Muslim Filipinos pray for Pandemic to end

SPECIAL REPORT
By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
Managing Editor

The Muslim Filipinos celebrated the Islamic New Year or Amun Jadid on Thursday, August 20, 2020 (Muharram 1, 1442) with prayer for an end to pandemics, to have good health, lasting peace, and fruitful year the whole year round and in all the coming years. 

Amun Jadid falls on the first day of the first month of Muharram in 1442 in the lunar Hijra calendar equivalent to August 20, 2020 in the Gregorian calendar. It is determined by the appearance of the crescent moon.

Aleem Said Ahmad Basher, chairman of the Imam Council of the Philippines and a graduate of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt explained that in Islamic calendar the changing of the date commences right after sunset unlike in the Gregorian calendar the changing of the date date starts 12 midnight. Hence, August 20, 2020 corresponds to Muharram 1, 1442, Aleem Basher further explained.

He said the Hijra calendar was first introduced by one of the closest companions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him), Umar ibn Al-Khatab, which marks the Hijra or migration of the Holy Prophet from Makkah to Medina to establish the first Islamic state.

He said at first the 12 months of Hijrah has no specific year yet. Thus the companions of Prophet Muhammad notably Umar ibn Al-Khatab devised a method on how to determine the year. 

First, they tried to make the birthday or Maulud-din-Nabi of the Holy Prophet as the basis in determining the start of the year of the lunar calendar. But it was not unanimously agreed. So they tried to use the first prophesy or revelation of the Holy Qur’an at Jabal Nur. But just the same they did not agree on it. Then they tried also the Israh Wal Miraj or the Ascension of Prophet Muhammad to Heaven by passing from Makkah to Jerusalem. But just the same it was not adopted in determining the start of the Islamic year.

Finally, the first month of the Islamic year is named Muharram. The companions of the Prophet agreed in unison to start the Islamic New Year from the time when Prophet Muhammad fled from Makkah to Yathrib (now called Medina) in 622 AH to escape religious persecution. Thus the Islamic New Year has been observed in this way since 622 AH after the Hijra.

It can be noted also the lunar calendar in Hijra has 355 days unlike the solar calendar of the Gregorian Calendar it has 365 days and if it is a leap year that occurs every 4 years it has a total of 366 days with the month of February has 29 days.

A usual question is being asked if Muslims may wish or greet someone by saying Happy Amun Jadid (Islamic New Year)? 

According to Aleem Basher, generally, there is nothing wrong with wishing someone good health and well-being every year and that God bless them all the time. 

He said the general Muslim community around the world would be fine if someone simply wished them a “Happy New Year” because there is nothing “haram” (forbidden or wrong) in such a statement.

Hence, before explaining further some of the salient features of Amum Jadid, Aleem Basher read a solemn prayer by wishing everyone to stay happy the whole year (Kullo Wa Antom Bihayr).

In like manner, Sultan Muedzul-Lail Tan Kiram, the 35th Sultan and reigning monarch in the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (Sabah) sent also his Amun Jadid message to the Philippine Muslim Today, and said, “Let us all pray that this year will be a peaceful, healthful and fruitful year. Let us pray for peace to reign in every corner of the world.”

Sultan Kiram said the year 1441 was a disastrous one around the world with the COVID-19 pandemic that killed thousands of people and in the Middle East with the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon that killed hundreds including some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and thousands left homeless.

The Sultan of Sulu also said as the Islamic world celebrated the Amun Jadid,  “I would like to greet Muslims  around the world especially the Bangsa Sug in the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (Sabah) a Mubarak Amun Jadid.”

Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said the Bangsamoro Government joins the entire Muslim Ummah in the observance of Amun Jadid or the Islamic New Year for the Hijra Year 1442.

“Despite not being part of Islam’s two major Eid celebrations, Amun Jadid provides Muslim communities an opportunity to look back and reflect upon the previous year,” Chief Minister Ebrahim said.

In his message, the Chief Minister also said “that the observance of Amun Jadid,  of course, comes on a very unprecedented time. The coming of the new Hijra year during this pandemic gives us more reason to reassess on our affairs and how we walk in this earthly life. I hope we take this opportunity to humbly look into our lives, how we treat others and how we strengthen our faith to the Almighty Allah.”

Meanwhile, a Bangsamoro leader sent also his Amun Jadid message through the Philippine Muslim Today. 

Datu Yusoph Boyog Mama, the Masirikampo sa Marawi (Traditional Royal Ruler of Marawi) said, “we pray that the Bangsamoro people, and their leaders, will be able to successfully navigate through the demands of the ongoing and post-crisis period. And the integration of fundamental global standards along with other local and international partners who see so much promise in the Bangsamoro region. 

The Masirikampo sa Marawi also said, “on the special occasion of this year’s Amun Jadid celebration, allow me to express and share my sincere prayers that the Almighty Allah (SWT) give us more strength, solidarity, piety, and resilience especially for the Bangsamoro people and for the greater Philippine Muslim society in the face of the challenges brought about by the fast-changing global landscape.”
Amun Jadid is one of the  Philippine holidays as an Islamic New Year. It is a Muslim Legal Holiday in some parts of the Philippines.

Pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1083 known  as Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines, “AMUN JADID” or Islamic New Year is a recognized Muslim Legal Holiday. This year it falls on August 20, 2020 which corresponds to Muharram 1, 1442 AH (After Hijra).

Based on PD 1083, Article 170. Provides the provinces and cities where Muslim holidays are officially observed. 

(1) Muslim Holidays shall be officially observed in the Province(s) of Basilan, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and in the Cities (of Cotabato, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, and Zamboanga and in such other Muslim provinces and cities) as may hereafter be created. 

And upon proclamation by the President of the Philippines, Muslim holidays may also be officially observed in other provinces and cities.

Likewise based on Article 172. Observance by Muslim Employees:

(1) All Muslim government officials and employees in place other than enumerated under Article 170 shall also be excused from reporting to office in order that they may be able to observe Muslim holidays.

(2) The President of the Philippines may, by proclamation, require private offices, agencies or establishments to excuse their Muslim employees from reporting for work during a Muslim holiday without reduction in their usual compensation.

Be that as it may the Philippine Muslim Today Management and Staff while everyone celebrated their Amun Jadid quietly on Thursday, as it marked its 10th Digital Edition on Friday, it is also wishing everyone the Muslim Filipinos a peaceful New Year with a solemn prayer that the COVID-19 will finally end so that everyone can experience a new normal lives again, Aleem Basher in his solemn prayer further said. JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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