President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday joined Filipino Muslims in praying for lasting peace in the country in celebration of Amun Jadid or Islamic New Year.
In his message, the President noted the importance of the occasion in instilling discipline and good values among members of the Islamic faith.
“I join the Muslim Filipino community and all the Muslims in the world in commemorating Amun Jadid or Islamic New Year. This occasion is one of the most important events in the culture of Islam. Indeed, Amun Jadid provides a reason to celebrate faith, offers the opportunity to contemplate life’s real purpose and grants the chance to reassess your dealings with other people,” Duterte said.
The President then called on Filipino Muslims to unite with other Filipinos in attaining peace and prosperity for everyone.
“Let us work as one nation to fight the ills of society and never waver on our journey toward the fulfillment of our promise of real change,” Duterte said. “I wish you a happy new year and may Allah bless you always.”
The country’s more than 10 million Muslims are celebrating Islamic New Year as government troops are preparing their final assault against Islamic State-linked Maute Group terrorists who laid siege to Marawi City on May 23.
While the entire nation was focused on the imposition of Martial Law 46 years ago on September 21, 1972, little did the majority of Filipinos know that the Muslim New Year is celebrated on the same day.
Amun Jadid falls on the first day of the first month of Muharram 1439 in the lunar Hijra calendar, equivalent to September 21 in the Gregorian calendar. It is determined by the appearance of the new crescent moon.
Aleem Said Ahmad Basher, chairman of the Imam Council of the Philippines, explained that in the Muslim calendar, the changing of the date commences right after sunset unlike in the Gregorian calendar where the changing of the date starts at 12 midnight.
Hence, Thursday corresponds to Muharram 1, 1439, Basher further explained.
The Hijra calendar was first introduced by one of the closest companions of Prophet Muhammad, Umar Ibn Al-Khatab, which marks the Hijra or migration of the Holy Prophet from Mecca to Medina to establish the first Islamic state.
Supt. Ebra Moxsir, chief of police of embattled Marawi City, asked his fellow Muslims to join him in the quest for lasting peace in Mindanao especially in the city as the Muslim world celebrated the advent of the Muslim New Year.
“As we usher another Amun Jadid in the Muslim world, I join everyone especially the internally displaced persons in the celebration of this Muslim New Year with our hope and prayers for a better Islamic City of Marawi, and Happy Amun Jadid to everyone, ” Moxsir said.
Moxsir, also an Imam, urged his fellow Muslims to change their ways to achieve real change.
“Let us accept this crisis in the Islamic City of Marawi as a suffering for our sins that we have committed. Let’s go back to Allah and seek atonement for our sins, and let us stop all our wrong or evil ways, small and big alike,” he said.
Similarly, Datu Yusoph Boyog Mama of Masirikampo sa Marawi (Traditional Royal Ruler of Marawi), in his Amun Jadid message said, “Let us reflect and be inspired through the great example of our noble ancestors from Marawi centuries ago who have sacrificed so much to shape its religious and social compass for us to promote a healthy social system that will guide us as Islamic and Meranaw society. To be devoid of malignant elements being introduced [to us such as the drug menace and others]and even more destructive people and their cohorts whose criteria of leadership should never be allowed to exploit and destroy our beloved Marawi.”
Under Presidential Decree 1083, or the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines, Amun Jadid is considered an official Muslim holiday observed in the Basilan, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, and in the cities of Cotabato, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian and Zamboanga.
The same law also provides that all Muslim government officials and employees in places other than those mentioned shall also be excused from reporting to office that they may be able to observe Amun Jadid.