Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins Thursday

MANILA — Muslims worldwide will start the fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday, May 17.

“In the name of the Ulema sector and by the authority vested upon me as NCR Mufti, I hereby declare that we didn’t see the moon today therefore tomorrow is not the first day of Ramadan, it will begin on Thursday, 17th of May 2018,” National Capital Region Mufti Aleem Naquib Taher said during a moon-sighting event on Tuesday evening. A Mufti is an expert in Islamic laws and is empowered to issue rulings or fatwa in Arabic on matters that concern the religion.

Moon sighting is a tradition observed by Muslims in line with the declaration of the start of Ramadan, or the ninth month of the Muslim year, wherein strict fasting is observed from predawn to dusk.

Moon sighting expert Aleem Abedin Basher explained that they were not able to see the first crescent of the moon because of the clouds.

“We were not able to see the moon, today May 15, it’s not Ramadan here in the Philippines because the sun had set at 6:17 p.m. and the moon had set at 6:08 p.m. We will wait until 3:00 a.m. in other places like Saudi, Libya or west bound countries, West Africa in case they saw the moon today we will go with them (with their decision),” Basher said.

Apart from being a traditional event, Commission on Elections chief of Judicial Records Division Dr. Saga Mabaning said that moon sighting is a significant event for Muslims nationwide as “it shows that they are one in conducting their religious rites just like the Christians who are united in performing their religious activities.”

Grand Mufti Al-Sheikh Abdel Jabbar Macarimbor called on Muslims all over the country to be united in preparation for Ramadan.

“Let’s just be united so that the blessings of the Almighty will come to us especially during the fasting season in the month of Ramadan…let’s not do anything Allah dislikes, let’s be careful of our actions, words and way of life,” Macarimbor said. Ma. Teresa Montemayor/