By Ali G. Macabalang
Grand muftis (leaders of houses of Islamic opinions) and leagues of imams across the globe yesterday declared that Ramadan, the ninth month in the lunar Hijrah calendar, starts today with all Muslim faithful commencing their month-long obligatory fasting.
In the Philippines, officials of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao affirmed the declaration and urged traders to observe “rational” pricing of basic commodities that usually get bloated in past seasons of Islamic fasting.
Fasting during Ramadan is mandated among physically and mentally sane Muslims in fulfillment of one of the five pillars of Islam. Travelers, sick persons, and menstruating women are permitted to skip fasting, provided that they fast later on for a period equivalent to the number of missed obligatory days.
Muslims, estimated at more than 1.6 billion in 2010 worldwide, observe fasting with intensified prayers and religious rituals in varying degrees depending on the environment prevailing in their locations.
In conflict-affected areas like Palestine and Marawi City, the lone Islamic community in the Philippines, Ramadan fasting would be more difficult for Muslim constituents to observe, but their sacrifices are bound to earn more divine rewards, according to Islamic scholars.
Because of the lack of marketplaces in war-torn villages of Marawi, the ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team on Tuesday delivered truckloads of food and other basic commodities enough for four weeks to hundreds of Muslim Maranaos resettled at the Sarimanok Tent Zone. The resettlement area was built for residents displaced by the five-month fighting between government forces and Islamic State-inspired militants.
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