Malaysian Muhammadiyah Urged to Fast in Secrecy

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  • The people of Muhammadiyah carry out their first tarawih prayer. TEMPO/Eko Siswono Toyudho

    The people of Muhammadiyah carry out their first tarawih prayer. TEMPO/Eko Siswono Toyudho

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Even though the Central Executives of Muhammadiyah have set the start date of fasting month to fall on Tuesday, July 9 2013, the Chairman of the Special Branch of Malaysian Muhammadiyah (PCIM) has allowed his followers in the country to choose whether they would prefer to start fasting on July 9 or July 10.

    "Because we reside in a foreign country, the PCIM gives liberty to the Malaysians to choose the beginning of Ramadan," the Chairman of PCIM, Arifin Ismail, declared in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. "Half of the Muhammadiyah believers in Malaysia will start fasting today, while the other half will start tomorrow."

    Arifin claimed that his decision to allow his people to choose was to adapt with the decision of the Malaysian monarch who set the early date of Ramadan on Wednesday. "In Malaysia, the beginning date of the fasting month is determined by the King. Both the government and the opposition are obliged to follow the King's decision, especially foreign people," he explained. Last year, Malaysia's government enforced this rule by capturing people who chose to begin fasting earlier.

    To keep Muhammadiyah followers safe in Malaysia, Arifin urged those who begin fasting today to not reveal it in front of the public and to conduct their tarawih prayers at their homes or in musalas (small mosques).

    On the other hand, Malaysia King's spokesman Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad informed that the beginning of fasting month this year has been determined to fall on Wednesday, July 10.

    MASRUR (KUALA LUMPUR)