By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Muslims worldwide will start Ramadan fasting Monday to fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam, enhance spirituality against worldly ills, and gain salvation in the life hereafter.
National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan said the Philippine grand mufti (Islamic jurist) and counterparts around the globe have not sighted the Ramadan moon in simultaneous monitoring on Sunday.
“The non-sighting of the new moon on Sunday means that the first day of Ramadan and the start of mandatory fast falls on Monday,” Sec. Pangarungan said.
Because of the “great importance” of Ramadan, he said, President Rodrigo Duterte was expected to issue an official statement greeting the Muslim Filipinos and other Islamic faithful worldwide.
The Cotabato City-based office here of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim issued on Friday a memorandum enjoining all government workers in BARMM areas on the usual adjustments in office works prescribed by the Civil Service Commission for Muslim during Ramadan.
Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar, is considered one of the most blessed months in Islam. The revelation of the Holy Quran was completed in this month.
Fasting for the whole month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. It was first mandated on all adult Muslims during the second year of Hijri (migration from Makkah to Madinah of Muslims).
The only people exempted from fasting on time are Muslims who are travelling, aged, pregnant, diabetic, chronically ill, and women who are menstruating or breast feeding. But fasting in later days is required for the travelers and women who were on menstrual period, pregnant, or lactating stage during Ramadan.
Islamic clerics said mandatory fasting is meant to teach Muslims the true essence of perseverance and tolerance. During Ramadan, they are required not only to refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, but also to curb all negative emotions like anger and prove themselves to be the perfect Muslim.
Ramadan is full of celebration and festivity as the Muslims immerse themselves in reading the Quran, making prayers, and spending maximum time doing dhikr (praising remembrance) for the Almighty Creator.
Ramadan fast culminates with the festive occasion of Eid il Fitr, during which Muslims would stage congregations to pray, celebrate successful observance and other festivities with religious fervor in gratitude to Allah (S.W.T.).