Basis for Using the Rukyah Method for Determining the Arrival of Ramadan and Syawal in Brunei Darussalam

By Dr. Mohd Shukri Hanapi1 & Dr. Shahir Akram Hassan

Source: Journal of Islamic Studies and Culture December 2015, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 13-22 ISSN: 2333-5904 (Print), 2333-5912 (Online) Copyright © The Author(s). All Rights Reserved. Published by American Research Institute for Policy Development DOI: 10.15640/jisc.v3n2a2 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.15640/jisc.v3n2a2

Abstract

There are various methods used to determine the arrival of Ramadan (fasting) and Syawal in South East Asia. Malaysia and Indonesia use the rukyah (sighting of the moon) and hisab (mathematical calculations), Singapore uses the hisab while Brunei only uses the rukyah method. These differences are due to the different basis for using a certain method to determine the arrival of Ramadan and Syawal. The basis here refers to religious references and forms of istidlal (inferences). The question is, what religious references are used to substantiate the adoption of the rukyah method in Brunei? What is their form of istidlal based on the religious references? To answer all these questions this study has two objectives. Firstly, it intends to determine the religious references that act as the basis for using the rukyah method in Brunei. Secondly, to analyse the different forms of istidlal based on the religious references. In order to achieve these objectives, this qualitative study used library research and expert interview methods for collecting data. All the data were analysed using the content analysis method. Lastly, this study concluded that religious references from the al-Qur’an and Hadith used as a basis for applying the rukyah method in Brunei is similar to the religious references used as a basis for applying rukyah and hisab in other South East Asian countries. The only difference is the various forms of istidlal.

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Astronomical Data and Sighting of Ramadan New Moon on June 16, 2015

Bandar Seri Begawan – The official new moon sighting date to determine the beginning Ramadan 1436H will be on Tuesday afternoon, June 16. The sightings will be carried out in several vantage hills across the country by government officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Survey Department.

The following is the astronomical calculation of the moon for Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, on the day of Syaaban 29,1436H corresponding to June 16, 2015
1. Sun sets at 18:32 (Local Time)
2. The moon sets at 18:18.
At sun sets,
3. The angular seperation of Moon-Sun is 5.31°
4. Moon Azimuth is 288.75°
5. Sun Azimuth is 293.50°
6. Moon age is 29.3 day old or -3.6 hour before conjunction.

The moon's position on June 16, 2015 from Brunei at sun set.
The moon’s position on June 16, 2015 from Brunei at sunset.

In conclusion, the moon is a waning crescent, that is not a New Moon, and not observable as it sets earlier before the Sun goes down. However, the starting date of fasting in Brunei will depend on the official announcement on that evening.