MARAWI CITY: About 5 million Filipino Muslims, or 5 percent of the country’s population, started observing the holy month of Ramadan Monday, although clerics failed to see the moon on Sunday.
The Regional Darul Ifta’ in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RDI-ARMM) declared the start of Ramadan based on the sighting of the moon in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
“They announced that the beginning of Ramadan is on Monday, so we decided that Monday is the first day of Ramadan,” ARMM’s Grand Mufti Abulkhair Tarason said.
“May the Almighty Allah help us in fasting, accept our good deeds, and pray for our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, his kinsfolk and those who follow him until the hereafter,” he added.
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. greeted Filipino Muslims and urged them to “rise above the barriers of different cultures and faith.”
“To all our Muslim brothers and sisters, my greetings of peace as you observe the holy month of Ramadan. As you go through the spiritual process of purification through fasting, reflection, devotion, generosity and sacrifice may Allah bless you with enlightenment, forgiveness, mercy and peace, bringing you closer to Him and to all your Filipino brothers and sisters,” Marcos said in a statement.
“For truly, as our entire nation faces the crossroads of change, it is even more imperative for us to rise above the barriers of different cultures and faith so we may live together, as one nation, in harmony and progress,” he added.
Other Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates also declared Monday the start of Ramadan.
Last week, Muslim scholars, scientists, astronomers and decision makers from 50 countries including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Qatar, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan decided on the application of a single calendar.
The three-day International United Hijri Calendar Congress event was organized by the Office of the President of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) in Istanbul aimed at ending the decades-long disputes on Hijri (lunar) Calendar in the Islamic world and other Islamic unity agenda.
“The congress has ruled for unity. It has decided for the application of a single calendar. May this bring blessings to the Islamic world,” President of Diyanet Prof. Mehmet Görmez was quoted as saying in a global online report.
Görmez said that the decision will enable Muslims worldwide to observe and celebrate events at the same time, including the start and end of Ramadan.
The observance of fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, in which Muslims are obliged to practice “self-sacrifice” by abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk.
Other rites during the holy month include evening congregational prayer called Taraweeh, wherein long portions of the Qur’an are recited.