The southern Palawan municipalities would skip congregation prayers at masjids (mosques) in observance of the Ramadan amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to avoid the risk of contracting the highly infectious disease.

Sofronio Española town mayor Marsito Acoy said that the law enforcers have informed the Muslim communities to prevent mass gatherings during the Ramadan season, which is poised to start on April 24 subject to the moon sighting for confirmation on Thursday evening (April 23).

“Hindi na tayo gumawa ng advisory para diyan dahil kinausap na lang natin ang mga Muslim group sa Española kasama ang Philippine National Police (PNP) upang mag-disseminate ng information sa lahat ng barangay natin na hindi na muna sila pwedeng pumunta ng mga Mosque nila dahil nagpapatuloy ang ECQ natin,” he said.

Instead, Muslim groups were told to conduct their prayers in their individual households.

“Kasama diyan ang pagbabawal ng mass gathering kaya pinapayuhan natin sila na nasa bahay nalang sila magsagawa ng prayer para sa pagpasok ng kanilang Ramadan,” he added.

Ramadan is the 9th Islamic month based on the Hijrah or the lunar calendar. It is expected to last from April 24 until May 23, subject for confirmation on Thursday night, April 23.

The Muslims were to observe fasting or abstaining from water, food, “bad words”, and “bad deeds” from dawn to sunset as a month of trial or test for the rich to experience hunger and in solidarity with the poor and those who are suffering.

Said-Alih Sha, a facilitator from a religious volunteer organization in Balabac, said that around 90 percent of the population in Balabac were predominantly Muslims, who were also told to perform tarawi (voluntary prayers) inside the confines of their homes.

“Muslim doesn’t only abstain from foods but do good deeds by observing obligatory and voluntary prayers in masjid or at home. It makes Muslims be patient, kind, and merciful as training for them to become responsible people,” he said.

Muslims usually welcome Ramadan by joining moon sighting and sharing of food during suhoor or early breakfast as early as 4 a.m. The daily religious ritual usually ends by breaking the fast called iftar supplicated by eating and praying together at sundown.

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