Welcoming the month of blessings, rewards

Azlan Othman

The holy month of Ramadhan is here again. It is the glorious month, the month of grace, the month of forgiveness and the month awaited by all Muslims in the whole world. In this month, fasting is compulsory to all Muslims.

Unlike last year when Ramadhan was at the height of COVID-19 where Muslims across the nation were adapting to new changes in observing the holy month and changed their Ramadhan routines, Muslims in the country celebrate Ramadhan even though today, the whole world is still struggling with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, to protect the country, we should comply with the standard operating procedure (SOP).

During Ramadhan, Muslims are urged to deepen their relationship with Allah the Almighty through fasting and prayers.

Muslims are also required to prepare spiritually through enhancing acts of worship such as prayers, reading Al-Quran, Zikir (remembering of Allah the Almighty), I’tikaf (period of staying in a mosque), and Qiyamullail (nightly vigil).

Every Muslim who has reached the age of puberty (mukallaf) and does not fast due to certain reason such as illness, women experiencing menses, post-natal flow (nifas), pregnant, deliberately break the fast without a valid reason and is a traveller (musafir), are obliged to make up for the missed day of the fast after Ramadhan.

Those who are not able to make up for the missed fasts due to illness with no hope of recovery are not required to make up for the fasts they missed. They must pay fidyah for the days they had missed. fidyah is a payment for missed fast in Ramadhan for some reasons or delay repaying their fast from the previous Ramadhan until the next Ramadhan.

One should also see Ramadhan as the opportunity to become motivated for major changes – progress, the purification of the heart and soul, and also to do good works and refrain from all wrongdoing.

As a month full of blessings and rewards, Ramadhan is the best time for self-reflection and the betterment of our own selves. It is fortunate for those who make the most of this opportunity and avail themselves of this holy month.

Ramadhan is also a month of mutual harmony, during which family members get together to break the fast and perform prayers including the nightly mass Sunnat Tarawikh and Sunnat Witir prayers or to take the last meal or sahur, before sunrise.

Parents must set a good example to the children by guiding and advising them based on Islamic teachings, to strengthen faith this month.

It is also during this holy month that Muslims are obliged to pay the obligatory tithe namely Zakat Fitrah and Zakat Harta (property tithe). In addition, Muslims are also encouraged to increase their acts of worship during the last 10 days of Ramadhan, in anticipation of a significant night known as Lailatul Qadar, a night better than a 1,000 months.

No one knows when Lailatul Qadar occurs, as it is a mystery known only to Allah the Almighty. The mystery contains a hidden wisdom in encouraging the Ummah to strive earnestly in heightening their acts of worship, during the holy month of Ramadhan, instead of focussing solely on certain nights.

To reap the rewards of Lailatul Qadar, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recommended seeking for it on odd-numbered dates in the last 10 nights in Ramadhan.

Meanwhile, brisk business awaits retailers, and tailors amid the upcoming Syawal celebration. Tailors are already burning midnight oil and work extra hours as Muslims have begun to send their Hari Raya attires and apparels to welcome the once-a-year festivity.

Bakers are expected to have brisk business prelude to the festive Hari Raya with bookings for various assorted kueh, cookies and cakes.

But one should not spend excessively in the prelude to Hari Raya or in preparing for sungkai meal or breaking of fast, as it is against the teachings of Islam which calls on the Ummah to spend moderately and avoid wastage.