TUESDAY 7 JUNE 2016
SINGAPORE — Muslims around the world marked the start of Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month, on Monday (June 6).
Some have already begun the period of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting, while others will begin fasting on Tuesday, because of time differences over how the new moon is spotted, which is when countries declare the start of Ramadan.
(SK’s article in TODAY, 7 June 2016)
Spreading the Ramadan spirit in Singapore
Ramadan is here again, a month when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and strive to observe other Islamic acts of righteousness, such as improving oneself through restraint, endurance and charity, as well as undertaking the challenges of human endeavour.
Muslim Singaporeans value peace as advocated by Islam. This augurs well for Singapore’s way of keeping the values of tolerance and integration among its multiracial, multi-religious residents. Living harmoniously with people of other faiths is an important Islamic value.
Righteousness in Islam includes the pursuit of education. As Muslims go through formal education and ad hoc forums/courses, social exposure and travelling, they understand Islam better — that keeping pure in thought and action, and living usefully with all people, irrespective of race or religion, are Islamic instructions.
In the past decade, certain positive developments in the Muslim-Singaporean community have made them a people who:
- Relate better to integration with all Singaporeans, while retaining one’s faith and culture. This can be discerned, for instance, at Muslim weddings where non-Muslim colleagues and friends grace the occasion with their attendance;
- Understand the importance of taking part in educational and national engagements together with people of other races and faiths, in such themes as building family bonds, good parenting and other social and health-related themes;
- Work closely with all in national and international initiatives for the common concern and benefit to Singapore and the world, such as environmental and security issues;
- Join hands with non-Muslims in matters relating to the unity of Singaporeans and humanity to enhance cooperation and fraternity;
- Are aware that aggression and fanaticism are un-Islamic. For instance, those who engage in terrorism, causing the killing of innocent people — whether Muslim or non-Muslim — do so against Islam’s teachings.
Muslim groups also work with government agencies in combating extremist ideologies, influences and terrorist threats in several ways. Muslims have been playing a wholesome role in interfaith efforts and showing other Singaporeans that nothing in Islam supports aggression and terrorism.
Mosques and Muslim organisations enhance the spirit of Ramadan by inviting non-Muslim friends and neighbours for iftar (breaking fast) on their premises.
There have been occasions in the past few years when non-Muslims were invited for iftar with their Muslim hosts at the block or community halls. This is a commendable effort.
With such a religious outlook and enthusiasm, Muslim Singaporeans, in the spirit of Ramadan, strive to not only become good humans, but also spread goodwill to all Singaporeans in facing the challenges of Singapore’s survival as a peaceful, harmonious society.
Shaik Kadir is the author of several books, including “Inside Islam — 101 Questions & Answers”, “Islam Explained” and “Allah — Understanding God in Islam”.
( The article appears on Today Online: http://www.todayonline.com/voices/spreading-ramadan-spirit-spore )