After one month of highly disciplined fasting, fulfilling their mandatory religious obligations, about 1.8 billion Muslims of all ages throughout the world, about 24.1 per cent of the world population, celebrate the end of Ramadan.
The holiest month of the Muslim calendar, Ramadan is dedicated to prayers, Quran reading introspection, and the highly disciplined fasting during the sunlight hours. Basically, ‘SAWM’ not only refers to abstaining from food and drink, but to refrain from having pleasure, and all wrong and sinful thoughts and acts in the interest of purification.
We all live in a world that is much characterised by differences and diversity.
As we all know, there is not just one planet or one star in the entire universe. There are galaxies of all descriptions, all sorts of plants and trees, and a great profusion of animal species, and different peoples, black, brown, yellow and white, and different ethnic groups on this rather crowded planet earth.
We are always reminded of the great diversity we have in the universe and on this planet earth.
Diversity we must have. How could you have an army if all were generals? Or a library with only copies of the same book? In both situations, both the army and the library just cannot function!
Every one of us lives in a world, a world whose very structure, whose very essence, is diversity of totally incredible extent. It is a fact which is absolutely incredible, and it is impossible for us not to accept.
As a nation and as individuals we are exceedingly proud of our multi-religious society and our social harmony. These differences serve as a unifying factor rather than dividing us, as manifested in the important Muslim Hari Raya Puasa celebrants opening their beautiful homes to welcome neighbours and friends, well-wishers and strangers during their annual celebration and entertain them lavishly with traditional delicacies particularly chicken, beef and mutton “curry” and rendang, biscuits, cakes, and this generosity and unparalleled Muslim hospitality is warmly reciprocated by our other religions and belief systems.
It is our hope and prayer that our existing social harmony will continue, and all the leaders at all levels will continue to preach and practise the existing social harmony, which is unique in this rather difficult and unpredictable world.
We must all continue to unite to build a model multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country that we all can be proud of.
Selamat Hari Raya.