Published June 10, 2016 2:48pm
By AYA TANTIANGCO, GMA News
The month-long observance of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan began on June 6 and Muslims around the world have started abstaining from food, drinks, sexual relations, and sinful speech and behavior.
The "sawm" or fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and according to Marcina Morados, Dean of the University of the Philippines Islamic Studies, there are many benefits for a Muslim who observes fasting during this month.
A report by GMA News reporter Mariz Umali said the dawn to sunset fast is not a mere diet practice.
Non-Muslims should recognize the holiness of the occasion.
Despite abstaining from food and water among other restrictions, it is "business as usual" for Muslims. They still go to school or work as usual.
In Islamic countries, Muslims are given certain privileges like shortened work hours. Eating in public and open display of food and water are also prohibited, with restaurants required to drape their windows with black curtains.
As a courtesy to those fasting during Ramadan, non-Muslims are enjoined not to schedule working lunches or offer them food or water any moment before the sun sets.
Non-Muslims are however, welcome to join Muslims for Iftar or the meal to break the fast after sunset.
You may also greet them "Ramadan Kareem", "Ramadan Mubarak" or "Happy Ramadan."
"Ang okasyong ng Ramadan ay pwede nating gamitin para i-highlight natin 'yung common universal values between Islam and Christianity," Dean Morados said.
Ramadan may be likened to the Lenten season for Christians, wherein believers are encouraged to give up vices, abstain from meat and fast on Fridays.