Press Release
September 7, 2016

Sponsorship Speech of Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri

On Monday, September 12, the Philippines will be united as one country in the observance of one holy day in the Islamic calendar. We shall observe the Eid al-Adha, often called the greater holiday in Islam relative to Eidil FItr.

Mr. President, Eid al-Adha is one of the 12 regular holidays and 3 special holidays observed nationwide. On those 15 days, we cast aside our differences and celebrate as one nation. Most of all, we render respect to the persons and events being commemorated on those special days.

We Christians celebrate many different holidays - Christmas, All Saints' Day, and Holy Week - as regular holidays. Initially, there was only one regular holiday for Muslim Filipinos, the Eidil Fitr, under Republic Act No. 9177, which by the way was also authored by Sen. Legarda, and I believe, Sen. Gordon. Thus, in 2009, I authored and sponsored Republic Act No. 9849, which declared Eid al-Adha as a national holiday, in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters. It has been seven years since we started observing Eid al-Adha as a regular holiday nationwide, yet many are still not aware of the significance of this day for Islam.

Eid al-Adha is one of the two most important days in Islam. It is a celebration of the end of Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage that Muslims must make to the holy city of Mecca at least once in his life. Eid al-Adha commemorates the story of Prophet Abraham, with whom many of us are familiar. Allah spoke to Abraham in a dream and instructed him to build a shrine in Mecca. At the time, Mecca was a desolate and barren desert, but Abraham heeded Allah's call with devotion and without complaint. In his most supreme act of obedience to Allah, Abraham was about to sacrifice the life of his only son, Ishmael. But Allah, seeing Abraham's complete devotion and his willingness to give up the life of his only son, spared Ishmael's life moments before the sacrifice and replaced him with a lamb.[1]

Prophet Abraham's ultimate sacrifice is what our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrate on Eid al-Adha. I know this story is also in our Bible as Christians. As such, it is known as "the Feast of Sacrifice," which they traditionally commemorate by giving meat to friends, neighbors, relatives, and the needy.[2]

Eid al-Adha falls on a different date every year because its timing is directed by the lunar cycle. The day of Eid is set when a new moon is sighted, so that Eid al-Adha falls on a different day depending on which sect, mosque or region one is in.[3] As such, I commend the President for issuing Proclamation No. 56, declaring September 12th as the exact day of commemorating the tenth day of Zhul Hijja - the twelfth month of the Islamic Calendar, as Eid al-Adha.

Mr. President, I believe that awareness and recognition of our diversity is the first step in eliminating prejudice and bigotry, and it is necessary for us to learn about and be open to each other in order to foster mutual respect and unity among all of our people. To our Muslim brothers and sisters, I wish you a meaningful and blessed Eid Mubarak. And I ask my colleagues in the Senate, if we can make all members as author of this Resolution, I humbly submit, Mr. President.


[1] Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
[2] Ibid.

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