Eid'l Adha

On Eid’l Adha, Filipino Muslims remember Gaza

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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On Eid’l Adha, Filipino Muslims remember Gaza

A FIRST. Ishmael Bahjin and Hannah Paiso-Bahjin, who got married in October 2023, explain the unique way they are marking Eid'l Adha in 2024.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

‘The cow that we have donated for this Eid will go to Palestine,’ says Hannah Paiso-Bahjin, a newlywed Muslim

MANILA, Philippines – This year’s Eid’l Adha was memorable for Ishmael Bahjin, 37, and Hannah Paiso-Bahjin, 36, not only because it was their first as a married couple.

For their tradition of slaughtering an animal every Eid’l Adha, the Bahjin couple joined the rest of their family in donating a cow worth around $1,000 (P58,700) to suffering families in Gaza.

“The cow that we have donated for this Eid will go to Palestine. It will be given to those families who are starving right now,” Hannah told Rappler. “That is how we help, that even if we are here in the Philippines, our charities are being extended there.”

On Eid’l Adha, Muslims commemorate the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim (or Abraham for Jews and Christians) to sacrifice his son Ismail in obedience to God. 

Eid'l Adha Philippines
REVERENCE. Filipino Muslims observe Eid’l Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice at the University of the Philippines Bahay ng Alumni in Quezon City, June 16, 2024. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

The Philippines observed Eid’l Adha as a regular holiday on Monday, June 17, even as Muslims began their celebrations on Sunday, June 16. Nearly 7 million Filipinos, or 6.4% of the population, practice Islam in this predominantly Catholic country.

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For the Bahjin couple, donating a cow to Palestine was the best way to mark Eid’l Adha as theirs is the union of a “peacekeeper” and a “peacemaker.” Hannah, a captain, serves under the Armed Forces of the Philippines while Ishmael, a lawyer, works for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity.

On Eid’l Adha, Filipino Muslims remember Gaza

Ishmael echoed the sermon of Julkipli Wadi, dean of the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Islamic Studies, who led the morning prayer for Eid’l Adha on Sunday at the UP Bahay ng Alumni in Quezon City. 

It was Wadi who presided over their wedding in October 2023.

In the same month that the Bahjins got married, Hamas fighters attacked Israel, prompting Israeli retaliation that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians since then. The attacks by Israel have also destroyed much of Gaza, while the death toll among Israelis and foreigners in Israeli communities stands at around 1,200.

Quoting Wadi, Ishmael said one of the best ways to help Muslims in Palestine is “to keep on holding to the ropes of our religion, to keep on performing our religious duties, because Palestine has no strong ally now.” 

After all, Ishmael continued, “We do not know the plan of Allah. We do not know His grand plan. But we know that He has a plan.”

Eid'l Adha Philippines
SERMON. Julkipli Wadi, dean of the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines, leads the morning prayers along with around 2,000 Filipino Muslims, for the celebration of Eid’l Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice at the UP Bahay ng Alumni, June 16, 2024. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

In an interview with Rappler, Wadi – who led around 2,000 Muslims in marking Eid’l Adha at the Bahay ng Alumni on Sunday – urged Muslims to pray for Palestinians and perform fasting to help their cause.

“Because in one way or the other, the Palestinians are actually descendants of the Prophet Ibrahim, of Moses, of Jesus. They are the descendants of prophets. So our hearts are with them at a time when no one is standing for their cause,” Wadi said. “We empathize with them.”

Wadi hailed the “supreme sacrifice” of Palestinians in Gaza. 

On Eid’l Adha, Filipino Muslims remember Gaza

“By oppressing Palestinians, we are degrading humanity. And it’s very quite unfortunate that no one is standing in the cause of Palestinians. No countries are capable of stopping the genocide,” the Islamic scholar explained. 

“We call our Muslim brothers and sisters and other peace-loving people, people around the world, to brace elbows and do whatever they can to help the Palestinians. Because they are victims of oppression. They are victims of genocide,” he said. – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.