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We take a look at Ramadan rituals and practices, and the essential principles behind them to understand them well.
Adapted from Ramadan For All Booklet published by Office of the Mufti.Download the booklet by Mufti here
For Muslims, Ramadan is a sacred month in which we are obliged to fast from dawn to dusk. We fast by abstaining from eating and drinking, and refraining from all other acts that may nullify the fast. We are also obliged to pay zakat fitrah throughout the month.
It’s easy to take these rituals and practices for granted, year after year. Perhaps, even, to some people they have become mere obligations. So as a boost to get ‘em right this year, here are the rahmah behind these rituals and practices:
Fasting gives us just a preview of the suffering of the poor and needy. It creates a sense of empathy towards the plight of the less fortunate. This encourages the hearts of those fasting to be more generous in offering assistance to the needy and towards other people.
The Prophet s.a.w. had said,
"He who provides for the breaking of fast of another person earns the same rewards as the one who was observing the fast, but without in any way diminishing the rewards of the latter."
The essence of paying zakat fitrah requires that every Muslim should share his or her staple food with others, even if one cannot afford life’s luxuries. It is this spirit of sharing and giving that underscores the intent of Ramadan.
Excessive consumption, especially if it leads to wastage, has always been very much frowned upon in the Islamic teaching. Sadly, this tends to happen frequently during the month of Ramadan because of the over-purchasing of food for breaking the fast. The essence of fasting, among others, is to awaken the realisation that one does not require a lot to ensure one’s sustenance. Gluttony and wastage of food and resources during Ramadan are hence contrary to this very intent.
Ultimately, Ramadan is a month of receiving rahmah from Allah, and in order to extend it to others, including the environment, we need to nurture it in ourselves. So in order to get these rituals and practices right, let’s be conscious of developing and invigorating our sense of rahmah while carrying them out.