By Ben Cal
MANILA (18-Aug-2012/PNA) – Over five million Filipino Muslims will join the entire Muslim world in the observance of Eid’l Ftir on Monday, ending their month-long fasting.
President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued Proclamation No. 455 declaring August 20, the Feast of Ramadan, as a regular holiday in observance of Eid’l Fitr, which is celebrated by Muslims for three days after the end of their 30 days of fasting.
In his proclamation, the President said the celebration of Eid’l Fitr is “to promote cultural understanding and integration,” adding that “the entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in the observance and celebration of Eid’l Fitr.”
“In order to bring the religious and cultural significance of the Eid’l Fitr to the fore of national consciousness, it is necessary to declare Monday, 20 August 2012, as a regular holiday throughout the country,” the President stressed.
On Monday, Filipino Muslims in Metro Manila and other parts of the country will gather for an early morning prayer to celebrate Eid’l Fitr. They will also listen to sermons in various Muslim mosques in the country, including those in Metro Manila.
The end of the Ramadan marks the beginning of the Eid’l Fitr. The Muslims believe that “Eid” occurs on the first day of the Shawwal which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.
“According to the history of Islam and traditions on the last day of Ramadan after sunset, people start sighting the crescent moon. As soon as the moon (hilal) is spotted, the celebration for Eid’l Fitr begins for all the Muslims.
Ramadan is said to be the holy month of Muslims. It is believed that the holy book Quran was revealed to prophet Muhammad during this month. It is also believed that during this month, the “gates of hell are closed and the gates of heaven are open,” according to Muslim tradition and history.
It is also believed that Ramadan is Allah’s own month.
Another event which took place during the month of Ramadan was the battle of Badr between the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina. “It’s the month to thank Allah for what he has given to human beings, thereby saying no to food, drink, smoking and sexual activities during daylight and all the Muslims devote themselves to pray to Allah. Once the crescent moon is sighted, it’s the time to break the fast and get over with the Ramadan month and celebrate Eid’l Fitr,” it says.
Islam, which is predominant in the Middle East and in the Horn of Africa, is the world’s second largest religion with over 1.6 billion followers after Christianity, according to the Pew Research Center based in Washington.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, followed by Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. (PNA)