Eidl Fitr Mubarak!
Eidl Fitr Mubarak,” or “Blessed Feast of Breaking the Fast,” is a proper end-of-Ramadan—this year, last Thursday, May 13th—greeting among friends in the Philippines, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, who respect Islam. It can be written in many ways; above is simply the Facebook greeting of my dear friend Amina Rasul, president of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy.
What I am most accustomed to is “Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri,” or “Happy Holiday of Breaking the Fast,” as they say in Indonesia and Malaysia, where I was an OFW in 1970/71 and 1977/78.
Recent Social Weather Stations releases (www.sws.org.ph) have been aligned to Ramadan. The latest one is the newly analyzed “July 2018 Religion Survey in ARMM and Nearby Areas: 65% of adults say there is only one true way to interpret the teachings of Islam,” 5/12/21. Two are from the Fourth Quarter 2020 Social Weather Survey: “82% of Muslim adults pray the Salah at least a few times daily; 67% of non-
Muslims pray at least once daily,” 4/27/21, and “73% of Filipinos say religion is very important,” 3/31/21.
Religion is very important to Filipino Muslims in particular. In the last citation, the 73 percent national average in November 2020 was topped by 93 percent among Muslims, followed by 88 percent among Iglesia ni Cristos, and a tie of 71 percent between Catholics and Other Christians (meaning neither Catholics nor INCs).
The 73 percent 2020 figure was a 10 point drop from the record-high 83 percent in late 2019, made up of 94 percent among Muslims, 84 percent among Catholics, 78 percent among Other Christians, and 69 percent among INCs. Thus the importance of religion has stayed very high among Muslims. The drop happened among the very numerous Catholics and also among the Other Christians; religion rose in importance among INCs, but they were too few to affect the average.
Religious beliefs are more intense among Filipino Muslims in particular. A month ago, I wrote on the great religiosity of Filipinos in general, compared to other peoples of the world (“Most religious, most prayerful,” Inquirer.net, 4/10/21), based on the 2018 Religion survey of the International Social Survey Program. By going deeper into that database for Filipinos, one can see instances where the beliefs of Filipino Muslims are particularly intense.
Since Catholics are so dominant (77 percent of the Philippine sample), it suffices to compare their beliefs with those of Filipino Muslims (5 percent of the sample):
Belief that heaven definitely exists: Catholics 78 percent, Muslims 93 percent.
Belief that hell definitely exists: Catholics 62 percent, Muslims 93 percent.
I think the last two are enough cause to fear the Filipino Muslim warrior in battle, not to mention the reputed reward of 72 virgins for good performance in a jihad.
Belief that religious miracles definitely happen: Catholics 48 percent, Muslims 60 percent.
Belief that our deceased ancestors definitely have supernatural powers: Catholics 28 percent, Muslims 43 percent.
Filipino Muslims and Catholics have understandable, and reconcilable, differences in social attitudes related to religion. Question: Do you agree/feel neutral/disagree that: “Religions are usually a barrier to equality between women and men?” Catholics net -7 (i.e., slight denial), Muslims net +16 (i.e., moderate affirmation).
“Do you personally have positive/neutral/negative feelings towards Christians?” Catholics net +91, Muslims net +24.
“Do you personally have positive/neutral/negative feelings towards Muslims?” Catholics net +10, Muslims net +97.
“Would you accept a person from a different religion or with very different religious views to marry a relative of yours?” Catholics net +49, Muslims net +53, or virtually the same strong positive.
Thankfully, the last three items all show positive feelings towards other religious communities, indicating much room for personal collaboration. Eidl Fitr Mubarak!
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