Muslims celebrate Islamic New Year

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COTABATO CITY, Oct. 3 (PNA) -- Muslim Filipinos across the country are observing today "Amon Jadid" (Islamic New Year), a regional non-working holiday which signals the first day of lunar-based Islamic Hijrah calendar.

The Hijrah New Year is observed at the end or culmination of this year’s annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

It is one of the Muslim holidays under Presidential Decree 1083, which codified Muslim family laws and practices.

Under PD 1083, it is non-working holiday in the provinces of, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, now under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and the cities of Cotabato, Zamboanga, Iligan, Pagadian, Tacurong, Kidapawan, Marawi and Dipolog.

All Muslim government employees and officials in places other than the areas mentioned by PD 1083 shall also be excused from reporting to office in order that they may be able to observe the holiday, the Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) today said in a statement.

Government employees in the provinces and cities For Muslims, performing Hajj is obligatory for those who can afford the cost of travel to Mecca. It is one of the five pillars of Islamic religion. Others are absolute belief in Allah, praying five times a day, giving of “zakat” (alms) to the poor and fasting at day time during the month of Ramadan.

A congregational prayer is scheduled in an open field in communities with huge population of Muslims.

Local officials, in separate statements, appealed to all Muslim faithful to make Amon Jadid as an opportunity to renew commitment to peace in southern Philippines and the rest of the country.