Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr are two important occasions in Muslim lives that begin and end with the appearance of the new moon.
In the Hijrah lunar calendar which Muslims follow, Ramadan is the ninth and considered the most blessed month of the year. It precedes the month of Sha’ban.
To mark the start of fasting, some religious leaders go out of their way for a moon sighting. The appearance of the new moon signals the first day of Ramadan and after completing 29 days of fasting on that night, the religious leaders set out for another moon sighting.
The appearance of the new moon signals the first day of the succeeding month of Shawwal, or the Eid al-Fitr.
On Tuesday, the new moon was not seen from various parts of the country. Hence, the Darul Ifta (Fatwah Council) declared Eid al-Fitr today, which ends 30 days of fasting.
Fasting is an act of Ibadah (worship) and one of the five pillars of Islam. Its basis is found in the Koran which reads: “Oh you who believe fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may attain Taqwa (God-Fearing).” This verse has two contexts to understand, first, that fasting is not exclusive to Muslims; it was already practiced by the Prophets before Muhammad.
The best example a Muslim can cite is the fasting followed by the Jewish tradition like that of Prophet Nabi Isa (Jesus Christ). Jesus fasted for 40 days and the significance of his act appeared to be a preparation for his ministry. In the same way, Muslims considered fasting as a spiritual training to attain Taqwah which is the second context of the verse. Taqwah is an Arabic term which means “piety.”
Muslims start fasting by sincere intention and abstaining from any kind of food or liquid from dawn (in the Philippines, the cutoff time for dawn meal is around 4 a.m. up to sunset or around 6:30 p.m.). Married couples must avoid intimate relations.
It is also desirable for a fasting person to refrain from mundane activities like playing video games, engaging in gossips and idle talk to becoming angry and impatient. Practically, a fasting person strives to overcome his ego and personal desires, and replace it with activities that merit rewards “thawab” like praying Sunnah (supererogatory), aiming to finish reading the entire Koran during Ramadan, giving out charity and taking care the needs of other people, especially the needy.
To some fasting Muslims, sleeping three to four hours a night is a normal routine as one spent Tahajjud prayer (midnight prayer) in addition to the Taraweh prayed in congregation after the Eisha or evening prayer. Toward the last 10 days of Ramadan, they increase their devotion by staying awake and reading the Koran in anticipation of the Laylatul Qadar (Night of Power).
Ramadan is full of sacrifices but most loved by the Muslims. They experience two occasions of joy—first, during the time of Iftar (breaking of the fast) when one completes his day of sacrifice and putting in control his personal desire over Ibadah (worship) and second, when the fasting person meets his Creator and eternally enjoy the reward of his good deeds in Jannah (paradise).
The observance of Ramadan is not all about abstaining from food and carnal desire during the day and lavish Iftar. It goes beyond the spiritual development of the person. The hunger he feels while fasting should enable him relate to the hunger felt by those who have less in life; hence, Muslims are reminded to increase their charity works during Ramadan.
Muslims are obliged to give “sadaqatul fitr,” a special charity for deserving recipients, which purifies one’s fasting from all imperfections. Ideally, the charity must be given out before the end of Eid al-Fitr prayer.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims must give attention to its long-term effect in their desire to move closer to God. It is also timely to gauge the success of their spiritual training in the practice of patience, love, compassion, mercy and tolerance.
Eid al-Fitr is an occasion where Muslims give thanks to Allah for all the blessings they enjoyed during the entire month of fasting.
In the Philippines, there are many ways to celebrate the event. The shifting of mood from fasting to festivity is very evident even in ordinary Muslim households. Even the poorest Muslim family strives to prepare something which family members can share. Mothers cook special food and delicacies to offer to visitors and friends.
Some families prefer to go outing. They can be seen at Rizal Park, Mall of Asia and Quezon Memorial Circle.
Preparations also include a budget to buy new clothes for the children. Muslims love exchanging gifts. For the affluent families, the party is usually held with lavishness. Non-Muslim friends are invited as special guests.
Muslims are enjoined to visit friends and families. The Tausug people fondly call this visit “magjiyara,” in which one greets another with a tight hug and kisses on the checks three times. The younger kiss the hands of the elderly.
Sometimes, the magjiyara goes emotional, especially for those having differences, for the day is the best time to reconcile. Muslims are in the most forgiving mood.
For the children, there are different shades of fun. Some move from house to house waiting for coins to be tossed in the air. Others wrestle for their share; the more coins they get, the more fun.
Amid the festive mood today, Muslims should not close their eyes to the situations of others in various parts of the world. They can make a fervent dua (prayer) for peace so that the sufferings will soon cease. When this happens, Eid al-Fitr celebrations will truly be joyous.
(Source: Morados, Macrina A. (July 6, 2016) “Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr: From fasting to feasting.” Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved on July 19, 2016 from
Close to a hundred individuals from the UP Muslim community that include students, faculty members, administrative and security staff attended the month long Iftar Program held at the Romulo Hall. The program was sponsored by Diyanet, a Turkish Foundation, in partnership with the IIS.
Mr. Taskin, a representative from Diyanet Foundation, who visited the IIS last June 22, 2016 and took part in the Iftar, expressed his pleasure at the successful implementation of the program. He shared some information about other projects of Diyanet Foundation and further requested those present to pray for Turkey with regards the issues it is facing today. After a group photo, Mr. Taskin left to catch his flight to Cebu.
Friends of the IIS and long-time partners in interfaith dialogue, like those coming from the Focolare movement and Maryhill School of Theology also joined the Iftar. Other friends from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs were also around. UP students— like those staying in the dormitories and those taking up PhD in Tri-College program—were also invited. For these students, iftar also became an opportunity to learn about Muslim culture. One Tri-College student asked me, “Is it a common thing to invite non-Muslims for the Iftar?” “Yes, I said, because the more exposure, the lesser the bias.” They praised the hospitality and the food served; some even claimed it was their first time to taste Muslim cuisines which they found appetizing.
A group of Indonesian exchange students under the UP National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education also attended. Dr. Soledad A. Ulep, the Director of NISMED herself introduced the group to IIS Dean Prof. Macrina A. Morados. The students were pleasantly surprised to know that Dr. Jamel Cayamodin, the College secretary of the Institute, speaks Bahasa. They were also happy to discover a Maranao version of Rendang, a popular Indonesian dish, as part of the menu being served. We made sure that the group would feel at home and they will not forget their experience when they return to Indonesia.
IIS partners for the Iftar of the Muslim women inmates in Camp Karingal have grown this year as other groups also joined. This includes the Australian Muslim Community (c/o Mr. Saleem Habibullah), the Embassy of Qatar in the Philippines, whose Embassy representative made a surprise visit to the IIS to hand over the funds, and the Embassy of the UAE in the Philippines in partnership with the Emirates Red Crescent. All in all, a total of seventeen days iftar was made possible through their help.
Another attraction in this year’s Iftar program was the inclusion of the 2016 IIS Recognition Day held on June 24, 2016 at the Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman, Quezon City. National Commission for Muslim Filipino Commissioner Analiza “Aisha” Flores-Malayang, an IIS alumna, was the guest speaker. The graduates, honor students and their parents got a surprise gift from the Institute and its partners. They were given prayer rug, prayer clothing for women, hijab, Qur’an with Filipino translation. These gifts were provided by Mr. Sadoun Alowayesh, a Kuwaiti national, and his lovely wife, Mrs. Zainab Hainto. Additional gifts of dates were also available and distributed for iftar, and also to constituents of the UP community. These dates were donation from Qater Embassy (25 boxes) Saudi embassy (5 boxes) and the MCMF (3 boxes).
UPD Chancellor Michael L. Tan announced the approval of the UP Board of Regents of the appointment of Asst. Professor Macrina “Hannah” Adjerol-Morados as the new Dean of the UP Institute of Islamic Studies during its 1313th meeting last December 11, 2015. She is the 8th Dean serving the IIS after Dean Julkipli M. Wadi. Dean Morados serves a 3-year term which started on January 1, 2016 and will end on December 31, 2018.
Prof. Morados finished her Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies and Bachelor of Laws at the Mindanao State University in 1991 and 2001, respectively. She earned her Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies at the UP-IIS in 2003 and presently pursuing her Ph D. in Philippine Studies at the UP Tri-College majoring in Philippine Culture and Society. She passed the Shariáh Bar Examinations and granted license to practice by the Supreme Court on November 7, 2006. Her field of expertise include: Muslim Personal and Family Relations (PD 1083), Muslim Women and Children’s Rights in Islam, Interfaith Relations, Islamic Civilization and History of the Muslims in the Philippines.
She is co-author with Dr. Carmen A. Abubakar of the book titled: “CRC and Islamic Law Divergences and Convergences: The Philippine Case” (2007). In 2008, she was recipient of a Cultural Exchange Program granted by the US Department of State and Purdue University. Her recent published articles include topics on Theocentricism and Pluralism. She was Shari’ah Bar Examiner in 2008 and recently in 2013 for the subjects in Islamic Inheritance Law and Persons and Family Relations, respectively. For this year (2016), she is hoping to finish her second book titled: “Islamic Adab (Ethics) in the Context of Filipino Values,” a UP-IIS book project funded by Zayed University, Dubai, UAE.
Recently, she was tapped by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) as Lecturer on the Islamic perspective during the National Gender and Development (GAD) Orientation Seminar conducted by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) held in various divisions particularly in the cities of Cagayan de Oro City, Davao, Cebu and Quezon City, Metro Manila She is also a member of the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) under the Historical Injustice Study Group (2015). Also team leader of an ongoing research engagement (for Caloocan City Cluster) on the study: “Children and Harmful Work in the Philippines: A Child Rights Situational Analysis” in collaboration with Prof. Rufa Guiam of Mindanao State University, General Santos City and Save the Children International.