It has been a festive, cheerful and joyful occasion for all Muslims all over the world. We are celebrating Hari Raya Idul-Fitri to mark the end of the fasting month. Welcoming the month of Syawal and at the same time sad to say goodbye to the month of Ramadhan, the holiest month.
For the sake of my non-Muslim readers, let me shed some light on Ramadhan and Hari Raya Idul-Fitri. For more festivities that are celebrated by the Malay-Muslim community in Singapore please read my page, Malay Festivals.
Ramadhan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. It is mainly a time of discipline and self-control. Muslims undergo a fast during daylight hours in this holy month abstaining from food, drink and any sexual activity.
The preoccupation to satisfy physical needs or fulfilling your desires are suppressed to encourage spiritual reflection. This is the month where you set aside for worship, sadaqah or contribute to charity, perform as many good deeds as possible, repent, seek forgiveness and recite the Quran as much as possible, these are also strongly encouraged for other months.
The purpose of fast is to experience and remember the less fortunate, learning to be thankful of what you have and appreciate with what God has blessed you. Fasting in the month of Ramadhan is obligatory although there are exceptions for the sick, elderly, expecting or menstruating women and travelers.
The daily fast starts at daybreak and ends at sunset. Before we start our fast, we have our pre-dawn meal, sahur and we break our fast, iftar, at sunset. After we break our fast, we will proceed with a special night prayer, tarawih. Normally we congregate in mosques or designated prayer places like a mulit-purpose hall to perform this prayer. During the holy month, Muslims strive to worship as much as possible.
The end of Ramadhan is decided upon the local sighting of the new moon in each country. Thus this may result a different Ramadhan date, however, usually the difference is only by a day. Why the moon? Because Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the months begin when a first crescent of a new moon is sighted. For more information on the Islamic Calendar.
Once the new moon is sighted, our Singapore Mufti, an authorized and appointed Islamic scholar, will then announce publicly via radio and TV broadcast informing Muslims in Singapore the end of Ramadhan and the arrival of Syawal.
Hope my short explanation on Hari Raya Idul-Fitri and Ramadhan helps you better understand the Malay-Muslim community in Singapore or majority of Muslims in South East Asia a little better.
Sorry that I did not include any recipes in this post but I have cooked a lot these few days being a host for more than 15 guests at time for three straight days. The recipes are coming right up after this post as I am blogpost-starved (is there such a word?) the last couple of days.
Stay healthy and have a great week ahead. If you like what I have written, kindly Like, Pinterest or Share this post with your friends. Thanks in advance and Selamat Idul-Fitri to all Muslims!