Bangsamoro leaders bat for unity as Ramadhan begins

COTABATO CITY – Officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are calling for unity among the region's constituents and expressing sympathy for the "suffering brothers and sisters around the globe" as the Bangsamoro people observe this year's Ramadhan fast.
"Each member of the Bangsamoro plays a pivotal role in cultivating peace and ensuring the prosperity of our region. Hence, this Ramadhan, let us unite in our shared journey towards enlightenment through education," said Mohagher Iqbal, the Education Minister of the BARMM.

Muslims in the Philippines began their month-long fasting on Tuesday, March 12, as the crescent moon of Ramadhan, the ninth month in the lunar Hijri calendar, was not sighted on Sunday.

A group led by the Bangsamoro Darul-Ifta conducted a moon-sighting activity on Sunday but failed to sight the new moon that could have signaled the start of the Ramadhan fast, as announced by Mufti Abdulrauf Guialani.

Bangsamoro Parliament Speaker Balindong said, "In the quiet moments of suhoor (early dawn meal) and iftar (breaking the fast as soon as the sun sets), let us be grateful to Allah (swt) for the sustenance He has provided. And in the midst of our own comfort, let us not forget our suffering brothers and sisters across the globe."

BARMM Senior Minister Abunawas Maslamama added, "Through fasting, we share in the pain experienced by the less fortunate, fostering empathy and compassion for those in need."

"As we embrace the spirit of Ramadhan this year, let us take this time to strengthen our resolve, deepen our understanding, and reinforce the bonds of kinship and solidarity. Together, we can build a legacy of knowledge and harmony that will echo through generations," said Iqbal, who is also a member of the Bangsamoro Parliament.

Muslim scholar Habib Usman, who is based in Cotabato City and a graduate of Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, told Luwaran that fasting in Ramadhan is one of the five pillars of Islam.

"It is in the month of Ramadhan that the Holy Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The Holy Qur'an governs all aspects of a Muslim's life, be it political, social, or economic," Usman said.