Fast So We Can be Full
By Samira Gutoc
Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty that the country is experiencing, there is no stopping the observance of the Holy Month of Ramadhan. Thirty days of no food, water, sex twelve hours in the daytime is mind-boggling to some. But to Muslims, it is made more meaningful this year, because they experience the suffering of thousands of evacuees in the South, Muslims and Christians alike, who are running away from armed hostilities since the imposition of a TRO on a territorial deal between Moro rebels and the government.
Fasting is one of the five pillars in Islam (aside from prayer, charity, pilgrimage to Mecca and Declaring There is One God but Allah but Muhammad is His Messanger) observed during Ramadhan. Ramadhan is the ninth month in the Islamic Lunar year and is the month when the Holy Q’uran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad and therefore is considered to be a period of spiritual glory. During this month, Muslims strive to be pure inside and out- in thoughts, words and in deeds- by fasting and conducting special rituals.
In the Philippines and even in other countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, Ramadhan is a time for merry-making and gift-giving. Just like in the Christmas season of the Christians, there are a lot of activities being conducted in light of the celebration. There are contests and festivities during the night (such that daytime is the time for fasting) which includes fireworks display and food feasts. At the end of the month, Muslims have to give charity to the poor.
Truly, Ramadhan is instrumental in forging peace between those who are in conflict. It provides a time to reflect upon our past and our present. It is the time when people from different walks of life - young, old, rich, poor, men and women - are gathered together in a moment of joy and happiness and spiritual realization. It is a time when understanding is given a chance to create trailblazers towards peace and prosperity.
This is a time to share cultures through art, music and drama. Performing groups can do shows and concerts for the public. One young Moro guy is performing tomorrow evening at the Music Museum to promote peace amidst the Southern crisis. Khomenei, a Maguindanao pop artist and look-alike of Rustom Padilla, is fast creating a niche as a performer in Muslim-majority circles, especially the young.
This Ramadhan, there can be cultural shows and exchanges that would showcase the colorful and exquisite art of dance and music of the Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug, Yakan, Iranun and other Muslim cultural groups in the Philippines. Through this, we open the way to reminding the youth of today about their roots and their wonderful culture thereby countering strong Western pop influence. We make them appreciate the wonders and mystique of the Mindanao Muslim culture and we invite them to preserve this culture.
Moreover, concerts can be held to showcase Muslim-rooted artists like Bamboo and Jamer of Slapshock and all the local artists who are gaining ground in incorporating local Muslim dialects in modern music. Through this, we are creating inspiration for the youth, sending them a message that Muslims can be as great if not greater than the rest of the people in the world.
It is true that fasting is not the total solution to the problems that we face today. But it cannot be denied likewise that through sacrifice , we contribute to achieving our noble aspirations as part of a nation of believers in One Mighty God, by being governors of ourselves first. This one month of hunger eventually builds the path towards loving others , a society based on sharing, making a peace for a lifetime.