Orphan Fatima “Baptized” in Zamboanga City’s Mauludin Nabi Celebration

THE special-event celebration by Zamboanga City’s Muslim religious and community leaders of Mauludin Nabi (birth of Prophet Mohammad, SAW) February 2 was made more poignant and meaningful by the “baptism” of an orphaned one-month old girl during the occasion. She was fittingly named Fatima Zahra Mohammad. Fatima is the name of one of the Prophet’s daughters.

According to Jabu-Jabu (The Calling) civil society group president Jaafar Kimpa, the grandfather brought Fatima to the event for an unscheduled baptism rite to avail of Jabu-Jabu’s Katarangan sin Paggunting (Certification of Baptism) community service. Started in 2007 by Kimpa, the certification is issued to Muslim children when they undergo the ceremony officiated by an imam accredited by the Jabu-Jabu. (Muslims believe their children are naturally-born a Muslim and need not be baptized into the Islamic faith; the “paggunting” is mere civil formality.)

The day-long anniversary celebration event was held at the Grand Astoria Hotel and was sponsored by the Golden Crescent Consortium of Peace Builders and Affiliates (GCCPBA), Inter-religious Solidarity for Peace (ISP), Zamboanga Amores Interfaith Association and Department of Interior and Local Government city office. Cooperating organizations included the Philippine Council for Sama and Badjao, Liga ng mga Barangay, Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, Philippine National Police, Task Force Zamboanga, Mindanao Balik Islam Association, and Youth Solidarity for Peace.

The key talks were given by Ustadz Abdulhamid Jameri (Historical Events Preceding up to the Birth of Holy Prophet); Ustadz Hajaraji Tapsi (Historical Events: Holy Prophet Early Childhood and His Marriage Life); Sheikh Denil Anawari (Prophethood and Leadership of the Holy Prophet); Prof. Eddie Ladja (Islam in the Philippines); Atty. Nasser Apion (Contemporary Islam); and Darul Ifta Grand Mufti Ustadz Abdulbaki Abubakar (Unity and Solidarity for Peace).

Ustadz Jamal Mohammad chanted the opening Qur’an reading, GCCPBA president Prof. Ai Yacub gave the welcome message, Dr. Salihmatal Lagbas introduced the participants, and Br. Salman Galang underscored the rationale. Kimpa delivered the closing remarks followed by the Dua’a by Sayyed Nurhassan Bahjin. Aldrin B. Abdurahim was master of ceremony.

Over 300 religious and civil leaders from Zamboanga and Basilan attended the major religious event.

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