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PH Muslims to fast longer for this year's Ramadan.

Filipino Muslims started longer fasting hours on Thursday as Ramadan again coincided with summer this year.

This year's Ramadan would be the second straight year that Muslims in the country would be skipping meals and fluids for about 15 hours each day for 30 days.

Summer in the Philippines started on April 10, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

However, the warmest month was May, when temperatures reached 33 degrees Celsius. The heat index could reach at least 40 degrees Celsius, the state weather bureau added.

'2018 will be a real test of self-discipline, sacrifice and constancy of devotion to God,' said journalist Edd K. Usman.

Gov't guide

In a guide released by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), Filipino Muslims should start 'sawm' (fasting) by taking their 'suhoor' meals before 3:52 a.m. or 3:57 a.m., depending on the day.

In the guide, signed by Tahir Lidasan, NCMF officer in charge, Muslims should be breaking fast, or start taking their 'iftar' meals, only starting 6:20 p.m. or 6:29 p.m.-still depending on the date-before the last daylight prayer, 'maghrib,' takes place.

The longer days would start on May 31, the 16th day of fasting, when Muslims would skip meals from 3:52 a.m., or 15 hours and 20 minutes until iftar. This was so because the day would be longer at least a week from the summer solstice, which would fall on either June 20 or 21 this year.

List of prohibitions

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and is prescribed for all able-bodied Muslims.

Muslims skip meals, fluids, cigarettes, chewing gums and other things that would signify intake. Sexual activities are also prohibited and Muslims try to avoid breaking the law.

During Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to pray the regular prayers and supplications, and to recite the Quran.

They are also encouraged to perform the nightly 'Tarawih,' or Ramadan prayers, until the night before the last day of fasting.

Giving alms ('zakat') is also mandatory for those who can afford it.

For Muslims, the last 10 nights of Ramadan are very special as it was during this time that the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is known as Laylat al-Qadr, or the night of power.

Eid al-Fitr

The last day of fasting would be taking place on June 14.

Eid al-Fitr was seen to take place on June 15 or 16, or the start of the month of Shawwal in the Hijrah calendar.

However, devout Muslims would still fast for six days in Shawwal, in the belief that their Ramadan fasting and the six days of abstention from food, liquid and others during Shawwal would be equivalent to a whole year of fasting.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:May 19, 2018
Words:548
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