Philippine Muslims Mark End of Ramadan Holy Month with Special Early Morning Prayers

Eid’l Fitr at home. (SDN — SciTech and Digital News)

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MAHARLIKA VILLAGE, Taguig City (SDN) — Mosques and open fields across the Philippines were filled to the brim as Muslims — the young and the old — celebrated their completion of fasting in Islam’s holy month of Ramadan.

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the Bangsamoro Darul Iftah said on April 20 the Shawwal crescent moon was not sighted in the horizon. It led them to declare the first day of Eid’l Fitr celebration is on Saturday, April 22. Meaning, April 21 was the 30th day of Ramadan, at least for Filipinos.

“Eid” is an Arabic word which means “feast” or “festival”. Celebration starts with an early morning communal prayer in mosques and in open fields.

Hijrah, the Islamic calendar, revolves around the moon cycle, so the first day and the last day of every month is determined by the appearance and sighting of the Shawwal crescent. Ramadan and Shawwal are 9th and 10th months of Hijrah.

On the recommendation of the NCMF President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. proclaimed April 21, Friday, a regular holiday marking Eid’l Fitr to enable the nation to be one in the celebration. It also affords Filipinos a long weekend.

Over here in Maharlika Village, Blue Mosque,  the biggest in the area was over-flowing with worshippers, with thousands more spilled onto the street fronting the house of worship. Other mosques in the area were also overflowing in capacity. It was the same in mosques around the country.

Eid’l Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast, and Eid’l Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, are celebrated annually, bringing even the not-so-inclined to perform the daily prayers to mosques. Eid’l Adha is celebrated during the 12th month — Dhul Hijjah — of Hijrah at the culmination of the five-day Hajj, the Pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. This year is 1444 in the Islamic calendar.

MBHTE Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal. (Photo: SDN — SciTech and Digital News)

In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal, head of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), urged his the Bangsamoro people to “observe the ideals gained through a long period of reflection and virtuous acts. More importantly, we should teach these virtues to our children and the future generations of Bangsamoro leaders, professionals, and pioneers.”

Iqbal emphasized that it is everyone’s responsibility to see to the well-being of the Bangsamoro children “physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We must protect their right to grow up in a healthy, peaceful, and inspiring environment.”

Islam’s Hijrah calendar — being lunar-based — is short by 11 to 12 days compared to the Gregorians’ 365 days. Hijrah has no month with 31 days, only either 29 or 30 days.

Eid is joyous, celebratory, and a time to forgive and seek forgiveness

The two Eids are Islam’s only two major celebrations. Eid Mubarak (Blessed Eid), the greeting in these two occasions, permeated the air as people exchanged felicitations.

As the month of fasting neared Muslims were highly anticipating the advent of Eid’l Fitr, which is on the first day of Shawwal.

All photographs by SDN — SciTech and Digital News

Eid is meant to be joyous, a month of reconciliation, forgiveness, and seeking forgiveness. It is time to wear new clothes, of giving gifts to children.

The Eid is hugely celebrated in Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia; it is time when families, relatives, and friends come together to enjoy the food and each one’s company.

Everyone is encouraged to forgive, seek forgiveness and reconcile differences which would redound to a community living in peace where people are brothers and sisters to each other.

In the Middle East and Asian countries, the Eid is celebrated for three days, a week, or even longer.

The past three years of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic dampened, or even stopped the celebration of the Eid as even praying in mosques were not allowed to protect people from the spread of the fatal disease.

Eid is also season to thank Allah (God in Arabic) for the opportunity to perform and complete the month of fasting. Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam.

Muslims also seek God’s mercy and forgiveness even as they pray for next Ramadan in their lifetime. — EDD K. USMAN (/)

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