Cebu’s Muslims join Ramadhan observance


MUSLIMS in Cebu joined their brothers in the faith around the world in fasting and praying to mark the annual 29-day observance of the Ramadhan yesterday.

At Colon Street, some Muslim businessmen closed shop early while others let their staff man their businesses while they fasted and prayed throughout the day.

Among them was Abdullah F. Lopez who was spotted by Cebu Daily News resting inside his mosque and clutching a blue “Tasbi”, a religious item consisting of 39 beads.

“It is a time to ask forgiveness and to talk and communicate with Allah,” said Lopez who used to be Alberto until he switched to Islam from Roman Catholicism in 1993.

He explained that clutching the “Tasbi” and uttering 100 praises to Allah is the Islamic equivalent of reciting the Holy Rosary for Roman Catholics.

The first 39 utterances glorify Allah, with the second 39 utterances praising him.

The 100th utterance is “Allah Akhbar” or “God is great.”

Lopez said he always brings the “Tasbi” with him as his protection given by Allah especially when he had a tumor operation on his face last 2001.

“I thought I was going to die but with prayers and communicating with Allah, I survived,” he said.

The “Fast of Ramadan” is considered as the fourth pillar of Islam.

According to the Quran, fasting is prescribed to Muslims or a number of days for meditation in order to cleanse themselves spiritually.

Muslims identify the start of Ramadan at the onset of the new moon which was spotted in Tawi-Tawi at 3 p.m.

Aside from fasting, Muslims also offer salat (prayers) and even the recitation of the Quran.

Muslims wake up at 4:30 a.m to start the fasting and prayers and at 6 p.m they can eat again.

There is also the mandatory five prayers a day; the more prayers they offer, the more rewards they expect to receive.

The first prayer called as “Fajr” starts at pre-dawn or 4:45 a.m. The next prayer at 12 noon is called “Dhuhr.”

The third prayer in the late afternoon is called “Asr” followed by the “Mahgrib” at sunset and the “Isha” before they sleep.

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