From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 28): Filipino Muslims begin Ramadan fast Sunday
Fasting season in the Philippines officially starts Sunday after the
naked-eye moon sighting by Muslim religious leaders failed to view the crescent
Ustadz Mike Ibrahim, commissioner of the National Commission for Muslim
Filipinos (NCMF), said the Darul Ifta, Islamic House of Opinion and members of
the Ulama Council of the Philippines (UCP), failed to view the moon in viewing
sites in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), thus fasting
officially starts Sunday.
”Since the crescent moon was not sighted clearly on Friday evening, fasting
officially starts tomorrow, Sunday,” Ibrahim said, adding that it will last
until July 27 where the Hariraya Puwasa or the end of Ramadhan is celebrated.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam that every Muslim must perform
except for pregnant women, elders or senior citizens and minors.
The other pillars include performing pilgrimage in the Holy Land of Mecca,
praying five times a day, offering material and financial aid to the needy
brethren and those in need.
Fasting from food, water and earthly desires, including engaging in sex are
observed by Muslim faithful from dawn to sunset.
According to Ustadz Jaafar Ali, speaking for Darul Iftah, the organization
of Islamic religious leaders, said during the fasting month, Muslim faithful
are obliged to fast from sunrise to sunset, breaking the fast at about 6 p.m.
During the fasting month, Islam believers refrain from taking solid and
liquid food, smoking and other earthly desires.
Fasting is the most important Islamic religious activity.
Various activities like nightly presentation at the ARMM compound have been
prepared ahead of the fasting month.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hatamn said a food festival is being prepared at the ARMM
compound so Muslims can break the fast shortly after work.
The start of fasting month is a regular working day but Muslim workers are
allowed to work until 3 p.m. without noon break to give them ample time to
prepare for the breaking of the fast at sunset.
For a devout Muslim, Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection and sympathy
for those who are suffering and needy.
"During the fasting month, we pray that Allah that peace will reign in
our land and that we continue to provide help to our brethren who are in need,
physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually," said Allan Hamdila,
a 29 year-old government employee.
Ustasdz Ali urged Muslims to share part of their wealth to the needy during
the fasting month.
He urged those who have extra money to share by buying food and donate them
to less privileged Muslims.