June 4, 2020
CURRENT AFFAIRS

Muslims Search Sky for Ramadan Crescent Moon — Secretary Pangarungan

Saudi Arabia, Philippines, NCMF, Taraweeh, mosques, ECQ, Covid-19
Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs
By EDD K. USMAN
(SDN) — RAMADAN 2020 is a day or two away from today, April 22, 2020.
“P’gang” (a Moro word) for the first day of Islam’s holy month of fasting, may come on the 23rd or 24th of April. But that depends on the result of tonight’s moon-sighting.
SDN — Science and Digital News learned about this from National  Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Atty. Saidamen Balt Pangarungan.
The NCMF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said the Commission’s National Moon-sighting Committee will be deployed across the Philippines to scan the sky for the crescent.
“We are calling on our fellow Muslims to help in their own way in searching for the new moon. The appearance of the crescent will signal the first day and start of our fasting,” said Pangarungan, who like Filipinos in Luzon, are staying home to follow the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) regulations.
He appealed for unity especially the holy month is now knocking in everyone’s heart.
Told that other local Muslims may not follow the NCMF moon-sighting result, he said: “We respect everyone’s belief on when they will start the fast. But we wish that at least
for local Muslims they will start on the same day.
“If the Ramadan crescent is seen tonite, then fasting begins the next day (Thursday. If not seen, we fast on Friday,” he emphasized.”
Pangarungan said the result of the sighting of the crescent will be referred by the NCMF to Islamic leaders such as the “ulama” and the Darul Iftah (House of Opinion).
“We will comply with what the Darul Iftah will say regarding tonight’s moon-sighting. Then, we in the NCMF will announce their decision and spread the information.”
Saudi Arabia, Philippines, NCMF, Taraweeh, mosques, ECQ, Covid-19
NCMF Secretary Saidamen B. Pangarungan. (Credit to owner of photo, NCMF)
Months of the Hijrah, the Muslim calendar is based on the moon cycle, thus each of its 12 months starts and ends with the crescent moon’s appearance.
So, the NCMF will activate its moon-sighting committee to look for the crescent as day rolls into night.
Ramadan is the ninth month of Hijrah (Migration) during which it’s obligatory for adult Muslims to fast from dawn to dusk. Islamic fasting requires total abstention from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex for the whole day. Doing unlawful acts, gossiping, backbiting, evil thoughts, etc., which are prohibited year-long, are more so during Islam’s holiest month.
Fasting is an annual obligation. Exempted are those who are sick, pregnant, lactating mothers, children, travelers, mentally unwell. But they have to fast later on to make up for the days they missed.
Hijrah is about 11 days less compared to Gregorian calendar, so Ramadan’s first day moves back every year.
Ramadan, Covid-19. fasting, NCMF, crescent moon, Hijrah
Dates from United Arab Emirates (UAE). (SDN — Science and Digital News)
 Fasting or Sawm is the second pillar of Islam. The four others are Profession of Faith (Shahaddah), Zakat (Obligatory Charity), and Hajj, the Pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
Pangarungan noted how difficult the Ramadan fast will be in the time of the global pandemic Covid-19. It is also a difficult one because it comes during this year’s sizzling days of summer.
At the same time, the NCMF secretary/CEO urged his fellow Muslims to follow the authorities regarding the regulations of the ECQ.
“Let us avoid contributing to the spread and transmission of the novel coronavirus. Stay at home and be safe.”
A staunch ally of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Pangarungan said Filipinos must follow the ECQ regulations and the country’s laws. (SDN)

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