An easy guide of dos and don’ts that you can practise on these two special occasionsPublished on 5 April 2022
The smell of ayam percik, murtabak and satay waft through Ramadan bazaars, while retail areas are decked out in festive decorations, and the familiar sounds of Sudirman, P Ramlee and Saloma filter through speakers. It is indeed that time of the year! Muslims around the world, including Malaysia, spend a month fasting before celebrating Eid or Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Now that the country is in transition to the endemic phase, some of us might need a refresher on how to act during the holy month of Ramadan. Let us share some simple tips on how you can be respectful of your Muslim friends, colleagues, and neighbours as the festive season approaches.
Is it okay to eat in front of fasting Muslims?
Is it okay to eat and drink in front of fasting friends and colleagues? That is an age-old question often asked by non-Muslims. While it might seem like a noble act to move to another location away from your colleagues, it really is okay to eat and drink in front of fasting Muslims. Out of politeness, you could ask if it was okay for you to eat in front of them if the situation absolutely calls for it or you just head to the office pantry without causing a fuss.
Be mindful of iftar (breaking fast)
Not only are Muslims waking up early to prepare sahur meals before the fasting period, but they also have a designated time after a long days’ worth of activities to break their fast during iftar, which commences after sunset. As friends or colleagues, you can plan dinner activities in areas where there will be a surau so they can easily conduct their evening prayers. As employers, you can take note of this specific timing and let Muslim employees end their working day earlier or excuse them during that time so that they are able to break their fast.
Dress modestly when visiting
After a whole month of fasting comes the period of celebration, Eid. When the invites for open houses and gatherings come pouring in, we can play our part by ensuring our attire matches the occasion. Muslims dress modestly so you should try to do the same when you go visiting. The concept of dressing is simply a matter of what is appropriate and adequate at the given physical and social setting.
Continue to observe SOPs
Lest we forget, although we have entered the endemic phase, the COVID-19 virus still exists. It is still advisable to abide by SOPs as there will be a lot of travelling and gatherings taking place during the festive season. For the sake of those around us and ourselves, we must play a part to keep each other safe and healthy.
Continue to conduct self-testing with rapid test kits (RTK) before you attend a gathering. If you are feeling unwell, stay home and rest. Moreover, if you are not comfortable in a social setting that has large groups of people, do not hesitate to politely decline. There is no reason you cannot celebrate in smaller groups of people.
Be kind and considerate
Our fellow Malaysians are looking forward to balik kampung after two years of lockdown during the festive period. There are some who have not seen their family in a long while too. Roads will be packed with more cars and malls will be filled with more people. Instead of grumbling or complaining about the situation, let’s be reminded that the festive season is for everyone.
As Malaysians, we celebrate different cultures and races, so instead of making it about your own comfort and convenience, be understanding and patient. Changing your perspective and simply being positive will make for a greater Raya experience for everyone.