Today is the start of Ramadan in the Philippines and in many countries around the world. The Blessed Month of Ramadan is one of the most special months for Muslims as this is when they observe one of the five pillars of Islam. For 29 to 30 days, our Muslim brothers and sisters will perform the Sawm, or fasting, from dusk until dawn and will abstain from eating, drinking and having sexual contact with their spouse.
|Satti is a traditional Tausug morning meal|
A typical Ramadan day of a Muslim would start very early in the morning at around 3:00am to eat Suhoor (also called Shuhur) or the pre-dawn meal consumed before the Fajr (dawn) prayer.
|after the Fajr prayer in Jolo, Soulu|
After the Fajr prayer, fasting will commence. No food and drinks may be consumed during daytime, not even one's saliva which a Muslim is required to spit out. This is a challenging time for Muslims which strengthens their self-discipline. Ramadan is also an opportunity for Non-Muslims to strengthen their personal relationships with a Muslim friend or relative by giving them spiritual and moral support. Living in a multicultural society like the Philippines, every Filipino should be aware of the Ethics during Ramadan for Non-Muslims.
|Kumukunsi of Maguindanao|
At dawn, Muslims will break their fast with a light meal called Iftar. In many mosques around the Philippines, socio-civic groups would host an Iftar for the local community which becomes a venue for the people to strengthen brotherhood. We have experienced this during our visit to Cotabato City and Jolo during last year's Ramadan. Some would also wait the sun to set with their friends at seaports bringing with them a pack of biscuits and a bottle of water.
|Sunset at Jolo Seaport|
With the Muslim call for prayer Adhan (also called Azan, or Bang in local dialects in the Philippines) sounding at the background, Muslims will proceed to the mosque for the Tarawih prayer.
|Tarawih in Cotabato City|
After the Tarawih, dinner will be served at home where Muslim would eat with their families. Local government executives would also host dinners in their houses welcoming religious leaders and community leaders.
|Dinner hosted by Mayor Amin at his residence in Jolo, Sulu|
In Cotabato City, an annual food fair is held inside the ARMM compound where families and friends can have their dinner wish specialty dishes from various ARMM provinces. Cultural performances are also featured during the food fair. Find our more about our Ramadan 2013 experience in Cotabato City.
This year, we invite all Filipinos to be one with our Muslim brothers and sisters in their observation of Ramadan. With this article, we wish all Muslims in the Philippines and around the world Ramadan Mubarak!