah
TUBAN, Indonesia (AA) - Indonesia's second biggest Muslim organization has thrown its voice behind Turkish and other international efforts to create a unified Islamic calendar to determine that religious days and festivals fall globally at the same time.
Muhammadiyah said Wednesday that the absence of a single lunar calendar has left Indonesia -- the world's second most populous Muslim country -- celebrating important Islamic days at different times.
"The establishment of an international Islamic calendar already has a very high level of urgency," kompas.com reported the chairman of Muhammadiyah, Haedar Nashir, as saying.
He said the enactment of a global Hijri calendar would stop holy days being practiced at different times, in particular the determination of the beginning of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
"The difference in determining one Ramadan, one Shawwal [the month after Ramadan] and so on became the base of a difference of opinion among the people, and that is extremely negative for the brotherhood of Muslims," Nashir added.
In May, representatives from around 50 countries -- including Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt and the United States -- agreed on a proposal to create a unified calendar at an international conference in Istanbul.
“The congress has chosen the single calendar to practice across the whole world,” Mehmet Gormez, the head of Turkey’s religious affairs directorate, said at the two-day congress, which brought together astronomers and officials to create a unified calendar.
He said the Hijri calendar would be presented to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for implementation among member countries.
On Wednesday, Muhammadiyah Chair Nashir said that the establishment of such a calendar is respectful to science.
He added that the organization had formally decided to accept calendar unification since 2015.
The Hijri is a lunar calendar used to determine religious occasions such as Ramadan and the Hajj pilgrimage. However, different interpretations of the Quran have led Muslims around the world to celebrate religious events on differing days.