Why are Muslims so happy in Ramadan?
If you have non-Muslim colleagues who are missing their lunch buddies this month, perhaps this will give them a better idea of what’s really going on with Muslims this Ramadan.
Your Muslim classmates and colleagues may look pale, have chapped lips and look adoringly at the clock counting down to 713pm to break their fast, but despite the hunger and thirst, they’re kind of …. peaceful. Happy even! What sorcery is this, you wonder? Here are some reasons why:
1) Rewards are multiplied.
Ramadan is like the Great Singapore Sale of worship. In other months, we are told that our good deeds are rewarded in the ratio 1:10 (yeah, Allah is pretty great) up to 1:700 but for Ramadan, a narration by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) informs us that God says “Fasting is for Me, and I reward it accordingly.” And that means infinitely (and more!) probably because one of the attributes of God is that He is the Most Generous. There is no logic or system in His Accounting WHICH IS GREAT because we are so in need of extra points.
So that’s why we’re still smiling despite looking at you and your Big Mac during lunch time. Coz we’re hopeful of the rewards of remaining patient for that few hours.
2) We see our potential.
In Ramadan, we believe Satan gets locked up. No more bothersome whispers to do evil things! Although Muslims do believe that we all have innate bad characteristics (with or without Satan) that we have to remove, it does help that we get a free pass for a month from him and focus on cleaning our hearts!
This, coupled with the fact that its the GSS of worship, is why you may notice your Muslim friends who drink, stop drinking. Those who can rival a pirate with his swearing and cursing, bite his tongue in this month. And others turn down invitations for movies, parties and other general entertainment.
It’s because we realise what we’re capable of. We spend 11 months of the year trying so hard to be better people and it’s usually a great struggle. Yet in Ramadan, things get easier and we focus more on our spirituality and realise that “hey, I can be a better person!”. And that makes us mighty pleased and hopeful.
3) Great sense of community
Living in a fast-paced city like Singapore and with an increasingly individualistic system of living, it gets difficult to feel a sense of community sometimes. Ramadan reverses that. Makciks all over insist that their children come home to break their fast together, if not everyday, at least once a week.
This sense of community is most beautifully manifested during the special night prayer that’s only done in Ramadan. It is called the Tarawih prayer (tarawih literally comes from the word rest, or refers to the period of rest in between 4 cycles of the prayer). Mosques all over Singapore which are usually only packed for Friday prayers, are generally packed every single night in Ramadan for these prayers and not just men too. Women, children and the elderly all make their way to the mosques to perform this voluntary prayer together. And it’s an amazingly happy sight.
Fasting also teaches and reminds us of those less fortunate. When we’re hungry, we are able to empathise with those who are hungry not out of choice. Since Ramadan is basically our happy hour for extra good deeds, you will see many charity initiatives in this month too. SimplyIslam’s Ramadan Charity Basket has been ongoing for 9 years now and we help to provide financial aid and also food provisions to over 200 needy families. You can click on the link above to find out more, donate and also volunteer during the drive!
4) Salvation From Hell
Do I really need to explain? Ok. So Muslims believe in a Heaven and a Hell. If your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, to Heaven you go! (With God’s Mercy of course!) If it’s the opposite, …. you know where this is going.
BUT! Ramadan is great because Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says: “Fasting serves as a shield from Hellfire.”
And in another narration, “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”
ALL his past sins guys, ALL. So of course we’re happy in this month!
5) Ramadan Food
I know I was going for the spirituality angle in this piece but I’ll be a hypocrite if I say we don’t get excited about the special Ramadan food. These are things that even the non-Muslims enjoy too I’m sure!
There’s this milky, nutty, cold and yummy drink that magically appears in Ramadan and it’s called Katira. Katira is to Singaporean Muslims what the Butterbeer is to Harry Potter. (If you don’t get that reference, seriously why have you not read Harry Potter?!)
There’s also Dendeng which is basically our awesome, halal version of your Bee Cheng Hiang’s Bakkwa. ‘Nuff said.
Then there’s the simple, understated Bubur Masjid (literally Mosque Porridge) that we actually send our kids to collect at the mosque once they’re done with school because if we go after our office hours, it might run out. Seriously, we take our Bubur Masjid very seriously. Seriously.
So now you know what’s up with your Muslim friends this month. We’ll catch up with you on Hari Raya when we’ll all celebrate over pineapple tarts and fizzy drinks! But till then, please don’t post your lunch on Instagram, thanks.
Ameera is the Editor of Muzlimbuzz.sg, a chronic reader and a news junkie.