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Muslims await 'new moon' to end Ramadan

John Unson (The Philippine Star) - July 26, 2014 - 2:46pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — "Fast when you see the new moon, break your fast when you see the new moon."

This is exactly what Muslims will do, as preached by Mohammad, either on Sunday, or on Monday, depending on the sighting of the new moon by scholars, starting Saturday night, to mark the end of the Ramadan season and the beginning of the month of Shawwal in the Hijrah calendar.

This year's Ramadan, which lasts for one lunar cycle, or 28-29 days, started June 29.

The Eid'l Fit'r, or end of Ramadan, is obligatorily capped off with outdoor congregational prayers, sharing of food and cuts of meat from kurban (slaughtered animals) with poor people, regardless of whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. 

Muslims observe the Ramadan yearly as one of the "five pillars" of the Islamic faith, which include absolute subservience to Allah, praying five times a day facing the direction of Saudi Arabia, giving of zakat (alms) to the poor, and performing the hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah, for those who can afford the cost of travel.

Clerics will begin with their traditional moon sighting activity at dusk Saturday to determine the culmination of the Ramadan, which is a holy month in Islam.

Physically-fit Muslims are obliged to fast from sunrise to sunset during the Ramadan, both as a religious obligation and to inculcate among them the importance of self-restraint to achieve spiritual perfection.

The traditional Ramadan moon sighting tradition was pioneered by Mohammad, Islam's progenitor, and carried on, as a religious practice, by Muslims of today. Muslims believe it was during the Ramadan when Allah sent down the Quran to Mohammad, through Archangel Gabriel.

There are 12 months in the Islamic Hijrah calendar. Warfare is prohibited during the months of Muharram, Rajab, Ramadan, Dhul-Qi'dah, and Dhul-Hijjah.

Clerics in the Madaris Education Bureau of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said if the new moon is not seen by Saturday night, the Eid'l Fit'r will automatically fall on July 28.

Malacañang already declared July 29 as non-working Eid'l Fit'r Holiday.

Muslims in Mindanao, however, may possibly celebrate the religious event one or two days earlier if members of the Islamic Darul Iftah (House of Opinions) will see the new moon either on Saturday, or Sunday night.

ARCHANGEL GABRIEL EID HOUSE OF OPINIONS ISLAMIC DARUL IFTAH ISLAMIC HIJRAH MADARIS EDUCATION BUREAU OF THE AUTONOMOUS REGION MOHAMMAD MOON MUSLIM MINDANAO MUSLIMS RAMADAN
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