Sunio: Ramadhan and national elections


MAY 6 has signaled the start of this year’s Ramadhan, the Muslim holy month of prayer and fasting. In seven days will also be the May 13 national elections.

I wonder if the holiness of Ramadhan may influence this year’s elections, even if it would only be in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) regions?

Ramadhan is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar for the Muslim world. It is also one of the five pillars of Islam and is an important foundation of the Muslim faith. The practice of Ramadhan is supposed to be a deep spiritual experience for Muslims around the globe.

Most non-Muslims recognize Ramadhan as a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset for 30 days, but the practice is more than just abstaining from food and water and steering clear from immoral acts and anger. It is supposed to be a month of self-reflection and contemplation among Muslims; an opportunity to reconnect with God, be good, and to show goodness.

With the infamous reputation of local and national elections as “dirty”, perhaps we can hope that with Ramadhan on going, maybe this year’s elections will become better and “cleaner”, at least in the BARMM region?

Perhaps, the danger that lurk during elections will drop; vote buying, harassment, political killings, bigotry, and other election-related violence and crimes would decline, if not eliminated.

But not to be pessimistic, I still think it depends on how much the people can see.

Even if it were a holy month, as long as the malevolent acts are not laid out in the open, these offenses may still continue to operate and even thrive in secret.

It is no longer the holiness of the days nor what purification observances a believer does. It is what ideologies and means a political candidate is living for.

It is no longer the act of being pure and holy. It is winning, ensuring a spot in the political arena, and in making sure that people see you as pure, honest and holy.

If a candidate prioritizes fair and honest means over winning, then it is good. But even if we are in the month of Ramadhan, if a candidate is desperate and would do any and every means of winning, incuding malicious ones – without tarnishing his or her reputation – then I still feel sorry for the BARMM region. (Email me at


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