‘Be considerate of Muslims during Ramadan,’ asks Imam


06-July-2013

Imam IbrahimBut for many Muslims during the fasting month of Ramadan, this can amount to something akin to psychological torture, as Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk each day.

Exerting too much physical energy or spending too much time in the sun may result in dehydration, anaemia and weakness. Fasting believers are also unable to take medication without breaking their fast, which means that should the fasting person become too ill to fast, it must be made up, a day for a day, after Ramadan is over.

It is for this reason that the Imam of the Al-Nahayan mosque in Victoria, Ibrahim Lebon, has made an appeal to all employers and educators to spare a thought for Muslims in their care who are fasting so they may conserve their energy and observe their religious beliefs.

The month of Ramadan begins at the sighting of the new moon, which is widely expected to be on July 9. The festival that celebrates the end of the fast, Eid ul-Fitr, is expected to be celebrated around August 7.

Imam Ibrahim says the Holy Qur’an contains a commandment to all healthy Muslims to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from sunrise until sunset every day during the period of Ramadan so that they can obtain righteousness. Fasting is obligatory on all Muslims from the age of puberty onwards.

“But fasting is not just about doing these things alone. When a person is fasting, their entire body should be in worship,” he said. “That is why our Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) said ‘Whoever does not leave bad speaking and bad words and bad actions in this month, Allah has no desire for his fasting’.”

“Fasting is more than not eating and not drinking. They should give charity to poor people, help the family and help the community. When someone is fasting he discovers how it feels to be hungry and what it feels like to be poor, because this is the condition of a fasting person,” the Imam said.

“It’s a sacrifice to refrain from eating and drinking all day, and this makes you very God-conscious to know that you are carrying out an order given directly from your Creator and that afterwards God will reward you for this.”

Imam Ibrahim explained that in countries where Muslims were a minority it was necessary to educate the public about the issue of fasting to increase understanding among non-Muslims.
“There are many kind and understanding non-Muslim employers who do reduce the workloads of Muslim employees during the month of Ramadan, especially for people who work in the sun or in very physically demanding jobs.

“I would like to make an appeal to all employers during the month of Ramadan to have mercy on those who are fasting and recognise the suffering they are going through in an effort to be close to God,” added Imam Ibrahim.

The Muslim cleric, who studied in the holy city of Medina, Saudi Arabia, also urged government schools to demonstrate understanding and make adequate provisions for children who are fasting.
“The basis of democracy is that the rights of religion must be respected. As one of the major religions of the world, governments all around the world try to give Muslim schoolchildren the right to practise their religion.”

The Imam said that in order to protect their health, children should not be exerted to strenuous physical exercise if they are fasting and recommended that all schoolchildren should be educated about different religions to raise awareness of the religious practices of others.
“It is our duty as Muslims for us to be able to make people understand what Islam is all about, including our practices and culture so that we can all respect one another.”

Hajira Amla

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