By Hader Glang & Roy Ramos
ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines (AA) – Islamic authorities in the southern Philippines are preparing to observe the moon Sunday to determine when Muslims should start fasting for the holy month of Ramadan.
A religious authority for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Regional Darul Ifta’ (RDI), said in a statement that telescopes were provided to their offices in majority Muslim provinces and to religious officials in the nearby Zamboanga Peninsula for the moon sighting.
Alim Abdulmuhmin Mujahid, RDI-ARMM executive director, described Ramadan as a "revival of faith, strengthening of relationship with Allah, and of respect and generosity”.
"Ramadan presents us a meaningful message. This revives our imaan [Islamic faith], strengthens our relationship with Allah, and restores broken ties with our relatives," he underlined.
He added that officials had been designated for the sighting of the crescent moon in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and would coordinate closely with associates in the neighboring countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand and Singapore.
Mujahid stressed that Ramadan is a "time to reflect upon our deeds in the past months, and a time to ask forgiveness.”
Last month, the RDI-ARMM organized a convention of Muslim leaders, scholars, legal experts and organization representatives from across the country in the predominantly Christian southern city of Zamboanga to discuss Ramadan.
The authority has also distributed a calendar showing prayer times during Ramadan across the ARMM region, where a series of activities is organized throughout the month.
Among the events are a Ramadan Fair set to open June 6 in the region's seat in Cotabato City, as well as Quran memorization contests, Islamic symposia, cultural presentations and free Iftar -- the meal with which daily fasts are broken.