THE Darul Ifta of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao declared that today, June 5th, is Eid Al-Fitr, or Hari Raya Buka. This holiday usually commemorates the end of the month of Ramadhan and is met with celebrations for Muslims all over the world.
As far as I can remember, there has been some debate on when the Holy month starts and when it ends. And whether Eid was today, or yesterday, and they cite sources that are both personal and religious in nature. The official holiday as declared by Malancañang is for today, but this depends on where you are in the world. In most countries in the Gulf Region, it has been announced earlier.
As human as we are, we have different ways of interpreting our values and our principles. Difference in opinion is a human default. Thus, we need to learn how to deal with our religious differences and we should start with our Madrasah education. We need to encourage critical thinking, and to appreciate different kinds of perspectives as valid and reasonable as our own. The Prophet (SAW) once declared that, in the ummah, “difference of opinion is a blessing.”
These differences of opinion are found within and outside of Islam. This is why it is important to conduct intra-and-interreligious dialogue with each other, whether one is Christian, Muslim or Lumad.
Using theological or philosophical arguments to make one’s point across is encouraged, but not to the point where our relationships will suffer. In our conduct of salah, or in our viewpoints on certain hadiths, we must remember that we are still brothers and sisters in Islam and in humanity. We must learn to use reasoning and understanding to build bridges, not to break them.
Logic, or mantiq, is highly valued and encouraged in Islam. During the Middle Ages, Islamic scholars were developing and formulating keystone theories and principles. Innovations in mathematics, science, and philosophy were made then, and we use this information to this day.
Our differences are part of our mandate, as Muslims, to seek knowledge. We cannot truly learn if we are surrounded by those who agree with us. For social structures such as the Bangsamoro Parliament, a difference of opinion in legislation helps strengthen our laws. Pluralism in our government, in such a way, benefits the people.
For us to seek knowledge, we can encourage and recommend to our members of parliament policy and laws that could be beneficial to our people. One way to settle theological debates on the moon sighting before Eid, for example, could be in strengthening our Madrasah education. We can also strengthen the mandate of the Darul Ifta and the ulama as an institution that can provide religious and spiritual guidance.
That way, research and development can be made towards accurate moon sightings, interpretations, and readings. The Ministry of Science and Technology can work together with the Darul Ifta to provide accurate sightings, allowing the Chief Minister to announce the accurate dates for Ramadhan and for Eid.
These are only suggestions, but as members of the Bangsamoro parliament and lawmakers of our country, we would want to also include more people into the discussion. We value the opinion of others, especially our naysayers and those with different opinions. Let us work together to create laws that benefit our people, and allow us to see the humanity in each and every one of us.