Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Hijra or Islamic calendar and is one of the most special events among Muslims worldwide. During Ramadhan they observe As-sawmu Ramadhan or fasting for 29 to 30 days. Fasting includes refraining from consuming food, drinking, smoking, and engaging in sexual contact from dawn (Fajr) until to sunset (Maghrib). This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
When we planned for this trip to Jolo, Sulu, we scheduled it during Ramadhan, specifically few days before the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. We wanted to experience and learn more about our Muslim brothers and sisters' traditions and religious observances during the holy month of Ramadhan.
On August 7, 2013, our first day in Jolo, we were brought by Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin at Port of Jolo to witness the "moon sighting activity" that will take place. There were a lot of people already at the port waiting for the sunset when we arrived.
It is said that the holy month of Ramadhan lasts for 29–30 days depending on the visual sightings of the crescent moon. The moon sighting activity will determine if they will end the fasting and celebrate Eid al-Fitr the following day. But the moon was not seen at that time, it means they will not yet celebrate Eid al-Fitr on August 8 but on August 9, after the completion of 30 days of fasting.
It was such an awesome experience! We were so lucky to witness such an event.
We went back to Mayor Amin's house where he is hosting an iftar for Imams, Ustads and other religious leaders . Iftar is the meal at sunset that breaks the fast before going to prayer. It was a very nice experience to join them in having the iftar.
After the iftar, we went up to the mosque inside the house to observe the Tarawih prayers. They are extra prayers performed by Muslims at night during the Islamic month of Ramadan after the fifth obligatory prayer or the Salatu Eisha.
After observing the Tarawih prayers, we went to Masjid Tulay in downtown Jolo where we were invited inside to check on the gathering they are having. Thank you to the people inside the mosque for such a warm welcome.
August 9, 2013, Friday, is the most-awaited event. It's the day of Eid al-Fitr! An important religious celebration of Muslims worldwide which marks the end of Ramadhan. We went to the mosque inside Jolo Municipal compound where we were able to witness and join them with their Salatul Eid prayers at the morning of Eid al-Fitr.
Eid al-Fitr is a festive celebration of having endured the month of fasting. Men, women and children dressed in their most beautiful attires went to the mosque for the Salatul Eid prayers.
Salatul Eid is a special prayer done on the day of the Eid al-Fitr. Here's a part of the Salatul Eid taken inside the Jolo Municipal Hall during the Eid al-Fitr.
Everyone is on festive mood greeting each other "Happy Hari Raya!", "Eid Mubarak!" It was an inexplicable feeling greeting our Muslim brothers and sisters and joining them in one the happiest days on every Muslim's life.
We then went back to Mayor Amin's house for the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.
The experience of celebrating Eid al-Fitr with our Muslim brothers and sister is one thing that I will cherish forever. Happy Hari Raya! Eid Mubarak!
HOW TO GET TO JOLO, SULU
Major airlines fly daily to Zamboanga City from Manila, Cebu or Davao. From Zamboanga City, you may take a 40-minute flight to Jolo with schedules every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You may also may take a ferry boat from Zamboanga City to Jolo with daily trips at night; fare is around 500 pesos, travel time is about 8 hours.
NOTE: It's certainly safe to travel to Jolo. I suggest that you contact the Local Government Unit of Jolo when planning a visit for proper coordination. You may contact them thru their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jolo.mungovt.
|This trip to the Province of Sulu happened on August 7-9, 2013. Sulu is the 80th province on my list.|
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