DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 August) – President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued a statement greeting Muslims in the country a blessed Ramadan, as the Holy Month of fasting begins August 12.
Ramadan was earlier expected to start August 11 but the Darul Ifta did not see the crescent moon Tuesday night. Some Filipino Muslims, however, began observing Ramadan Wednesday, August 11, instead of Thursday, August 12.
Observing Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The four other pillars are the profession of faith, the obligation to pray five times a day, the giving of alms or zakat and going on pilgrimage to Mecca.
The onset of Ramadan, which is determined by observing the crescent moon or by astronomical calculations, can vary from country to country.
Aquino, in his message, said “Ramadan is a time of both sacrifice and purification; as you fast, pray, and act with kindness towards the poor and less fortunate, may the whole world also pause to reflect on the value of forgoing worldly pleasures to cleanse the body, mind, and soul.”
“Along with this, may we also be reminded that Ramadan is also a time for great hope,” the President said.
“For the sacrifices that bring a community closer to one another and to the Almighty brings the promise of grace and abundance,” he said.
The President added that the Filipino nation shares deeply in this Ramadan spirit.
“As we collectively acknowledge our failure in the stewardship of our people and resources, we must undergo difficult sacrifices. As we heal the wounds of our nation, in justice, each and every one needs to accept his or her shortcomings and resolve to take the straight path. The straight path demands thinking less of ourselves and more of what we can do for the greater good. It is this sacrifice along with the promise of change that gives us so much hope. We know that in the new straight path, the Almighty will generously reward us with His bountiful blessings and grace,” the President’s statement said.
Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with whom government is resuming peace negotiations after the Ramadan told MindaNews in an interview Monday in the MILF peace panel’s office in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao that his wishes for Ramadan is “for our people, we just want them to continue to be patient, to pray always in the spirit of Ramadan… and pray to Allah for the success and final solution of the problem.” (MindaNews)