President Rodrigo R. Duterte has urged local Muslims to promote solidarity with their fellow Filipinos.
The President issued the call on the occasion of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which started today, May 17.
Ramadan fasting is an annual 30-day religious obligation for adult Muslims, during which they totally abstain from food, drinks, smoking, and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset.
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In this summer of 2018, that means not having food or anything that will invalidate one’s fast for about 15 hours.
Chapter II, Verse 183 (Surah al-Baqarah), of the Holy Qur’an of Islam, says:
“O you who believe, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous (God-conscious.”
A Ramadan schedule for “shuhoor” (early breakfast before dawn) and “iftar” (after sunset meal to breakfast) shows that no one should eat after 3:57 a.m. until the call for the early evening Maghreb prayers. (The timing changes as the month rolls on.)
The President said as Muslims demonstrate Islam’s noble teachings, he voiced hopes that they remain constant in doing good deeds helping the poor and society’s marginalized members.
“I ask that you foster a sense of solidarity among all Filipinos by manifesting faith through action. Let us join hands in the shared task of nation-building as we make the Philippines a more inclusive, peaceful and united country in the years to come,” Duterte, who has time and again cited his bloodline with the Moros (Muslim Filipinos).
He said he joins his Muslim brothers and sisters in this season of “devotion and contemplation.”
The President added:
“As we set forth into an era of change, one must make sacrifices not only to overcome personal difficulties but also to create meaningful and lasting strides in our communities.”
He noted Ramadan’s significance in the lives of Islam’s believers, saying through performing fasting and prayer, this significant event reveals to them Allah’s will as they renew their resolve to attain spiritual cleansing and growth.
Around the world, meanwhile, prominent among the countries that started the Ramadan fast on May 17 include the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, and Indonesia, among others.
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Ramadan is the ninth and the holiest month in Islam’s Hijra calendar, which is based on the cycles of the moon; thus, every first and last day of Muslim months are determined by the sighting of the crescent moon.
Muslims around the world observe fasting to commemorate the revelation of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan and get closer to their faith and Allah (God in Arabic).
Ustadhz Abdulhadi Daguit, a commissioner at the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) under the Office of the President, said fasting in Ramadan is also all about developing stronger “Taqwa” or God-consciousness, or righteousness.
While fasting is obligatory to adult Muslims, an exemption is made for those pregnant, have a monthly period, sick, on travel, but they have to replace the fast they missed in equal numbers in some later days, he added.
It is not only foregoing food or water, Ramadan is also as much a season for spiritual reflection, prayer, good deeds, and spending time with family and friends.
During “iftar,” is common for families to invite some neighbors or friends to join them in breaking the fast.
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Muslims also practice and increase restraint by abstaining from sexual relations during the daytime, as well as refraining from evil thoughts and backbiting, or sinful speech and behavior.
Fasting (As-Sawm) during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.