Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. An estimated 11% of the Philippine population or almost 10 million Filipinos belong to the Islamic faith according to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.
Here are some things you need to know:
- Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon. This 2018, the beginning of Ramadan fell on May 17. The day (actually night) is called Hilal or the crescent (night).
- Ramadan commemorates the period of the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad. The holiest night of Ramadan is “Laylat al-Qadr” or the Night of Power when the first verses of the Qur’an were given to the Prophet.
- Ramadan lasts for 30 days.
- Muslims are required to abstain from eating for 15 hours a day. However, meals can be eaten at the two set times for “Suhur” (dawn breakfast) and “Iftar” (post-sunset meal). No one is allowed to eat anything from 3:57 AM until after the evening prayer.
- Not all Muslims are required to fast. Exempted from fasting are the elderly, the sick, the pregnant, women with their monthly period, and travelers.
- Muslims are encouraged to intensify their prayers, do more good deeds, and abstain from any wrongdoing during Ramadan.
- Ramadan ends with the Eid’l Fitr, a day of celebration.
For non-Muslims, it will be good to be sensitive to our Muslim brothers and sisters by not insisting food on them during the day. You can also respect their silences and economy of movement because they are conserving their strength for the day’s work. You can join them for Iftar, though.
For the Ramadan 2018 schedule, you may visit the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.
To everyone, Ramadan Kareem!
Dom writes for pay by day and writes for passion by night. He is a Japan major at the University of the Philippines. He’s fond of ramen and anime but not of nice people.