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MANILA: Custodians of the Manila Golden Mosque are preparing to host over 10,000 worshippers for upcoming Eid Al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of Ramadan. 

In the predominantly Catholic Philippines, Muslims make up nearly 10 percent of the country’s roughly 110 million population. Most live on the southern islands of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. 

As Ramadan comes to an end and Muslims around the world prepare for Eid Al-Fitr, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last week declared April 10 a national holiday.

Eid preparations were underway on Monday at the Manila Golden Mosque, also known as Masjid Al-Dahab. With a capacity of 22,000 worshippers, the mosque, named after the color of its dome, is the largest in Metro Manila. 

“We are waiting for the (crescent) moon sighting. Once the moon is sighted, the next day at dawn we will celebrate Eid Al-Fitr,” Sultan Abdusalam Gerry Magarang, an administrator at the Manila Golden Mosque, told Arab News on Monday.  

Muslims begin Eid celebrations by partaking in a prayer service not long after dawn, followed by a short sermon. 

“We are expecting more or less 10,000 plus or more … People will start to trickle in at around 6 a.m., and then prayer starts at 7 o’clock,” Magarang said. “So we’re cleaning the surroundings (now) because it’s a big compound.

“It’s the most special time for us Muslims … (Ramadan) is a month of tranquility, a month of celebration being a Muslim; to fulfill one of the teachings of Allah. It’s a time for giving and helping one another,” Magarang said. 

Marcos said in a statement that April 10 was made a national holiday “in order to bring the religious and cultural significance of the Eid Al-Fitr to the fore of national consciousness.” 

The Golden Mosque hosts one of the biggest Eid celebrations in the Philippine capital, along with similar events at Rizal Park and the Blue Mosque in Taguig city. 

“Eid Al-Fitr is the culmination of our 30 days of fasting in the Muslim world. So we are happy to celebrate it. There is unity, harmony, and camaraderie,” Ebra Moxir, president of the Imam Council of the Philippines, told Arab News. 

“First we pray in the morning … There we will gather, and together we will praise the Lord … There will be a sermon, and after that a prayer, supplication. After the prayer, there will be family or in some cases community gatherings, greetings, visit to relatives and friends.” 

Like many Filipino Muslims, Moxir is looking forward to the joyful occasion. 

“It’s a happy celebration because we have once again completed and fulfilled our mandatory obligation which is one of the pillars of Islam. It’s mission complete.” 

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