MARAWI CITY: Bangsamoro Muslims will join the almost 2 billion Muslims all over the world in the observance of the Holy Month of Ramadan on Friday, April 24, after the moon was not sighted on Wednesday afternoon.
Mufti Abu Huraira A. Udasan, executive director of the Darul-Ifta’ of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said a group of Ulama assigned by his office to perform the moonsighting in the evening of Wednesday did not see the new moon.
“Based on this, the Darul-Ifta’ has decided that the beginning of Ramadan will be on Friday, 24th of April 2020…” said Udasan.
Throughout the country, Muslim Filipinos are inclined to follow the opinion in this regard of the Islamic scholars from the Bangsamoro region.
The start of Ramadan depends upon the appearance of the new moon as seen by man’s naked eyes. If the new moon is sighted on the 29th day of Rajab, the month of the Islamic Hijrah preceding Ramadan which falls this year on Wednesday, April 22, Ramadan begins on Thursday; if not, it will begin the following day, Friday.
Islamic scholar Aleem Said Ahmad Basher believed that based on scientific and astronomical calculations, the fasting will start on Friday as the new moon will not be seen on Wednesday since on that day will the last moon set or disappear from the sky.
The only Muslim Filipino Islamic scholar who studied and completed astronomy degree at the Al Azhaar University in Cairo, Bashir said in an interview with The Manila Times that the new moon is expected to be seen not on Wednesday but rather on Thursday morning and thus the fast will commence on Friday.
Basher said Muslims have also to calculate the movement of the moon in determining the first and last day of the month. “The Qur’an has said that the movements of the Sun and the Moon are exactly calculated,” he added.
New moon sighting
It is a common practice among religious scholars to go to the hilltops and seashore for the new moon sighting to help determine when to start fasting during Ramadan.
In Marawi City, the Islamic cultural capital of the Philippines, the local Mufti, who is the highest religious authority in the locality, in cooperation with the provincial and city government units, the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos and private Islamic organizations, will announce in various media platforms, whether the new moon has been sighted or not.
In the national capital region and other localities in the country, Muslims are expecting announcement from the NCMF if the new moon is seen and that fasting has to be observed.
How to fast in Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim Hijrah calendar when fasting from dawn to dusk in the entire month is enjoined upon all able Muslims who have reached the age of puberty and are free from physical or mental illness.
A sick person is exempted from fasting but has to make up for it when he gets well, or has to feed at least one Muslim if he cannot fast because of lingering illness.
A traveler too is not required to fast, so is a woman who is observing her monthly period, but they have to make up the fast when able.
Fasting in Islam is abstaining from food and liquid intake, sexual lust, speaking bad and hurting words, doing immoral and illegal acts and other bad habits during the appointed time — from the appearance of the white thread before sunrise (dawn) until sunset.
Those acts are in addition to what are already been forbidden to Muslims during their lifetime such as gambling, stealing, hurting and killing other creatures.
A married couple is not allowed to engage in lustful act as husband and wife from dawn (or the appearance of the white thread in the east before sunrise) to sunset.
Masiding Noor Yahya