Ustaz Faritz is a Public Relations Officer at the Health Office of the UAE Embassy. After spending 12 years of his education at Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah, he furthered his studies at Al-Azhar University and was conferred the B.A. of Islamic Jurisprudence. Ustaz Faritz is a member of Asatizah Youth Network (AYN).
Trained in social sciences and Islamic thought, Ustaz Ridhwan spent 13 years of education in local madrasahs, before pursuing his Political Science degree at the National University of Singapore. He then furthers his postgraduate studies on Islamic Political Thought at the International Islamic University Malaysia. Ustaz Ridhwan is a member of Asatizah Youth Network (AYN).
Ramadan has been a splendid month, celebrated by many of us by increasing our spiritualities and strengthening ties with family, friends and the community-at-large. We have welcomed this Month of Mercy (Rahmah) by extending mercy to others. The blessed month of Ramadan has taught us that indeed we can be a better version of ourselves if we seek to improve and reach out for the best.
Naturally, we are sad when we bid farewell to the month of Ramadan. We will miss the spiritual experience that we have gained throughout Ramadan. We always pray that may Allah s.w.t. grant us with many more opportunities to meet with more Ramadan to come, Insya’Allah.
However, let us not be despair as the end of Ramadan is not the end of God’s mercy on His servants. After all, there is a popular quote on Ramadan which reminded us, “Do not be a servant of Ramadan, be a servant of Allah s.w.t”. Indeed, the mercy we have been blessed within the month of Ramadan will continue in the month of Hari Raya and beyond if we constantly seek for it from The Most Merciful.
As we celebrate the joyous Eid or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, let us ensure that we do not turn this festive occasion into a nightmare for others. The inculcation of mercy and goodness in the month of Ramadan should continue in the month of Syawal and beyond.
Here are some of the ways for us to extend mercy and avoid turning our Hari Raya into a nightmare for everyone:
1. Be Mindful of Others
Every time Hari Raya, there will be some people who will be dreading to go visiting due to the prospect of having to face some unwanted questions and expressions – that may be offensive to them.
Here is a list of questions/expressions that some people have mentioned they wish to avoid from being asked during the Raya visiting:
We need to pay special attention to what we say to others. We need to be sensitive to other people and refrain from uttering things that may be offensive to others, especially towards our loved ones and guests who come to our place for Raya. It is part of showing Rahmah – to be sensitive to others. Rasulullah s.a.w reminded us to,
“..Speak a good word or remain silent”.
Therefore, let us ensure we avoid asking sensitive questions and instead pray for the best everyone.
Beyond these, we should also be considerate to the host that we are visiting. Do not make noise in one’s house, only speak to each other, or busy with our gadgets. Instead, we should try to strike a conversation with the host and show appreciation to him/her for hosting us. Come at the right time, and do not stay too late unless the host is fine with it. Let us avoid tarnishing the Hari Raya spirit by actions that may lead to hatred and enmity among us. Instead, let us use this opportunity to strengthen our bonds and spread goodness to everyone.
2. Celebrate Hari Raya with Love and Respect
Hari Raya is an opportune moment for us to renew our ties of kinships with family members and bonds of humanity with everyone.
Our Malay culture and tradition encourages us to visit our family members, relatives, and friends. We meet to find out more about each other and cherish our ties with one another. We also seek forgiveness from one another and make attempts to heal any old wounds that we may have. This is an exemplary practice that we should continue to practice and uphold with sincerity. Let us ensure that when we say ‘Maaf Zahir Batin’, it is not mainly just our verbal expressions, but a conviction in our hearts that we are indeed asking for forgiveness from others, and also for us to forgive others.
We must also be conscious to respect everyone and do not tarnish the sanctity of Hari Raya by saying things that may offend others, or do any act that may hurt our loved ones. The Prophet reminded that,
“Those who are one of us, those who do not have mercy on young children, nor respect the elderly."
Therefore, everyone, the young must respect the elders and given them due attention, while the older ones must show love towards the young and do not hurt their feelings.
3. Internalise The Meaning of Rahmah in Our Lives
Every day, we invoke the name of God, Bismillahirahmannirrahim. We call upon our Lord, Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Gracious. The Lord that we submit to is the God of Mercy.
Therefore, as servants of Allah s.w.t., we should always be conscious that we should always show mercy to others and spread love and peace, and not hate and destructions. Today, we have witnessed that some Muslims committed acts of violence and aggression in the name of Allah. Worst, they even proclaimed the name of Allah, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, before they committed atrocities against humanity. Had they internalized the essence and meaning of Rahmah in the name of Allah, they would not be blinded by hatred and succumbed to violence and terrorism. They would instead dedicate their life mission to spread goodness to others and promote love and harmony in society.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said:
“Be merciful to those on earth, so the One above the heavens will be merciful to you.”
In another hadith, the Prophet s.a.w. said,
“He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy.”
Hence, beyond this month of Ramadan, we can continue to spread goodness and mercy in celebrating Hari Raya. We should avoid wastage as we feast in and be eco-conscious as we serve others. It only needs a small commitment to care for the environment. It is a good practice to use biodegradable tableware as well as recycle our drinking bottles. Let us play our part to safeguard our planet from climate crisis. These are among the acts of mercy that we should be conscious of as Allah mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah:
“Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.”
May Allah s.w.t. continue to shower us with His mercy and we may we be a community that spread mercy and kindness to all. Wishing you the best of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and may we celebrate Hari Raya with love and happiness. Amin.