ARMM folks pray for peace on ‘Hariraya’ feast PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 10 August 2013 13:25

While Muslims in Mindanao did not end the observance of the Ramadan simultaneously, they were united in their prayers for lasting peace and an end to the cycle of violence in the region during their Eid’l Fitr outdoor congregational prayers.

Some Muslims in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi already celebrated Eid’t Fitr on Thursday after sighting the “hilal” or crescent moon, marking the start of the month of Shawwal in the Hijrah calendar.

Shawwal comes after the Islamic “Holy month” Ramadan, where healthy Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for one lunar cycle, both as a religious obligation and as a means of strengthening spiritual perfection through self-restraint.

“Some Muslims in Mindanao celebrated the Eid’l Fitr one day ahead because they started the Ramadan when Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere abroad started fasting ahead after seeing the new moon that signaled the start of the Ramadan about a month ago,” said Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

Majority of Muslims in Cotabato City and Maguindanao adhered to the declaration of the local Darul Iftah or House of Opinions, that the month-long fasting ends on Friday (August 9) after failing to see the crescent moon last Wednesday night (August 7).

“We are glad to see how ARMM residents surmounted all the security problems and the calamities that struck the region during the 2013 Ramadan through diligence, cooperation and firm belief in Allah,” Hataman said.

Petitions for peace and an end to the man-made and natural calamities in the ARMM, and a successful culmination of the on-going peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front reverberated through the open fields in Central Mindanao where thousands of ethnic Maguindanaons, Iranons and Maranaw Muslims performed congregational prayers to cap the Eid celebration.

The ARMM is home to some three million culturally-diverse Muslim groups, scattered in its component areas — Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in Central Mindanao, the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.

Muslims in the 37 barangays of Cotabato City and in some flashpoint areas in Maguindanao, a known hotbed of religious extremism, prayed in open fields at the backdrop of tight security.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, chairman of the provincial peace and order council, said they were busy imposing security measures until dawn of Friday to ensure a safe celebration of the Eid’l Fitr in the province.

“We are grateful to the support of the religious leaders, the local government units and the traditional Moro datus to the provincial government’s effort of making the Eid celebration in the province a peaceful and solemn one,” Mangudadatu said.

Central Mindanao’s Moro residents were elated hearing someone from the Senate — Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III — extend to them Eid greeting, the first to do so via emailed messages to local religious organizations and media outfits in the ARMM provinces.

“It’s nice to hear from a Christian senator, who is from Mindanao, greet us Muslims during this very special event for us,” said a 40-year-old electrician Badrudin Samsudin, who read Guingona’s greetings on Facebook.

Employees of the ARMM’s executive department said Guingona’s gesture pushed forward Hataman’s effort of fostering Muslim-Christian solidarity in the autonomous region.

“Such actions, coming from someone in the Senate and from President Benigno Aquino III, who also greeted his Muslim constituents in all parts of the Philippines, will help remove the feeling of neglect and inferiority among Moro people, often wrongly labeled as a minority community,” said Myrna Jocelyn Henry of the ARMM’s Regional Communications Group.

Southern Muslim communities during the Eid traditionally partake of food, mostly native delicacies, in gatherings also held as a reunion of clans, capped with the settlement of feuds among family members.

“When we celebrate the Eid, we have an overwhelming feeling of emerging victorious from our month-long fasting sacrifice during daytime, which was espoused by Prophet Mohammad and as taught in the Qur’an, for us to learn the value of self-restraint,” said Engineer Hadji James Mlok, chief of Maguindanao’s Second District Engineering District Office.