MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte stressed the need for sacrifice to help communities, as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on Thursday, May 17.
"As we set forth into an era of change, one must make sacrifices not only to overcome personal difficulties, but also to create meaningful and lasting strides in our communities," the President said in his Ramadan message issued on Wednesday, May 16.
"By demonstrating the noble teachings of Islam, it is my fervent hope that you continue to do good deeds for the poor and the marginalized members of society," he added.
In a separate statement, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said, "On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Foreign Affairs, I would like to wish our Muslim brothers and sisters Ramadan Kareem!"
"We join you in praying for peace and harmony for all during this time of fasting and introspection," Cayetano said.
Ramadan is a holy month for the world's nearly 1.5 billion Muslims, many of whom practice the ritual of dawn-to-dusk fasting and prayers.
Tradition holds that it was during Ramadan that the Prophet Mohammed started receiving revelations of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.
Ramadan is one of the 5 "pillars" of Islam.
The others are the profession of faith ("there is no God but God and Mohammed is his messenger"), the obligation to pray five times a day, charity, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.