CEBUANO Muslims observed the start of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, which signifies a month of fasting, almsgiving and frugal living, on Thursday, March 23, 2023.
Datu Abubacar Gunang, development management officer of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), told SunStar Cebu that the date of the first day of Ramadan was set following sightings of the new moon.
“We conducted a moon sighting. We are thankful that last night, the Pagasa pronounced that the moon was sighted in the Philippines and Indonesia,” he said.
Gunang said the date for Ramadan changes each year because Muslims follow the Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle or phases of the moon.
As a result, the appearance of the crescent moon determines the commencement and conclusion of the month of Ramadan.
Gunang said Cebuano Muslims should observe fasting during Ramadan as it is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Alongside fasting, the other pillars are the declaration of faith, the five daily prayers, almsgiving, and doing the “hajj” or pilgrimage to Mecca.
He said Muslims who observe Ramadan should abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sexual intercourse between sunrise and dusk for 29 or 30 days.
Gunang also encouraged Cebuano Muslims to avoid prohibited acts, including gossiping, during Ramadan.
Around dusk, Muslim families assemble for “iftar,” or the breaking of the fast, and many mosques provide the needy with free communal meals.
After the fast, many Muslims gather at mosques for “tarawih,” or Ramadan prayers.
The fast is considered obligatory for all Muslims over the age of puberty. Although children are exempt, parents are encouraged to gradually get them used to it.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, and the sick are allowed to delay their fast, but must resume it as soon as they have the chance, Gunang added.
On the final day of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the end of the fasting month with the holiday Eid al-Fitr, which translates as “the Festival of Breaking the Fast.” The Presidential Communications Office announced on Wednesday that April 20, 2023 will be considered a regular holiday to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
Eid’l Fitr is a significant celebration of Islam and was first declared as a national holiday in November 2002 by Republic Act 9177 to honor the Islamic heritage of the country.
Cebuano Muslims at the Sittie Mariam Masjed mosque in Pahina Central in Cebu City attend the first Dhuhr or the afternoon prayer since the start of Ramadan today, Thursday, March 23, 2023. Ramadan is the ninth and holiest month in the Islamic calendar, marked by Muslims as a month of piety, charity and thriftiness. / KJF
March 23, 2023
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