Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why Muslim Fasting and celebrate Aidulfitri????

Assalamualaikum wbth...

Insyaallah satu perkongsian dialog dan sesi soal jawab dengan Brother Shah Kirit... Semoga mendapat manfaat.

Bro. Shah Kirit b. Kakulal Govindji

  • Memeluk Islam pada tahun 1996

  • Terlibat secara intensif di dalam program “International Da’wah Training Programe” di IRF Mumbai, India yang dikelolakan oleh presiden Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), Dr. Zakir Naik.

  • Terlibat secara langsung dalam menganjurkan kelas perbandingan agama untuk pelajar universiti dan orang awam di IIS

  • Penceramah jemputan Jabatan Agama Islam, Kerajaan dan Swasta, Universiti dan gereja

  • Pegawai dakwah, IIS

  • Pengarah Saba Islamic Media K. Baru.

Q : What is fasting in Islam and can you share with us your experience and perspective on fasting during the auspicious month of Ramadhan and on Aidulfitri celebration in Malaysia.

Bro Shah Kirit : Fasting is a practice observed across many religion, albeit with various degree of variation to the practice in Islam. I too had observed fasting in accordance to my previous religion since my younger days. Of course, then I was not required to abstain from food and water altogether. As a matter of fact, I became a Muslim in the month of Ramadhan. I began fasting immediately, doing the best that i could for the remaining days of Ramadhan. It took me a few years to 'perfect' may fasting and be able to fast completely in Ramadhan.

Observing fast during the subsequent years has greatly enriched my understanding and appreciation of its significance. Just as important, I have also learn to differenciate between religious requirements and cultural practices amongst the Muslim in Malaysia, which is some cases are not quite the same things.

During ramadhan, Muslims are required to abstain from eating,drinking and sexual relations with their spouses from sunrise to sunset. I used to marvel at how Muslims could survive the month of Ramadhan. To many people, missing breakfast or lunch, or both would be unbearable enough. The idea of not drinking the whole day, not even a drop of water, would sound suicidal. Well, astonishing as it was to me, I soon found out that with sincere intention and unflinching resolve to fast - in obedience to and for the sake of Allah, fasting in the month of Ramadhan turned out to be effortless and in fact ' pleasurable'.

It is interesting to note that some of the main activities prohibited in Ramadhan, like eating and drinking, are lawful during other times. Since even these normally legitimate actions are forbidden during the day in Ramadhan, immoral and harmful deeds are naturally and automatically prohibited altogether and at all times. Consequently, the month of Ramadhan has always been an effective training ground for one to keep away from vices and/or bad habits. One good example that actually occurs very frequently would be the case of chain smokers able to drop the habit significantly and in many cases, permanently, as a result of having to completely keep away from cigarettes during the daytime in Ramadhan.

In general, Muslim in the month of Ramadhan are calmer, more patient and more able to control their temper. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has taught us : " Fasting is a shield. So, the person observing fasting should avoid immoral acts and should not behave foolishly and impudently; and if someone wishes to fight with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ' I am fasting' " ( Sahih Bukhari 3:31:118 ).

Throughout the month of Ramadhan, there are plenty of opportunities to increase or enhance our worship of the one true God. Every single responsibility ( religious in nature or otherwise ) carried out for sake of Allah is rewarded in abundance. We start our day with sahur ( very early breakfast) together as a family and then performing the subh ( dawn ) prayer. Everyone - male or female, rich or poor - will abstain from food and drink during the day. The family would normally break the fast together in the mosque, which has the effect of fostering closer ties. Performing the obligatory Maghrib and Isya' prayers, and a little later the optional Tarawih prayer in congregation, further strengthen the feeling of brotherhood in Islam.

Beside spiritual benefits, fasting the whole month of Ramadhan offers other benefits as well. As there is less intake of food, by right, one's spending during the period should, by right, reduce significantly. One should avoid wastage and overspending in Ramadhan and spend only according to one's needs. One should not overeat during the breaking of fast, but rather keep the amount of food intake similar to a normal dinner.

The health benefits of fasting in Ramadhan are obvious and real. For a whole month, the body gets a refreshing rest from having to digest and process food continuously throughout the year. This helps to detoxify the body. Contrary to what some people would imagine, far from being physically weakened, one would actually find oneself rejuvenated and strengthened. The analogy is that of a car which requires regular scheduled servicing after continuous usage.

After one month of raining in Ramadhan towards achieving purity and wholesomeness , Muslim celebrate Aidulfitri, which is Arabic for ' the Festival of Breaking Fast' or ' Celebrating the return to state of Fitrah ( Nature ) '. The idea is to stay away from corrupt influences and practices,and strive to approach the state of purity comparable to that of a new-born baby. Prophet Muhammad said : " Every child is born in the state of fitrah.... " ( Hadis Bukhari 2:23:441 ) . Thus, for a Muslim, the end of the blessed month of Ramadhan should be the beginning of our creation, as khalifah ( vicegerent ) on earth, doing good and worshiping Allah alone.

Although religiously speaking , 'Aidulfitri is celebration for only one day, it is traditionally common that the spirit of celebration goes on for the whole month of Syawal, the following lunar month. Opportunity is taken to visit relatives and friends, in the spirit of renewal of relationships. This is important, especially in this age of materialism and the ' rat race', where very little time is spent on human needs and in caring for each other. It is common to find that for many people in Malaysia, Aidulfitri is the only time of the year when the whole family gets together. There is also the beautiful Malaysian tradition of seeking forgiveness of one another during the celebration. As an antidote to numerous intra and inter- culture issues within the country, the beautiful spirit of Aidulfitri should be maintained throughout the year. Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir Batin . ^_^

Copied from book " Ask Brother Shah" , Saba Islamic Media.

Wallahu'alam. Wassalam.

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