Time is really flying - before I realise it the end of the year will be here again and it will be 2014. As for Ramadan, it is almost over. As with other Ramadan days, we are busy preparing for the end of the day. the Iftar or breaking of fast. Here in Malaysia, as I think it is for the rest of the Muslim community in the world, Iftar plays an important part of the fasting. Most Muslim families eat together for this the most important meal of the day. Sometimes we invite under privileged children from the orphanage nearby to join us in this meal. Ramadan means so many things to so many people but mainly it is a gift from Allah to us, who in his mercy gives us this month to do good and to perform all the prayers that are both obligatory and non obligatory. Every good deed performed in this month gets double or triple the reward which is why many Muslims who can afford it try to do all kinds of charitable acts. Of course it goes without saying that these charitable acts should be carried out throughout the year, not just during Ramadan. However, if done during this month the reward is greater.
In Malaysia however, a lot of Muslims get rather carried away by the fasting itself. Every evening people throng the Ramadan bazaars to buy food for Iftar. Here you can see all kinds of foods - from traditional delicacies to western dishes and it is hard not to be tempted to buy them. Often we end up buying too much and the food is either thrown away or we engorge ourselves in order to finish it. Which just goes to show that many people still have not got the principle of Ramadan itself correct.
|Some of the selection seen at the Ramadan bazaar|
|A kebab seller|
Ramadan does not only mean physical fasting or abstaining from eating and drinking. It means abstaining or keeping oneself away from all kinds of temptations - those of the eyes, of the soul and of the mind. One has to fast physically, emotionally and mentally so to say. Which means refraining from doing harm to others - animals included, from thinking bad thoughts and from feeling anger, hatred, lust and other sins of the soul. Whether a lot of Muslims actually carry out this is a different matter. Just look at the clashes and violence in Egypt, Syria and Tunisia, just to mention a few countries. And the saddest part is that the violence increases during Ramadan.