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Southerners start centuries-old fasting tradition as Ramadhan begins

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 20:37 PM Tue Jun 7, 2016
John Unson

COTABATO CITY --- Fast when you see the new moon, break your fast when you see the new moon.”
This is exactly what Muslims in the country’s south and in other states within the pacific timeline did Monday, first day of Ramadhan, as preached by Mohammad, Islam’s legendary progenitor.Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during the Ramadhan, which lasts for one lunar cycle, about 28 to 29 days, both as atonement for sins and as a religious obligation.Fasting during the Ramadhan, a holy month among Muslims, is one of the five pillars” of the Islamic faith.

The other four pillars of Islam are total submission to Allah praying five times a day facing west giving of zakat (alms) to the poor, and going to Makkah, Saudi Arabia for the hajj (pilgrimage) at least once in a lifetime for those who can afford the cost of travel.This year’s Ramadhan for Filipino Muslims started on Sunday night, after clerics in different areas in Malaysia had sighted the crescent moon, marking the end of the Islamic month of Shaban and the beginning of the fasting season.

Physically-fit Muslims are obliged to fast from dawn to dusk during the Ramadhan. Couples are also to abstain from sex during the day for the whole month.Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, in a Ramadhan message, called on his constituent-local executives to reach out to their poor constituents in keeping with the tenets of Ramadhan, during which Muslims are to focus on charitable activities. Let this Ramadhan season be a time for healing. Let us put away the political animosities we had during the recent electoral exercise in the province of Maguindanao. Let us move on and start again as siblings in faith,” Mangudadatu said.Mangudadatu said Maguindanaons should also include in their Ramadhan prayers supplications for the Mindanao peace process to succeed under the administration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

Let us also pray for the new president to succeed in his avowed mission to foster peace in our homeland, the Bangsamoro, being a Mindanaon himself,” Mangudadatu said.Physician Kadil Sinoliding,Jr., regional health secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said fasting for more than ten hours daily for one month is also good for the health.

It can boost the immune system and lower sugar and cholesterol in the blood,” said Sinolinding, an ethnic Maguindanaon Sunni Muslim.Sinolinding said Muslims observing the Ramadhan should drink enough water and fruit juices after buka,” the first meal after a day-long fast.

Lactating mothers, sick people, the elderly and children are all exempted from fasting during the Ramadhan.

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