By APIPA P. BAGUMBARAN
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA) — Muslims in the Lanao province marked a more joyous Eid’l Fitr on Monday, May 2, as they were allowed to perform the Eid congregation prayer at the iconic Grand Mosque inside the city’s most affected area (MAA).
After enduring almost five years of not being able to celebrate Eid at the Grand Mosque, Maranaos filled the 9,484-square meter Islamic Center regarded as the biggest place of Islamic worship in the country.
This was the first time that an Eid prayer was held in the mosque since the siege in 2017.
Tarhata Mala, who is a resident of the city, expressed her delightfulness for setting foot in the Grand Mosque as it has been a long time since she last prayed in it. She said they were sad about the closed mosque during the past Eid’l Fitr celebrations but with the Monday’s Eid, she was overjoyed for seeing her fellow Muslims praying along with her inside the iconic mosque.
A resident Brgy. Raya Saduc, Soraya Marandacan, also shared her gladness for having the chance to pray in the Grand Mosque once again which she truly missed.
“Alhamdullilah, nakabalik kami dito sa ground zero. Nakakatuwa at nakakamiss. Pumunta kami dito sa Grand Mosque kasi matagal na kami hindi nakapagsimba sa ground zero. Nakakatuwa kasi maraming tao,” she said.
[Praise be to Allah, we are back here at ground zero. It’s so joyful and we missed this. We went here to the Grand Mosque because we haven’t prayed at ground zero for a long time. We are very happy because a lot of people are here.]
Sittienor Saligidan Qabli, who came from the municipality of Saguiaran, also conveyed her happiness for having been able to pray at the Grand Mosque during the celebration of Eid’l Fitr.
She said they have gone through a lot in the previous years and they were not allowed to visit the mosque but now they were able to have their congregation prayer inside it.
Qabli said she was also excited to visit the Grand Mosque and see its better look. “Gumanda na siya. Nakita ko na naiba na [It’s beautiful. I saw that it is different now],” she added.
Like most of the buildings within the MAA, the battle-scarred Grand Mosque was one of the Islamic places of worship repaired by the government through the Task Force Bangon Marawi. Its restoration was completed in October 2021 and was later on turned over to its designated administrators but the holding of regular prayers was not allowed due to the ongoing construction works with the MAA which could pose danger to worshippers.
With the first Eid prayer held at the Grand Mosque after the siege, the city’s displaced residents expressed renewed hope that they could soon return home in MAA and attend a regular prayer at the city’s Islamic Center. (APB/PIA Lanao del Sur)