MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to "live with integrity for yourselves and for the nation" as the Philippines marked the start of Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting and sharing of blessings.
One of the five pillars of Islam, Ramadan "is not only a period for Muslims to concentrate on prayer and making amends, but also a time for them to experience and enjoy Allah’s mercy."
"Similar to how the period of fasting ends with feasting, it is my hope that all your efforts for discipline and reflection will be rewarded with revelations as well as a deeper connection with Allah," Duterte said in a message that Malacañang released late Sunday.
He said he hoped the occasion would also "allow the teachings of the Qur’an to take precedence over all your decisions—even the smallest ones."
"Let the enlightenment that comes with your contemplation lead you to live with integrity for yourselves and for the nation, especially now when it is needed most," the President added.
Muslims believe the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed at around the time of Ramadan. It ends with the Eid al-Fitr festival.
They abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. They only break the fast with an early meal known as suhur and an evening meal called iftar.
They also engage in reflection, prayers, and improving their relationships with others.
The Koran exempts the ill, elderly and others who cannot give up food and water.