STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE SOP IN DETE (1)

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STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE (

SOP

) IN DETERMINING

THE ARRIVAL OF SHAWWAL IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

Shahir Akram Hassan1

Center for Islamic Development Management Studies (ISDEV) Universiti Sains Malaysia

11800 Pulau Pinang

Tel: 04-6532661 Faks: 04-6532124

E-mail: shahirakram@usm.my / shahir_isdev@yahoo.com

Mohd Shukri Hanapi2

Center for Islamic Development Management Studies (ISDEV) Universiti Sains Malaysia

11800 Pulau Pinang

Tel: 04-6532661 Faks: 04-6532124 E-mail: hshukri@usm.my / hshukeri@yahoo.com

Abstract

Any subject relating to religion is usually under the jurisdiction of the Sultan or ruler. Every country has a religious institution in executing religious matter. Among the subjects considered as religious matter is the determination of the arrival of Shawwal. In determining the beginning of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam, there surely is a predetermined SOP. The question is what is the SOP in determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam? Under which enactment is it allocated? Who is involved in executing the SOP? To answer all of these questions, this study has two main objectives. First, to identify the SOP of determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam; second, to analyze the application of the SOP in determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam. In order to achieve these objectives, this qualitative study adopted the method of literature review and interview of experts in collecting data. All data were analyzed using content analysis method. Finally, this paper concludes that the determination of the arrival of Shawwal is based on Mimbar Fatwa 5 Negara Brunei Darussalam, and allocated under 29 of the Syariah Courts Act 1998. The Chief Syari’e

Judge is responsible in the rukyah of the new moon with the help of the Syariah Judges, Officers of the Survey Department, Ministry of Development and the Officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Because Brunei Darussalam used the rukyah method solely, it has its own SOP in accordance to the principle of fatwa and the allocated act.

Keywords: method, determining, rukyah, hisab, moon, standard operating procedure (SOP)

1 Shahir Akram Hassan is a senior lecturer at the Center for Islamic Development Management Studies (ISDEV),

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Pulau Pinang.

2 Mohd Shukri Hanapi is a senior lecturer at the Center for Islamic Development Management Studies (ISDEV),

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28 Introduction

For the Muslims, the calculation of month is according to the Qamari (lunar)calendar. It is also known as Takwim Qamari. It adopted the movement of the moon around the earth as the basis in forming a calendar (Baharrudin Zainal, 2004). Takwim Qamari marked important events in Islamic history. It started from the emigration of Rasulullah SAW from Makkah to Madinah in the month of Muharram 622 H (Azam Torab, 2007). A month is usually consisted of 29 or 30 days, forming 354 days a year and 355 days every leap year. There are at least three important months in Takwim Qamari that required precise determination of its beginning which are Ramadan, Shawwal and Dzulhijjah. Starting from the first of Ramadan, Muslims are required to fast for a month. While the first of Shawwal is Eid al-fitr for the Muslims and it is forbidden for them to fast. The beginning of Dzulhijjah determined the day of Eid al-Adha which falls on the 10th of Dzulhijjah and three days of Tasyrik afterwards. Due to the possibility of confusion, a clear Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is required in the determination of the beginning of the important months for Muslim countries especially in the determination of the beginning of Shawwal. This paper aims to discuss the SOP in determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam. To discuss the SOP for determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam, this study has two main objectives First, to identify the SOP for determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam; second, to analyze the application of the SOP in determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam.

In order to achieve the designated objectives, this qualitative study involves both primary and secondary data. Primary data are obtained through interviews with two respondents. The first respondent, Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali, Acting Chief Registrar of the Syariah Appeal Court, Brunei Darussalam was interviewed on the 27th of January 2015; and the second

respondent, Awang Haji Julaihi Haji Lamat, Acting Senior Surveyor, Head of Geodetic Section, Survey Department, Ministry of Development Brunei Darussalam was interviewed on the 28th of January 2015. Both respondents were selected through the method of purposive

sampling. Once the respondents were identified, they were interviewed using the semi-structured expert interview method in order to obtain data relating to the basic use and SOP for determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam. Whereas the secondary data were obtained via library research. All the data were analysed using the content analysis method.

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THE METHOD OF DETERMINING THE ARRIVAL OF SHAWWAL

The Hilal (new moon) becomes the determinant to the arrival of Shawwal and other months in

Takwin Qamari. This is according to the word of Allah SWT which means:

“They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, "They are

measurements of time for the people and for Hajj." (Al-Baqarah 2:189).

The determination of the arrival of a new month in establishing the start of the fasting month and Eid is indicated in tradition by the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad through the method of sighting the Hilal. This is also described in the Hadith, regarding to the time when the Muslims needed to define the beginning of Ramadan, that says:

"Start fasting on seeing the crescent (of Ramadan), and give up fasting on seeing the crescent (of Shawwal), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it),

complete thirty days of Sha'ban.” (Hadith Riwayat al-Bukhariy, hadith no.1909).

According to the above hadith, the origin of the statute of the beginning of Ramadan or Shawwal is subject to rukyah hilal. Rukyah literally means sight. In term of its terminology,

rukyah means sighting the hilal (new moon) after the sunset of the end of a Hijri month for the purpose of determining the begining of a month (Baharrudin Zainal, 2004). Furthermore, hilal

can also be predicted through the method of hisab. Hisab literally means count or calculation. The definition of hisab in terms of its terminology is the use of a quantative method to calculate and predict the position of hilal (new moon) through scientific rationale (Baharrudin Zainal, 2004). This method of hisab is based on the hadith of the prophet p.b.u.h. that was reported from Abdullah bin Umar r.a.:

“Allah's Messenger mentioned Ramadan and said, "Do not fast unless you see the

crescent (of Ramadan), and do not give up fasting till you see the crescent (of Shawwal), but if the sky is overcast (if you cannot see it), then act on estimation

(i.e. count Sha'ban as 30 days).” (Hadith Riwayat al-Bukhariy, hadith no. 1906)

According to Mohammad Ilyas (1984;1997), from this concept of rukyah and hisab, there are at least three methods of determining the arrival of Shawwal. First, sighting hilal (new moon) physically (Rukyah); second, sighting the new moon based on astronomy (Hisab); third, sighting the new moon based on physical-astronomy (Rukyah and Hisab)3. For those who solely use rukyah as the basis for determining the arrival of Shawwal, if the moon is not sighted, then the beginning of the month is determined by rounding up the current month to 30 days. For the

hisab only method, the determination depends on the results of astronomical data to help predict the date of the new moon appearence. The method of hisab and rukyah is that if the position of

3 All three methods are also agreed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi in his book, Fiqh al-Siyam. He also submitted arguments

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the moon met the sighting criteria (the imkan al-hilal criteria) and the new moon is not sighted, then the beginning of the month is set by hisab.

At this time, the determination of the beginning of Shawwal all over the world is based on three practices discussed earlier, namely; first, the method of rukyah only as adopted by the Arab countries and Brunei. Second, the method of hisab-astronomy only as practiced in the United States, Australia and Singapore. Third, the method Rukyah and Hisab as practiced by Malaysia and Indonesia.

THE BASIS OF DETERMINING THE ARRIVAL OF SHAWWAL IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

Brunei Darussalam’s stance and regulations in the determination of the beginning of religious

months such as Ramadan, Shawwal and Dzulhijjah is using rukyah. Rukyahhilal is done on the 29th day of the month after sunset. If the new moon is failed to be seen, the month should be rounded up to 30 days. In this case, the method of hisab is only used as a guide for estimation and should not be used to convict the beginning of the month eventhough the position of the moon meets the criteria of imkan al-rukyah (Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali interview on 27 January 2015).

According to Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali (interview on 27 January 2015) and Awang Haji Julaihi Haji Lamat (interview on 28 Januari 2015), among the arguments that are relied upon in the use of rukyah in Brunei Darussalam are as follows:

First: The words of Allah SWT which mean:

“So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it” (Al-Baqarah, 2:185)

Second: the Hadith of the prophet pbuh that means:

It was reported by Abdullah bin Dinar r.a that Rasulullah SAW said: “A month has

29 nights,(so) do not start fasting until you see it (the crescent), and if the sky is overcast (and you cannot see it), complete (the month) to thirty (days). (Hadith al-Bukhariy, Hadith no. 1909)

According to Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali (interview on 27 January 2015), according to the testaments of the Qur’an dan Hadith above, YDP Dato Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Haji Awang Ismail bin Omar Abd Aziz, the Mufti of Brunei Darussalam issued a fatwa4 as follow:

“The hadith regarding the start of fasting and breaking fast (eid) are too many,

so these hadith explain that the obligation of fasting and breaking fast is relied by Allah upon the sighting of the new moon, not the new moon itself, or mathematical calculation, or astronomy, it is forbidden to precede a month, fasting before sighting the new moon, it is forbidden to rush to the fasting month suddenly without sighting the new moon or without completing the 30

4 Mimbar Fatwa 5: Koleksi Fatwa Allahyarham YDP Dato Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Haji Awang Ismail bin

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days count, it is forbidden to rush into breaking fast before sighting the new moon of Shawwal, or completing 30 days of Ramadan, this is the true qawl

(opinion) that al-Imam Ibn Hajar r.a. said: Since these are true and legitimate Hadith, with many reporters, on fasting and breaking fast in the condition of sighting the new moon or completing the number of months to 30 days [and we] should never blindly follow al-Imam Ahmad” (Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali interview on 27 January 2015)

According to the dalil in the Quran, Hadith and Fatwa, YDP Dato Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Haji Awang Ismail bin Omar Abd Aziz clearly shown that Brunei Darussalam firmly

adhere to the opinion of the Shafi’i Madhab where the determination of the arrival of Shawwal can only be done when rukyah hilal is convicted with naked eye. This is further strengthened by the result of the Senior Officers Meeting and the fourth unofficial meeting of Ministers of Religion from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesian Republic, Malaysia, and Singapore (MABIMS)5 held in Brunei Darussalam on the 6th to 7th of August 1993 at Bandar Seri Begawan. The meeting resulted in the Guideline of Hisab Rukyah for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Among the decision made in the execution of rukyah is:

“In addition to mathematics, rukyah is carried out to determine the beginning of

Ramadan, Shawwal and Dhu al-Hijjah with the following note:

Rukyah of the beginning of Dzulhijjah is done to review the result of hisab, not to determine the arrival of a new month, except for Brunei Darussalam.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore unanimously agreed that if the position of the moon has already met the criteria as number II.I (imkan al-rukyah criteria) above and the moon is failed to be seen, so the beginning of a month is decided according to hisab; while for Brunei Darussalam, the beginning of a month is decided by

completing the month to 30 days.

The imkan al-rukyah criteria for the MABIMS country are as follow. First, the new moon is at the height of no more than 2 degree of the western horizon during sunset. Second, the curve length between the new moon and the sun during sunset is no more than 3 degree, or the age of the new moon during the moon set on the day of rukyah is no more than 8 hours after the congregation.

As an example, referring to figure 1 which is a result of an observation on the 29th of Ramadan 1432 Hijriyyah (29 August 2011), even though imkan al-rukyah criteria is met, considering that Brunei Darussalam adopts the opinion of using naked eyes rukyah, so if hilal cannot be sighted, then it is compulsory to round up Ramadan to 30 days.

5 MABIMS is an acronym to Ministers of Religion of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapura. It

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Position Date Hour Minute

Congregation 29 August 2011 3 5 UT

First Quarter 4 September 2011 18 4 UT

Full Moon 12 September 2011 9 27 UT

Third Quarter 20 September 2011 14 4 UT

Congregation 29 August 2011 11 5 LT

First Quarter 5 September 2011 2 4 LT

Full Moon 12 September 2011 17 27 LT

Third Quarter 20 September 2011 22 4 LT

The Age of Hilal at Sunset 7 24

Figure 1: Data of the result of Hilal Hisab on the 29th of Ramadhan 1432 Hijriyyah i.e. 29 August 2011

Figure 1 shows the result of hisab on 29 Ramadan 1432 Hijriyyah i.e. 29 August 2011. From the point of hisab, imkan al-rukyah criteria can be fulfilled, however, hilal cannot be sighted with naked eyes. So, the beginning of Shawwal cannot be announced according to the practice of Brunei Darussalam which requires sighting of hilal with naked eyes before the arrival of Shawwal can be announced.

In conclusion, Brunei Darussalam’s practice in determining the arrival of Shawwal is by solely

using rukyah. Rukyah is done on the 29th of Ramadhan in order to determine the arrival of Shawwal. If hilal is failed to be seen, Brunei Darussalam will round up the month to 30 days

consistent with the hadith and Shafi’I Madhab opinion. While hisab, in Brunei authority

opinion, is only used as a calculation guideline and not to convict the start of a month even if the moon position fulfilled the criteria of imkan al-rukyah (Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali interview on 27 January 2015).

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE (SOP) IN DETERMINING THE ARRIVAL

OF SHAWWAL IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

In order to carry out the SOP of determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam, at

least two parties are involved directly. First, the Chief Syari’e Judge as well as YDP of Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) who is also the Minister of Religion of Brunei Darussalam. While the parties involved in the observation consist of those from the Syariah Courts, State Mufti of Brunei Darussalam and officials of the Survey Department, Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Development. However, in accordance to the fatwa of YDP Dato Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Haji Awang Ismail bin Omar Abd Aziz, the power entrusted to the Chief

Syari’e Judge as written in Paragraph 184, Chapter 29 of the Syariah Court Act, Brunei Darussalam set a regulation as follow:

“It should be the responsibility of the Chief Syari’e Judge, during or around

the beginning and the end of each month, to perform an investigation in order to determine the date of the new months when rukyah can happen and to investigate which days the new moon maybe sighted and then to convict and

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For the given authority, it is the responsibility of the Chief Syari’e Judge during or around the

beginning of each month to perform 4 matters. First, to perform an investigation in order to determine the date of the new months when rukyah can happen. Second, to perform an investigation on any of the day when the new moon can be sighted. Third, to convict and confirm the result of rukyah with his signature. Fourth, to inform the conviction and confirmation of the rukyah to YDP Majlis (Minister of Religion). (Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali Interview on 27 January 2015)

For the investigative process, the Chief Syari’e Judge can collaborate with Survey department

in calculating and preparing for the data of rukyah. Besides that, it is also under the jurisdiction

of the Chief Syari’e Judge to set the locations for the purpose of hilal observation. So far, there

are four observation stations that are used which are; first, Bukit Shahbandar, Brunei Muara; second, Bukit Agok, Brunei Muara; Bukit Amboq, Tutong; and fourth, Bukit Lumut, Belait (Awang Haji Julaihi Haji Lamat interview on 28 January 2015). The Chief Syari’e Judge may direct and place the officers of Syariah Court consisting of the Syariah Judges to lead the group in observing the hilal in each location of hilal observation. Under the supervision of the Syariah Judges, the officers of the court, Syariah Court of Brunei Darussalam, the officers of Brunei Darussalam Mufti Department, the officers of the Ministry of Religion of Brunei Darussalam, District officers and the officers of the Survey Department, the Ministry of Development of Brunei Darussalam will be invited to join the observation process (Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali interview on 27 January 2015).

Once the observation time ended, the Syariah Judges assigned to the location will inform the

result of the observation to the Chief Syari’e Judge, then the Chief Syari’e Judge will make a

decision that will be informed to the YDP Majlis Ugama Islam Brunei Darussalam (MUIB) who is also the Minister of Religion of Brunei Darussalam to be presented in front of Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan. Once it is approved by Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan, the result of the new moon sighting will be announced to the people through a live radio and television broadcast by the Syariah High-Court Judge (Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali interview on 27 January 2015).

According to Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali (interview on 27 January 2015), he insisted that the rukyah method practiced in Brunei Darussalam uses the naked eye and observation instrument such as astronomy instrument. Even though Brunei Darussalam practices the sighting of hilal through naked eyes with the help of optical instruments such as binocular, telescope, and teodit, Awang Haji Julaihi Haji Lamat (interview on 28 January 2015) suggested that this matter should be referred to the Mufti of Brunei Darussalam in order to obtain the law on the validity of sighting the hilal using the more sophisticated astronomy instruments such as a telescope. He also wished to ask for the opinion of the Mufti of Brunei Darussalam regarding the sighting of the new moon using the observation instruments involving computers and live LCD projection (Awang Haji Julaihi Haji Lamat, 2015).

In fact, in the 9th Rukyah and Takwim Committee Meeting on 19-20 Mei 1998 in Singapore, the delegation from Brunei Darussalam6 reported that at the time (1998), they were using

6 Delegation from Brunei Darussalam who attended the 9th Rukyah and Takwim Committee Meeting on 19-20

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telescope for rukyah on every Hijriyyah month. The result is definitely still unsatisfactory. However, this rukyah activities were performed every 29th and 30th Hijriyyah to test their accuracy and calculation. Thereby, the delegation from Brunei Darussalam had decided to obtain digital telescopes such as the ones used in Malaysia in order to enhance the effort in sighting through telescopes (Direktorat Pembinaan Badan Peradilan Agama Islam, 2001:58). In conclusion, the flowchart of the SOP in determining the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei is as follow:

Figure 1: Flowchart of the Process of Determining the Arrival of Shawwal in Brunei

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Based on the flowchart, it is clearly shown that a Chief Syar'ie Judge plays an important role in the process of determining the beginning of Shawwal in Brunei. Starting with the investigation conducted by the Chief Syar'ie Judge in collaboration with the Survey Department, it is then followed by observations by the officials appointed through the order of the Chief Syar'ie Judge who are assigned at each location. Next, the results of the observations are submitted to the

Chief Syari’e Judge and the Mufti of Brunei Darussalam, followed by the communication of

the information to the YDP of Brunei Islamic Religious Council by the Chief Syar'ie Judge, to be then presented to the Sultan of Brunei and the YDP of Brunei Darussalam government. If the Sultan and the YDP of Brunei approve of the overall results reported, the Syari’e High Court Judge will announce the result of the observation to the people.

CONCLUSION

From the above discussion, the SOP in the determination of the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam is shown to be an organized, thorough procedure and is able to meet the requirements demanded by Islam in the determination of the arrival of Shawwal in Brunei Darussalam. From the findings of the conducted survey and interviews, at least there are three things that can be inferred. First, Brunei Darussalam in accordance with the opinion of the Shafi'i Madhab used rukyah in convicting the sighting of the new moon in the determination of

the arrival of Shawwal. Secondly, the authority is given to the Chief Syari’e Judge who has the

final say in accordance with the responsibility of judges in Islamic government. Thirdly, in line with Brunei Darussalam's believe in only using the rukyah method, the SOP used are also consistent with the principles that has been set in consideration to the agreement discussed by MABIMS despite of not being followed completely.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This paper is a part of research findings of a study entitled The Application of Rukyah and

Hisab in South East Asia [(RUI)1001/CISDEV/816269] and was financed by the Research

University Individual (RUI) grant, Universiti Sains Malaysia (2015–2016).

REFERENCES

Azam Torab. (2007). Performing Islam: Gender and Ritual In Iran. The Netherlands: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.

Baharrudin Zainal. (2004). Ilmu Falak. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Direktorat Pembinaan Badan Peradilan Agama Islam (2001). Himpunan Hasil Musyawarah Jawatankuasa Penyelarasan Rukyat dan Taqwim Islam Negara Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia dan Singapura (MABIMS) Ke-1 Sampai Ke-10. Jakarta, Indonesia: Department Agama Republik Indonesia.

Mohd Saiful Anwar Mohd Nawawi, Mohammaddin Abdul Niri, and Mohd Zambri Zainuddin (2014). "Kenampakan Anak Bulan di Teluk Kemang: Analisis Mengikut Pandangan Fiqh Oleh Yusuf al-Qaradawi dan Perspektif Astronomi," Jurnal Syariah 21, no. 1.

Muhammad Ilyas. (1984). A Modern Guide to Astronomical Calculation of Islamic Calendar, Times, and Qibla. Kuala Lumpur: Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd.

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36 INTERVIEW LIST

An interview with Awang Haji Hassan Haji Metali, Acting Chief Registrar, Syariah Appeal Court, Brunei Darussalam, on 27 January 2015, carried out in the Acting Chief Registrar's Office, Syariah Appeal Court, Brunei Darussalam

An interview with Awang Haji Julaihi Haji Lamat, Acting Senior Surveyor, Head of Geodetic, Department of Survey, Ministry of Development Brunei Darussalam, on 28 January 2015, carried out in the Acting

Figur

Figure 1: Data of the result of Hilal Hisab on the 29 th of Ramadhan 1432 Hijriyyah i.e

Figure 1:

Data of the result of Hilal Hisab on the 29 th of Ramadhan 1432 Hijriyyah i.e p.6
Figure 1: Flowchart of the Process of Determining the Arrival of Shawwal in Brunei

Figure 1:

Flowchart of the Process of Determining the Arrival of Shawwal in Brunei p.8

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