A Catholic bishop in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao called for unity between Muslims and Christians during the celebration of Eid’l Fitr on Sunday, May 24.
Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz expressed hope that the celebration will be “a venue for respect” among peoples in the region.
“Congratulations to our Muslim brothers and sisters as you celebrate Eid Al Fitr,” he said. “You persevered the fasting, and for that I salute you,” added the prelate.
“May this celebration serve as a way for us to respect one another,” said Bishop Jumoad, adding that he prays that people “will become more generous to the needy at this time.”
“One thing that we should do, not only Muslims but Christians as well, is to be generous to those in need particularly on this pandemic,” he said.
Muslims traditionally hold grand outdoor prayers to mark the end of Ramadan fasting on the first day of Shawal, the 10th month from among 12, in the Hijrah calendar.
Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for one lunar cycle, or from between 28 to 29 days, as a religious obligation and to imbue on them the importance of self-restraint to achieve spiritual perfection.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith that include belief in Allah, praying five times a day facing west, giving of zakat or alms to the poor and, for those who can afford the cost of travel, performing the hajj or pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabia.
Anticipating huge crowds during the Eid celebrations, the Philippine government prohibited gatherings at mosques and open spaces during the day.
Saidamen Pangarungan of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos admitted that this year’s Ramadan observance and Eid celebration have been “unprecedented.”
“The [pandemic] has given us the golden opportunity to offer more supplications to Allah and read the Koran in the comforts of our homes,” he said.
“It has afforded us precious time to reflect upon life’s travails with sab’r or patience.”
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared May 25 as Eid al-Fitr day, a national holiday “allowing the entire Filipino nation the opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in peace and harmony in the observance and celebration of Eid’ Fitr, subject to existing community quarantine and physical distancing measures.”