MARIKINA, Philippines (AP) — Filipino Muslim Munib Dalidig, 33, is a vendor who sells DVDs from his pedicab. He’s married with three children and lives in a small house in a flood-prone area near the Islamic mosque in Tumana, in Marikina city, east of Manila. He’s among the Muslim minority in the Philippines, whose population is predominantly Roman Catholic.
Like many Muslims, Dalidig is currently observing Ramadan — a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. He answers some questions about his faith and Islam’s holiest month:
HOW IMPORTANT IS PRAYER TO YOU?
That is the order of Allah. It is our obligation. We can lose everything but not our prayers. It is the key to enter paradise.
DO YOU ALWAYS PRAY HERE?
Yes, because it is just outside my home. I use my pedicab (three-wheeled bicycle) to peddle DVDs around town. If there is no mosque nearby, then I pray where I am. I bring my prayer rug if I know that I will go to a place where mosques are not available. I rarely miss prayers since I make an effort to go home during prayer time.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT YOURSELF DURING RAMADAN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would like to refrain from being late during prayer time. I would like to stop gossip mongering about people.
DO YOU THINK YOUR NON-MUSLIM FRIENDS UNDERSTAND ISLAM AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE MUSLIM?
Yes, I explain Islam to them and many have become Muslim after I have told them about our teachings.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO YOU ABOUT BEING A MUSLIM IN THE PHILIPPINES?
It is about improving yourself. I would like to do good. Praying is the most important thing for me. How to follow the orders of Allah.
Each day this week, The Associated Press will focus on a Muslim devotee living in the minority in Asia, illustrating what the fasting month of Ramadan means to the Muslim community in that country.
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