Friday, July 20, 2012

Aquino Tells Muslims: Uphold Peace


President Benigno S. Aquino III greeted Muslims Thursday on the observance of Islam’s holy month, starting either July 20 or July 21, asking them to uphold Ramadan’s message of peace.

“As you honor this holy month fulfilling your obligations, it is my hope that you will uphold their intrinsic value to our continuing quest for harmony and development. Let the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you all,” Aquino said.

The President sent his greetings as Islam believers in the Philippines geared up for the advent of the arduous month of abstention.

Ustadhz Esmael Ebrahim, overall head of the National Moon-Sighting Committee of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), said the first day of fasting should be known tonight (Thursday).

“There is no pre-agreement on when to start Ramadan. We all have to sight the crescent moon to conform with the Qur’anic injunctions,” said Ebrahim.

“If the crescent is sighted, then we start the next day. If not, Ramadan begins on July 21 to complete the month of Sha’ban into 30 days,” said Ebrahim. Sha’ban is the month before Ramadan, he added.

Preparations included last night’s sighting of the crescent moon that ushers in the start and end of every Islamic month.

The presidential message was made through the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) headed by Secretary/CEO Mehol K. Sadain.

Aquino noted the significance of Ramadan as the fifth pillar of Islam.

For Muslims, he said, observing the Ramadan sacred season is a chance to redirect their lives to Islam’s teachings.

“This is also an occasion to ponder the values of sacrifice, generosity and charity, and to re-affirm one’s surrender to the will of Allah, devoted to the principles of peace, discipline, and compassion. May your faith sustain you as you remain steadfast in your causes and endeavors, and take part in sustaining our collective aspirations of goodwill as a people and solidarity amidst our diversity,” the President said.

The Ramadan fast involves abstention from food, drinks, smoking, sex, back-biting, etc., from sunrise to sunset.

Ramadan 2012 is coming at a time when violence still grips many parts of the Muslim world, such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and in countries where Muslims are minorities, including the Philippines.


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