(22) Practical Islam: Iftar at Siglap CC: Promoting multi-racial interaction and harmony

Iftar at Siglap CC:  Promoting multi-racial interaction and harmony

Seven people from other faiths attended an iftar (breaking of Ramadan fast) gathering at the Siglap Community Centre on Saturday, 4 July (2015).

The occasion was organised by the Malay Activity Executive Committee (MAEC) of Siglap Community Centre (Siglap CC) and the Siglap Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC).

The occasion was attended by some 105 people, most of whom were members of the brisk-walking group from the Siglap CC’s MAEC.

Among the non-Muslim guests were Dr Daniel Tan, Chairman of Siglap IRCC, Mr Tan Hang Kian, Chairman of Siglap Citizens’ Consultative Committee, and Mr Jason Tan, Chairman of Siglap Community Centre Management Committee.

Traditionally breaking of the Ramadan fast is a community event as in a mosque where people come together to strengthen rapport and closeness. “Likewise is the objective of organising the iftar at the Siglap CC – to promote togetherness and friendship,” explained Mr Yacob Hussain, Chairman of Siglap MAEC.

He added, “We want to foster good bonding and interaction among the MAEC families with the brisk-walkers and their families as well as the other residents of Siglap. During the occasion, we shall share the knowledge and spirit of Ramadan with our guests.”

The Siglap MAEC has been active in Ramadan.  “In the last two years we gave bubur or porridge every Saturday afternoon for Muslims to break their fast.  This year instead of porridge we gave other foodstuff like curry-puffs and nasi briyani. This activity, funded by Muslims, is also meant to bond the residents of the Siglap constituency,” said Mr Yacob.

Recital of Quranic verses

The iftar gathering event at the Siglap CC began at 6 pm with the recital of Quranic verses that dealt with fasting in Ramadan by two young boys, Mr Yacob’s own son, Muhammad Yasir Yuuta, and his friend, Muhammad Harris Bin Abdul Malek. While Yasir read the three verses from the Qur’an, his partner, Harris, translated the Quranic Arabic text into English.

Briefly, the three verses read by the boys, Verses 183-185 of Chapter 2 of the Qur’an, carry the following messages:

  • Ramadhan is the month in which was revealed the Qur’an as a guide to mankind, and judgment (between right and wrong),
  • Fasting is prescribed to you so that that you may learn self-restraint (against anything undesirable or evil),
  • If you are ill, or on a journey, you need not fast but you have to make up by fasting the number of days you missed after Ramadan,
  • For those who cannot fast because of prolonged weakness or illness, they should feed someone who is poor,
  • It is commendable to feed the poor or needy people (as it is a charity),
  • You should fast the whole of Ramadhan, glorify Allah for having guided you, and be grateful (for anything you already have), and
  • (In fasting and charity), Allah desires ease for you; not hardship. (Qur’an, 2: 183-185)

After the reading of the Quran, a video show on Ramadan across the world from China to USA was shown. The show also included a video on British Prime Minister David Cameron sending his Ramadan best wishes to Muslims in Britain and around the world. (The full transcript of the video message is reproduced from the website GOV.UK at the end of this article.)

For the iftar event at the Siglap CC, three people did voluntary fasting.  They were Mr Ngiam Bo Han, Mr K Tanapalan and Ms C Yogeswari, who fasted for one to three days.

After the video show, Mr Ngiam, who fasted for three days, related his fasting experiences.  He said, “On all the three days, I felt giddy, but with determination I carried on fasting. Now I appreciate the Muslims for being able to fast the whole month of Ramadan without eating or drinking even a drop of water.”

The occasion also provided the opportunity for Muslims to know about other religions.

Mr Yacob explained, “When held community centres, it is an objective of IRCCs to include short talks on the different faiths practised in Singapore.  This is meant to deepen inter-racial and inter-religious rapport and understanding within each community.”

For this year, Reverend Song from the Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church, was invited to talk about Christianity.

Muslims find that Christianity has much similarity with Islam as Jesus Christ was sent just before Prophet Muhammad. Indeed the concept of Islam is that all the numerous prophets (124,000 of them) sent to all parts of the world, right from the first prophet, Prophet Adam, to the last but one prophet, Prophet Jesus, taught the essence of Islam.  Hence, similarities exist in all religions, such as prayer and fasting (which have been reinforced in form and frequency in Islam as a completed religion).  Also, moral commandments like “Do not steal”, “Do not commit murder”, “Love your parents” and “Be good to your neighbours” are taught in all religions with Islam putting more emphasis in them, like “If any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole mankind; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole mankind. (Qur’an, 5:32) 

Blessings of Ramadan

Another speaker, Ustaz Ma’az Sallim, Executive Imam of Al-Taqwa Mosque, talked about the importance and blessings of Ramadan, emphasising that Ramadan is a month when sins can be forgiven by seeking Allah’s forgiveness through repentance, devotion to Allah and following His Guidance.

The azan (prayer call) for the magrib prayer at around 7:16 pm announced the time for breaking fast, and everyone drank mineral water and ate the dates, fruits and snacks that were served. The Muslims then adjourned to an adjacent hall for the maghrib prayers (the after-dusk prayer which is the fourth of the five prayers of the day).

After the maghrib prayer which was led by Ustaz Ma’az Sallim, the Muslims returned to join their non-Muslim friends to enjoy a meal of the delicious nasi ambeng.

The last item of the iftar gathering ended after the Muslims performed a special long prayer in Ramadan nights called terawih. This was performed after the isyak prayer (the last and fifth prayer of the day) which started at 8:30 pm.

Two teenagers, brothers Erwin Shah Effandy, a Sec 5 student from Madrasah Irshad Zuhri Al- Islamiah, and Erwan Shah Effandy, a Sec 3 student from Madrasah Al-Arabiah Al-Islamiah, took turns to lead the isyak and the terawih prayers.

Throughout the event, everybody, non-Muslims guests as well as the Muslim residents of the Siglap constituency, sat on the covered floor as in the mosques and during Muslim prayers.  However, chairs are offered for those with knee ailments.

“This was the first iftar gathering organised by the Siglap MAEC brisk-walking group,” said Mr Yacob. “It was a success. There was much interaction and fostering of friendship. We shall definitely hold such iftar sessions annually, and even invite more friends from the other faiths to join us.”

As Hari Raya is just a week away, we wish Selamat Eidul Fitri or Eid Mubarak (a salutation for having completed the Ramadan fast) in advance to all Muslims in Singapore and around the world.

By Shaik Kadir

9 July 2015


Photos of the iftar gathering event                               at Siglap Community Centre on 4 July 2015

Pix 1 & 2 (A)  Quran reading

Pix 3 & 4 (B) Ladies listening


Pix 5 & 6 (C) - video & Mr Ngiam

Pix 7 & 8 (D) - Reverend Song

Pix 9 & 10 (E) - pantry & doa

Pix 11& 12 (F) - main meal

Pix 13 & 14 (G) - group photos

Pix 15(H) - PM


Full transcript of Ramadan best wishes to Muslims in Britain and around the world by British Prime Minister, David Cameron on 17 June 2015

 I’d like to send my very best wishes to everyone observing the holy month of Ramadan.

It’s a hugely important time as Muslims in Britain and across the world mark the foundation of their faith.

And as friends and families come together in contemplation and in fasting, we are reminded of those Muslim values – those British values – of community, family and charity.

You can see them in centuries past, when Muslim soldiers served bravely alongside their comrades, from the trenches of the First World War, to the skies of the Second World War.

And you can see them today with British Muslims giving more to charity than any other faith group in Britain, fulfilling their sacred duty of Zakat by making a real difference to lives blighted by conflict and disaster, and with British Muslims at the top of every field – from our biggest businesses, to our precious health service to our Houses of Parliament, and yes – to the Cabinet I lead.

I’ve talked a lot about one nation – about Britain being a country where everyone can get on – whatever their background and wherever they’re from. British Muslims embody that spirit.

They prove that this can be a country where success is determined not by your colour, community or creed, but a place where you can go as far as your talents will take you.

So as families, friends and communities come together at Iftar each evening, I hope all of them, and everyone else across Britain, will reflect on the universal values that Ramadan represents – and the contribution that British Muslims make to our country.

Ramadan Mubarak to you all.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ramadan-2015-david-camerons-message )














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1 Response to (22) Practical Islam: Iftar at Siglap CC: Promoting multi-racial interaction and harmony

  1. Pingback: Qur’an Hour:  Let’s read Al-Quran together this Sunday, 5 – 6 pm | Read & Reap

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