“Asked what are the things they longed for most in the Philippines, many replied that it is not their favorite food at all since some of these foods are available here in Jordan. What they really missed are the personal and special bonding they have with their families – their kids, wives, siblings and parents.”
By ABDUL QAHHAR DIMAPUNONG, World Islamic Science and Education University, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
AMMAN, Jordan, June 5 — THE sun has finally set on June 4 and everybody rushed to break the last iftar of the month of Ramadhan. Each felt a deep relief. Fasting as a pillar of Islam has been a very challenging ritual here in Jordan.
It requires one to undergo 16 hours of patience from abstaining from food and drinks.
That is far different from fasting in the Philippines. In our country, we take our iftar between 6 pm and 6:30 p.m.. In Jordan, it is 7:45 p.m., a time observed for Tarawi (early evening during Ramadhan) prayers in Manila.
Everybody is in a good mood. One is certain that after the last hurrah of iftar, we will finally be celebrating one of the only two Eid festivals allowed in Islam the next day. It is Eid’l Fitr (the Festival of Breaking Fast), our feast day. (The other is Eid’l Adha, celebrated at the culmination of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia.)
Eid’l Fitr is a day of joy. Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has emphasized that it is a day for food and drinks and that fasting on that day is haram or forbidden.
Groupie for posterity.
Eid’l Fitr is a day of family reunions, giving charity in the form “zakatul fitr,” sharing food to the poor and needy, visiting relatives and neighbors, foregoing other’s fault on us and granting forgiveness.
The Muslim Filipino community here in Jordan also celebrates Eid’l Fitr. Though only a minority from the 45,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are Muslims, Sharia students studying in reputable universities across the kingdom, like the World Islamic Science and Education University, Mu’tah University, and the University of Jordan, numbering 800 plus, strengthen the relationship between Filipinos and Jordanians.
Today’s Eid’l Fitr is another occasion which demonstrates the strong bond between these two nationalities.
Awaiting start of Eid prayers.
In Amman, Jordan’s capital, we we’re able to bond as a united brotherhood. Students coming from the cities of Manila, Marawi, Cotabato, Pagadian, Zamboanga Sibugay, Davao and Jolo all got together to pray in Musallah Masjid Ilmiya at the 2nd Circle.
The place is popular throughout the kingdom for it is a place where Filipinos meet.
When the Imam (prayer leader) delivered the sermon at the pulpit, everyone listened and reflected. The sermon emphasized the struggles Muslims underwent during Ramadhan. He stressed the importance of avoiding sins, valuing worship of Allah and feeling for the poor who have nothing in life.
Before the Eid prayers proper.
After the sermon and prayer, the celebration started. Culturally, Muslims come face to face and hug each other, as anywhere else in this world, and congratulate each one with words: “Taqabballahu minni wa minkum,” may Allah accept it from me and from us our fasting.
Exchanging hugs for the hundreds of friends present in the occasion, one could feel the spirit of brotherhood Islam provided us with.
Maranaos, Maguindanaons, Tausogs, Yakans, Samals and Kagans all bound with a single purpose to study Islam in Jordan, once again reunited as a single Bangsa (Nation) of Mindanao.
Such was a wonderful experience for our people abroad, especially on the part of the young ulama, scholars in Islam.
Some of the Filipino students in Jordan participating in the Eid prayers.
Eid’l Fitr and social media a match
One could hardly avoid the modern trend as well. After the hugs, kisses and greetings, it’s time for the memories and social media posts. So go the selfies, groupies and live videos. Everyone took group pictures, smiled at the cameras, shared the photos on Facebook, liked others’ posts and commented. That’s how social media works.
In essence, when one posts something of importance in social media, in just a few seconds your love ones in the Philippines can right away connect with you and learn the latest status you are in.
And, oh, by the way, Eid’l Fitr can not be complete without the simple “salo-salo” (get together for food). That is why after the grand event in the musalla (praying field) everybody exchanged visits and enjoyed the delights his brother in Islam prepared.
Food such as “piyaper,” a Maranao local dish, “pastil” of Maguindanao, “tiyula itum” of the Tausug, “adobo,” “pancit,” and “afritada,” were all present. It is like living the same way you live in your hometown in Mindanao, except that you are far away from your local friends and relatives here.
Asked what are the things they longed for most in the Philippines. many replied that it is not their favorite food at all since some of these foods are available here in Jordan.
What they really missed are the personal and special bonding they have with their families – their kids, wives, siblings and parents.
In essence, whether Filipinos study in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United States, Japan or Europe, people would always tend to be with loved ones.
Filipinos, mostly Maranao ulama (scholars), and other foreign students in Jordan.
The author and Dr. Abdul Nasser Montaner of Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.
With Maguindanaon ulama after the Eid’l Fitr prayers.
Praised be to Allah. The event of Eid’l Fitr taught us lessons in life. That no matter how long the struggle in Ramadhan is, there will always be a day of relief and rest.
And no matter how long the years the students of Sharia undertake abroad, he will soon be victorious at the moment of his graduation from studies.
In the end he will be reunited with his family, relatives and friends, and his “ilm” (knowledge) will benefit not only his hometown or city but the whole Muslim community in the Philippines as well.
May we all receive the mercy and guidance of Allah. Eid Mubarak to everybody!
Editor’s Note: The author, Islamic scholar and student Abdul Qahhar Dimapunong, a Maranao Muslim, is a well-traveled person and one of the rising young aleem (plural of ulama or Islamic scholar) in the Philippines, and additionally one of the not so many Moro religious leaders who are well-versed in spoken and written Arabic and English.