Original Research

Religious symbol on determining the beginning and end of Ramadan in Indonesia

Ridwan Ridwan, Muhammad Fuad Zain
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6397 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6397 | © 2021 Ridwan Ridwan, Muhammad Fuad Zain | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 November 2020 | Published: 26 July 2021

About the author(s)

Ridwan Ridwan, Faculty of Sharia, Institut Agama Islam Negeri Purwokerto, Banyumas, Indonesia
Muhammad Fuad Zain, Faculty of Sharia, Institut Agama Islam Negeri Purwokerto, Banyumas, Indonesia


The fasting and Eid al-Fitr celebration has a strong public dimension for their traditional characteristics in Islamic communal celebrations. This study used field research from interviews with the two largest mass organisations in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, and the statements of mass media. This research shows that contestation of religious symbols is not something that needs to be debated but it should broaden the understanding of the differences that must be respected in order to build brotherhood not, division. Contestation of religious symbols between the hisab [astronomical calculations] and the ru’yat[sighting a new crescent moon] is a competition between religious organisations, to strengthen their position, social legitimacy and religious authority in the public sphere. The government has to take the initiative to compromise the policy between the two Islamic organisations to reach a methodological agreement in order to minimise social tensions.

Contribution: This article proposed that understanding the ru’yat and hisab as a symbol of contestation becomes an attribute of religious organisations and part of organisational behaviour and culture.


contestation; religious symbols; hisab; ru’yat; public sphere


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