Political distancing this Ramadan benefits Muslims

Ramadan is here – when Muslims fast for a month from dawn to dusk to fulfill one of the pillars of Islam. I believe it is spiritually uplifting for each with their own experience.

There are also many “non-spiritual” benefits such as discipline, dieting and self-awareness.

The Ramadan experience this year, however, will be dramatically different due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There will be no Ramadan buffets in hotels, which together with others in the food and beverage sector, will be badly hit.

The positive side in this whole episode is the reduced politicising of the religion which has unfortunately become accepted behaviour in Malaysia.

It is an open secret, in the capital city at least, that politicians often use the fasting month to further their political presence by organising “iftar“. Hopefully, in the absence of such politically motivated sessions, our attention can return to the actual spirit of Ramadan.

Furthermore, most of those invited to such Ramadan buffets can afford their own food. Maybe this time around, the money saved can be used to feed the poor and needy.

Also, since much time will be saved from not socialising or networking, hopefully there will more thinking and introspection by our leaders on how to improve the collective happiness in the country.

I often wonder if politicians have the time to think, reflect and read since they are often busy attending programmes.

Social distancing also rules out terawih prayers in mosques. It was reported that Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had decreed that all mosque activities in the state be suspended until May 31.

His Majesty’s secretary had also announced that the ruler will not be participating in any breaking fasts programmes. This is a responsible decision by the ruler.

My concern is whether our political leaders will make the right decision or popular decision in religious matters. This is another reason why I hold that the control of religion must be out of the hands of politicians.

Ramadan is a month for Muslims to revisit the meanings and teachings contained in the Quran. This is necessary so that Muslims will be able to ascertain and validate for themselves whether what they are told in the name of Islam are actually the true teachings of Allah.
I wish Muslims a blessed Ramadan and for every non-Muslim to have a taste of that blessing from their Muslim brothers and sisters.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.