It is the time again for our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters to come together as we observe the month of Ramadhan. In other words, fasting from food, water and all unwanted bad deeds. It is a time for us to live our life with empathy and reflections on how we should improve from there on. The unique thing about living in Singapore is the multi-racial community which allow us to accept one another as we seek understanding to achieve a harmonious and peaceful relationship within the communities.
Most of us would have grown up grasping the practices that a Muslim goes through on a daily basis during the fasting month but there are some who are still curious yet, they may not have the right source of information. So here is a typical run-through of what to do/say or Not to do if you have close Malay friends as colleagues or friends.
1- We cannot drink water or coffee or juice or tea or consume anything between sunrise and sunset…do not bother offering or asking us if we would like to join you for coffee or tea.
2- Do not ask us if it is hard or be amazed at how “tough” we are, since we have been trained since young. (In fact without water for a couple of hours would NOT kill us, as a matter of fact Singaporeans are lucky as our day light hours are short as compared to Nordic places where they fast between 18-21 hours daily)
3- During our lunch break, all we want is to rest/nap, please try not to disturb the moment. If you are not bringing me my bed, please just go and have your meal.
4- Do not ask if we would lose weight during the fasting period. It is not about that.
5- While we are being conscious of our well-being and thoughts, we would appreciate if you would just not ask persistently if anything is wrong. Sometimes, it takes a lot for us to be mindful of our words, heart and thoughts. Silence and quiet thoughts do really mean we are pondering foreal!
6- Consideration goes a long way, if you are hungry and would like to have a meal. We appreciate the thought but we hope you could understand by not asking us if we are hungry as well.
7- We are still fit and able to play sports or work, but it boils down to personal tenacity and patience while we are fasting. If the person is doing manual labour (be it at work or school), it is their personal responsibility to ensure that they do not cross their own limit, do not daunt or make fun of them. Fasting is never meant to be a torture for anyone.
8- Having a gathering is always good but during this month which is precious to Muslims, we would have to complete our prayers daily in the evening. This prayers would be applicable only during the fasting month, thus it is good that you offer your understanding if your malay friends are not able to hangout with you during this period.
If you are a non-muslim, have you ever attempted fasting before? Did you ever join your muslim friend to fast for a day to experience it yourself, do let me know!
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