Muslim unity urged as Ramadan nears

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RELIGIOUS leaders in Mindanao on Sunday called on the Muslim community to unite in preparation for the holy month of Ramadan.

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The Regional Darul Ifta (Islamic House of Opinion) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RDI-ARMM) conducted a three-day National Ulama [Muslim scholars] Ramadan Forum on moon sighting in Zamboanga City urging Muslims to unite while marking the beginning day of fasting.

The activity, themed “Unity of Ulama: A Necessity to Achieve Peace and Development,” gathered Muslim preachers from ARMM and other areas in the country attended by ARMM’s Department of Education (DepEd) for Madaris Undersecretary Alzad Sattar.

Saad Amate, member of the RDI-ARMM, said “our ulama and other Muslim preachers in the country should join our call to unite, so that we can have one bind decisions for the country,” citing disunity of Muslim Filipinos in marking the beginning dates of Ramadan fasting and Eid-al-Fitr [festival for breaking the month-long fasting].

The first day of Ramadan fasting and Eid al-Fitr varies on lunar sightings from different locations due to the cycle of the moon.

In Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, moon sighting agencies that uses current technologies believed the methodology for calculating the beginning and end of Ramadan in the Holy City of Makkah can be applied anywhere.

Most of the Muslim Filipinos are usually following what is being declared in Saudi Arabia, the custodian of the two Holy Mosques, but others are still insisting on the local physical sighting of the moon that makes Muslims here begin fasting in different dates.

Last Wednesday, a state-owned news agency of the United Arab Emirates (WAM) reported that the Holy month of Ramadan will start on June 29 [Sunday] and that the Eid-al-Fitr will begin on July 28 [Monday] as announced by the Sharjah Planetarium.

However, according to Amate, the RDI-ARMM decided by majority votes that the moon sighting here will join the neighboring Southeast Asian countries by June 27 [Friday] and the decision will be announced the same day at 9:00 – 9:30 p.m.

The declaration will be pronounced by Muftis, Muslim cleric leaders and issuer of fatwas [Islamic legal pronouncement], in each provinces in the country through coordinating committee organized by the RDI-ARMM.

RDI-ARMM was created to unite ulama from various religious groups in ARMM under one umbrella institution for them to be in charge of Muslim affairs in ARMM and be involved in the social services.

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