Feast of Ramadan ends but not lessons of fasting
MANILA, Philippines - Muslims in the Philippines wrap up on Monday, August 20, the Eid’l Fitr, a three-day celebration marking the culmination of their dawn-to-sunset fasting during the month of Ramadan.
The month of Ramadan started on July 21 and ended Saturday night, August 18, according to Dennison Abidin, director of National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) in Western Mindanao (Region 9).
Eid’l Fitr, Arabic words which literally mean "feast" and "breaking the fast," respectively, was declared by Ustadz Abdulbaki Abubakar, grand mufti (guardian of the Islamic House of Opinion) of Region 9. The mufti is the authority on religious matters including the start and end of Ramadan, the time of fasting, cleansing and renewal among Muslims.
Abidin said that the Muslim religious leader, in consultation with his counterparts in Malaysia and Indonesia, declared the end of fasting at 8 pm on Saturday, Philippine time.
"What we have learned should be pursued beyond Ramadan. We did not do bad things while fasting. We should do good things throughout year," Abidin said.
To break the fast, Abidin hosted a gathering in his house where his fellow Muslims feasted on food, recited a thanksgiving prayer and hugged each other to seek forgiveness and pardon those who have wronged them.
In an earlier interview with Rappler, Amer Yap Mitmug, 22, who works for an Islamic bank, said: “Eid’l Fitr for me is a cleansing and recognition of old and new ties… a fresh start from this day onwards knowing that you have been given another chance in life."
No Eid moon sighted
Moon-sighting committees in Mindanao led by the mufti watched the night skies closely on the 29th day of Ramadan in an attempt to synchronize the start of Eid’l Fitr.
Eid’l Fitr, which is the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the lunar calendar, Hijrah, starts with the sighting of the crescent moon, the symbol of Islam. Based on the Koran, Hijrah has 12 months that follow the phases and stages of the moon.
However, the mufti and the moon-sighting committees in the country did not see the moon due to cloudy skies.
"The Eid moon was only visible in Indonesia and Malaysia," Abidin said.
The crescent moon was not also seen during the start of Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
To allow Filipino Muslims to fully celebrate the end of their fast, the Aquino administration declared Monday, August 20, a holiday.
For a month, Muslims observed fasting that involved abstention from food, drinks, sex, gossip and vices, as a form of spiritual cleansing, reflection and repentance.
In a statement, NCMF secretary Mehol Sadain said, "Peace on Earth and with oneself, brotherhood of man, moral uprightness, tolerance, perseverance in the face of affliction and spiritual consciousness, among others, are ideals that every Muslim should have acquired during the fasting month and made as guiding principles in his daily life." - Rappler.com