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Ramadhan is here

Azlan Othman

Muslims in the country began fasting for the month of Ramadhan yesterday following the sighting of the moon on Wednesday.

The blessed month of Ramadhan is a month of great blessings, forgiveness, empathy, patience and gratitude.

Muslims should fill the space and time in this month with charitable acts, and hope to carry out pious activities properly and sincerely, receive multiple rewards from Allah the Almighty.

Fasting in the month of Ramadhan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During Ramadhan, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, and traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening.

Ramadhan is also a time for community, reflection, charity and prayers with the faithful converging in large numbers at mosques, especially at night.

Ramadhan this year will certainly be more meaningful for Muslims in the country after they have been allowed to conduct congregational Sunnat Tarawikh and Sunnat Witir prayers at mosques, suraus and religious halls nationwide without physical distancing following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muslims in the evening prayer at the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadhan in Amsterdam, Netherlands. PHOTO: AFP

Such highly-recommended Sunnat Tarawikh and Sunnat Witir prayers have already started nationwide on Wednesday night along with Tedarus Al-Quran or reading Al-Quran in groups.

One should also intensify pious activities through the recitation of Al-Quran, performing I’tikaf or seclusion in the mosque, Qiyamullail or the night prayer, and reciting Zikir or remembrance of Allah the Almighty.

Ramadhan is not only brought to life by fasting and the recitation of Al-Quran, but also learning and appreciating the lessons contained in fasting to guide our everyday life, such as practising sincerity and piety, applying the values of moderation and making use of time to help each other.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a verse a day; start preparing for Ramadhan by reciting a portion of the Al-Quran every day. Ramadhan is the month in which the entire Al-Quran is revealed – bonding with the Al-Quran will create excitement.

Traditionally, Ramadhan is also a time when one will be spoilt for choice with sungkai buffets at restaurants and hotels as well as Ramadhan stalls that showcase a wide array of gastronomic delights.

But one should review one’s food intake, portion size and what choices you’re making on a daily basis as well as to take food in moderation. Start introducing healthier options – if you haven’t already – and be sure to make a habit of drinking plenty of water. Cut down on junk food and fizzy drinks and start replacing them with fruits, vegetables, lean protein and foods that release energy slowly. Bananas, oats and lentils are great options not only before Ramadhan but also during the holy month.

The month of Ramadhan is eagerly awaited by Muslims as it gives great meaning in the life journey of the faithful as the month promises big rewards for every good deed and within it lies blessings and forgiveness from Allah the Almighty.

Doors of heaven are open throughout this month and opportunities to gain rewards are widely open. This shows Allah the Almighty’s blessings and love.

Mosques, suraus and religious halls are open for Muslims either individually or in groups to glorify the holy month by engaging in various religious activities offered such as Tedarus Al-Quran.

Fasting is a shield from the torment of hellfire, a fortress that prevents Muslims from doing vile and evil things as well as refraining from acts which invalidate the fast as well as bad and useless behaviour.

Fasting refrains us from bad and sinful acts which can reduce and damage the rewards of fasting. To achieve perfection in fasting, there are manners that need to be maintained when performing it.

This includes controlling our gaze from looking at things forbidden by Syariah and things that can distract the heart from remembering Allah the Almighty.

We must also close our ears from hearing things that are prohibited and safeguard our tongues from talking about useless things and speaking prohibited words.

Muslims are also reminded to protect other parts of the body, such as hands and feet, from actions which are prohibited and not beneficial to us.

Let us make full use of this holy month as we do not know if we are able to meet the next Ramadhan.

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