MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, YOGYAKARTA—Saudi Arabia proclaims Eid al-Adha falls on June 28, 2023, similar to Muhammadiyah’s proclamation. It means that the Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia perform wuquf (standing) at Arafat on June 17, 2023. Meanwhile, non-pilgrimage Muslims are recommended to fast on the Day of Arafah. This implies that ‘Arafah’ is regarded as a specific time, and the wuquf serves as a reference for determining the day of Arafah and Eid al-Adha.
In 2007, Muhammadiyah and Saudi Arabia set different dates for Eid al-Adha. Muhammadiyah, based on the actual sighting of the new moon (hilal), declared that 1 Dhul-Hijjah 1428 H fell on December 11, 2007, making the day of Arafah and Eid al-Adha fall on December 19 and December 20, 2007, respectively. On the other hand, the Saudi Arabian government, through the high court, uttered that 1 Dhul-Hijjah 1428 H fell on December 10, 2007, resulting in the day of Arafah and Eid al-Adha a falling on December 18 and December 19, 2007, respectively.
Due to this discrepancy, the Central Board of Muhammadiyah required its members to fast on the Day of Arafah, 9 Dhul-Hijjah, according to the organization’s decree, which was on December 19, 2007. Many Muhammadiyah members at that time perceived ‘Arafah’ as a specific time. They considered that the day of Arafah on 9 Dhul-Hijjah referred to an Islamic calendar of respective countries instead of the activity of the pilgrims standing at Arafat.
The situation caused Muhammadiyah members’ confusion about the observance of the Arafah fasting. They were uncertain whether the Arafah fasting was connected to the ‘place,’ i.e., when the pilgrims were standing at Arafat, or to the ‘time,’ i.e., on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah according to the Islamic calendar.
According to the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, the Arafah fasting should be performed on the same day and date as the standing at Arafat of Hajj pilgrims. This means both should occur on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, universally applicable worldwide. Moreover, the Arafah fasting should also align with the performance of the standing at Arafat. Therefore, the unification of the day of Arafah cannot be achieved merely by following the political decisions of the Saudi Arabian government.
The main issue causing the difference in determining the day of Arafah is the use of locally-produced Islamic calendars. This leads to different dates around the world. The solution lies in creating a universal calendar system, the Global Islamic Calendar, which can be used worldwide.
Until Muslims apply a global Islamic calendar, it will be challenging to establish a systematic organization of time. Hence, a globally recognized and organized time system is essential for Muslims. In the future, Muslims are expected to unite and have a similar date of the day of Arafah, applicable worldwide, so fasting on the day of Arafah and wuquf at Arafat can be performed concurrently.