Ramadan, a Time for Closer Family Bonding, Especially during Iftar, the Breaking of Fast

“Time spent with family is a well spent time. In the Islamic world, family is the most precious and important thing.”

— Atty. Datu Omar Pangarungan

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By EDD K. USMAN /

@edd1819 / @bluestar0910 / SDN — Science and Digital News

With his beloved son Ryan. (All images credit: Atty. Datu Omar Pangarungan)

(SDN) — Ramadan 2022 (Hijrah 1443), Islam’s holy month of fasting, has only very few days left.

Sooner than soon it will be Shawwal, the 10th month of the lunar Hijrah Islamic calendar.

In fact, the Darul Ifta in Cotabato City and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) will conduct the sighting of the new crescent moon on May 1, a Sunday.

The learned among those in the Muslim community, those who completed Islamic studies, like an “aleem” (plural is ulama), has said that if the crescent is sighted, then the following day is the 1st of Shawwal, the start of the three-day Eid’l Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast).

If not sighted, then fasting continues the next day (May 2), and the Eid will be on May 3.

The Hijrah (meaning is migration) which is reckoned from the day Islam’s messenger, the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Allaihi Wassalam (SAW, meaning is peace unto him), migrated to Madinah to escape persecution in Makkak, in what is now the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ix more or less shorter than 11 days compared to the Gregorian calendar. It is because Hijrah follows the lunar cycle, not the cycle of the sun like the Gregorian.

Fasting season a time for sacrifice, abstention

During the Ramadan season, adult Muslims are obliged to abstain from food, drinks, cigarettes, sex, backbiting, gossiping from sunrise to sunset. It means that this year, at least in the Philippines, the fast lasts every day about 14 hours of sacrifice, for fasting in Islam is almost absolute. Even just a morsel of food, a sip of water, a puff of smoke will invalidate one’s fast.

Ramadan brings many lessons, and the period, says learnreligions.com, is also “by nature a time of sacrifice“, which is at the core of the ninth Muslim month.

When doing the Ramadan fast, you experience hunger and thirst, ushering in:

  • sympathy for those who have little food on their table every day; it heightens devotion that brings one closer to the Creator;
  • there’s also increased charity which develops feelings of generosity and goodwill toward others;
  • Ramadan fast teaches self-control leading to good manners, good speech, and good habits;
  • changing of routines provides a chance to have a more healthy lifestyle — in diet and smoking;
  • the holy month of Islam also brings closer ties through family and community gatherings during “iftar” (breaking of fast) that strengthens brotherhood and sisterhood.

“Time is well spent,” remarks Atty. Datu Omar Tahir Malo Malo Pangarungan, president of Tahir Clan of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, “every minute of it when families gather for especially during iftar, whether at home or outside.”

At the house of Comelec Chairman Atty. Saidamen B. Pangarungan (left), hosting a get-together.

The former diplomat at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) — he used to negotiate (he used to negotiate and successfully for distressed overseas Filipino workers) said family bonding is an all-year round activity, but Ramadan gives it more meaning and strengthens family ties more.

Atty. Omar Pangarungan is a host of many gatherings in his house, either in Marawi, or here in Metro Manika, whether for lunch, dinner, or just plain get-together to keep family ties strong.

On April 20, he hosted an iftar at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City with close family and other blood relatives.

Next day he hosted the Ramadan fast-breaking at Al-Qaysar Restaurant in Ermita, Manila, both times a demonstration of a close-knit family, including the extended family.

Here’s what he continues to practice:

“Time spent with family is a well spent time. In the Islamic world, family is the most precious and important thing. Without doubt, our family is the greatest wealth that we ever possess! Through good and bad times, family members are there for each other and they are supportive and full of love. Hence, we should always find time for our families!”

Datu Omar Pangarungan said he organized the two family iftar his younger sister and children who are all professionals, such as: Atty Faizoden Pangarungan Ali, the chief legal council of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and chief accountant, relating their father, BARMM Commission on Audit (COA) regional director is my brother in law Atty. Bato Ali, Jr.

Also with them, he added, is my sister’s (Hadja Shahana Fatima Pangarungan Ali) son Datu Azgari Pangarungan Ali, who is the incumbent Marawi City auditor.

Present inn the two occasions, he said, were my son-in-law Atty. Aquel Pangarungan Usman, who is now the head of Manila City Prosecutor’s Office (the 1st time to happen and we Filipino Muslims should be proud). His mother-in-law, my sister was also present.

The diplomat and savior of many OFWs in the Middle East and others in Malaysia said these gatherings “stress the importance of family ties and its benefits during Ramadan, the time to develop human virtues such as love, kindness, mercy and compassion.”

He added that occasions like these serve as an opportunity to gather everyone together during Iftar time, and sits for a meal all together. “As the saying goes: ‘The family that eats together stays together’.”

Datu Omar Pangarungan, to be noted, has been organizing these familial gatherings for many years. He also gathers his friends for a get-together for lunch or dinner.

He emphasized that the lessons and virtues being learned and practiced during Ramadan ought to be carried year-round, and on to the next month of fasting.

“And the cycle continues on and on!” (✓)

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Featured image of Ramadan greetings credit to muslimprayertimes.com.

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