Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Solidarity and peace to you all on the occasion of Eid’l Fitr!
The Philippines officially celebrates Eid’l Fitr, the Muslim post-Ramadan celebration, on this day of my writing this piece. Solidarity to all Muslims of the Philippines and the world!
We have about 7 Millions of Muslims in the Philippines, a fact that qualifies this country to be represented in international bodies for Muslims such as the OIC. Just being considered an observer in such bodies already brings forth glad tidings of peace and cooperation for the country.
For the record, Islam was instrumental in creating centralized forms of governance (principalities, sultanates) in the country. Likewise did it contribute to revolutionizing agriculture from simple commodity production to intensive plantation system.
I need not belabor the point that Islam also brought interest-free banking to the country. I could only do guess work on the earlier forms of Islamic finance around the 14th and 15th centuries, but what I can infer facilely is that Islam introduced the concept and practice of finance as early as that period in antiquity.
Let me also cite that Islam was instrumental in the take-off of systems of rational casuistry for thought-systems of antiquity, notably those affecting devotional practice (religion), governance, family and kinship. Rational codifications were seeded with the ideas of Aristotle and Greco-Roman philosophers, moving on through Avicenna and Avineroes of Cordoba-Cadiz fame, and it is gladdening to note that Islam brought such casuistry to the Philippines way ahead of Western powers’ commission of the same.
Among other things, there are Arabic numerals, geometry, algebra, civil works, and architecture that Islam likewise brought to the Philippines. The Western cultures borrowed extensively from Muslim Arabs those same sciences & arts cited, which they then brought to the Philippines to expand on what the Muslim principalities & sultanates have already begun much earlier.
On the historical-archeological facets of life, Muslims (notably the nobilities) have accumulated a huge amount of relics that are awaiting the scholars who would tap the same for deeper studies of Philippine history, culture, economy, governance, and institutions during past epochs. The Philippine state should prepare enabling measures that will protect the Muslim nobles (their lives are at risk from marauding criminals) who are the repositories of high culture, and help preserve the relics cited.
Thus, so much reason abounds that justifies the Philippines’ celebration of Eid’l Fitr. Never mind if the country is predominantly Christian. Islam and Arab culture contributed immensely to political, economic, and cultural development of the country, even as the country had evolved into a multi-cultural, global nation as a whole, and so the country should recognize such contributions by co-celebrating the Eid’l Fitr with the rest of the world.
Praise be the Almighty Allah for the enormous blessings poured unto this beloved country over its so many centuries of existence!
Love and Peace!
[Philippines, 09 September 2010]
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