COTABATO CITY?Ramadan fasting might end on its 29th day if the crescent moon is sighted on Monday, Muslim religious leaders said Sunday.
Aleem Omar Pasigan, Mindanao?s oldest mufti (guardian of the House of Opinion, the decision making body of the Muslims), said a reconvened moon-sighting committee will determine whether the holy fasting month is to be 29- or 30-day, through naked eye lunar observation and credible organizational networking with similarly tasked groups and institutions here and abroad.
But he said it really didn?t make a difference to Muslims whether they had fasted for 29 or 30 days, because Ramadan often ends mid-hours of its 30th day, which means that the moon had by then risen for the following lunar month of Sawal.
Pasigan said the Dharul Ifta will collectively make the announcement on Monday evening, even as the religious sector and the government appeared to have settled on designating Oct. 1, a Wednesday, the officially Eid?l Fitr holiday.
Ustadz Esmael Ebrahim, spokesperson of the Assembly of Philippine Dharul Ifta, said whether or not fasting days ends on Monday, Eid?l Fitr prayer will most likely be held on Oct. 1.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has declared Oct. 1 a regular holiday in solidarity with the Muslim world?s celebration of the Eid?l Fitr.
The celebration of Eid?l Fitr festivity continues up to three days after the holiday congregational prayers.
But the Moro Islamic Liberation Front might designate an earlier holiday Tuesday, if Ramadan proves to be 29 days this year. A religious leader, asking not to be identified for security reasons, said the MILF through its network of ustadz (religious leaders) might do this in protest of government troops? offensives against groups of recalcitrant Moro commanders in Maguindanao and Lanao Norte provinces.
To the mainstream religious groups, however, a call for peace, unity and dialogue will be the theme of sermon in Eid?l Fitr congregational prayers often held in public squares of towns and cities, the assembly said through Ebrahim.
Ebrahim said the House of Opinion had chosen the theme of peace, unity and dialogue from 48 Selected Khutba (sermons) which the assembly has prepared for Friday prayer sermons delivery since last year.
The Hay-atul Ulama El Muslimeen in the Philippines has also issued a statement that it was seeking for a ?continuing dialogue? with the ?People of the Book,? as the Jews and the Christians are addressed in the Koran, Islam?s Holy Book.
The three-page ?Declaration of the Hay-Atul Ulama El-Muslimeen in the Philippines? (Organization of Muslim scholars in the Philippines) said that ?human rights must, at all times, be protected everywhere regardless of creed, color or religious affiliation.? It was signed by Mohammad Shuaib Yacob and Sheikh Zainodin Bato, respectively the group?s secretary-general and president, on Sept. 1, the start of Ramadan.
As in the previous years, the city?s officialdom led by Mayor Muslimen Sema will open the grounds of the People?s Palace for the city?s Muslims to hold the Eid?l Fitr prayers in.
Last week, Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was quoted as saying that religious leaders in the two Lanao provinces have in ?sermons on Saturday called on the Bangsamoro people to unite and wage a jihad?holy war?against enemies of Islam.?
But Aleem Mahmood Polangi, the mufti of Lanao, told the Inquirer that of the 48 yearly sermon topics, none calls for armed jihad. Nash B. Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao