The Catholic bishop of the Prelature of Marawi in the southern Philippines has expressed his solidarity with the Muslim population of the city in the observance of the holy month of Ramadan.
“We are one with you … especially as you prepare yourselves to make a big sacrifice of fasting, intense prayer, and making works of mercy,” said Bishop Edwin de la Peña of Marawi.
The chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue of the bishops’ conference urged Christians to show respect and support for the Muslim population during the observance.
Muslim Filipinos started the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on Tuesday, April 13.
“Let us all come together and channel the spirit of Ramadan by helping those who are less fortunate and most in need,” said President Rodrigo Duterte in a message.
He urged Filipinos to continue to promote peace and unity “by manifesting faith through action … as we face the most challenging of times.”
In a separate statement, Vice President Leni Robredo expressed hope that the Filipino people will be reminded of our “common humanity.”
“May we be brought together and be reminded of our common humanity — our common struggles, and the common hope that binds us — and in this find the strength not only to endure, but to imagine a better normal for all, and build it,” said Robredo in her message.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. For 29 to 30 days, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, engaging in any sexual activity, and committing sinful acts from daybreak to dusk.
Exempted from fasting are children below puberty, pregnant and lactating mothers, those who are physically and mentally incapable, and travelers.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is considered one of the holiest Islamic months when Muslims fast. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon.
Muslims consider the whole month as a period of introspection, communal prayer in the mosque, and reading of the Koran.
Muslims are also expected to give alms to the poor and abstain from vices.
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