It happens, right? Every year they announce the start of Ramadan on TV, every year your most energetic Muslim friends start chillaxin’ in the afternoon, every year your East Malaysian/mixed-race/Lain-Lain(TM) friends start bringing their ICs to go eat…and suddenly you realise you don’t actually know the whys, whats and hows of what happens during this important month.
But don’t worry, it’s not too late! We’re going to give you a crash course in Ramadan so you don’t have any misconceptions. Moving on…
Why do Muslims need to fast?
The act of fasting is meant to bring Muslims closer to God, and also encourage empathy for those who don’t have food to eat at other times of the year, too. The daily fast, extended terawih prayers, and a focus on charitable acts guides them to focus on good actions and thoughts…instead of that really good makan place, the gorgeous shoes in the window, that new tech doodad they really want, and so on.
On my way to…be a better person!
So, am I allowed to eat in front of them?
Signs point to yes. It doesn’t invalidate someone’s fast if someone eats in front of them, just be considerate in general.
You don’t have to feel obligated to fast right along with your Muslim friends, although it can be an interesting experience or act of solidarity. In fact, some even consider having people eat in front of them as a time to work their self-restraint and earn extra spiritual rewards. But before providing this impromptu “assistance” it’s always best to just ask the folks around you how they feel.
Why do the dates keep changing?
It’s because the Muslim calendar is based on the moon.
The 12 lunar months add up to a year that’s approximately 354 or 355 days long, compared to the Gregorian/Western calendar year of 365/366 days. So as time goes by, the dates for Ramadan and Hari Raya move around. Hands up if you remember Raya happening near/during Chinese New Year/Deepavali/Christmas!
We regret to inform you that you may be an uncle/auntie already.
What’s this about charitable acts and…taxes?
Call it charity lah, not tax.
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, and it involves paying a particular amount to distribute to less fortunate families, so they have the means to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri like everyone else. Every Muslim is required to pay their zakat al-Fitr by the end of Ramadan to help their fellow men…and also to validate their fasting period in the eyes of Allah.
Really. There’s a hadith about this.
What about duit raya?
Duit raya is generally given as a token to friends and loved ones as a gesture of goodwill and giving (so, a bit like angpao lor). You’ll also find people getting creative with the outside and the contents, as it’s a nice way to stand out.
Hands up if you got the money shirts.
Now we’re also giving your duit raya a chance to stand out – especially if you’re a new Yoodo user!
Join the Love Raya, Love Yoodo campaign by signing up for your first new SIM. We’ll also throw in our limited-edition Raya packets for you to stuff and distribute! If you’re an existing user, we’re giving you a different kind of duit raya instead. Spend RM50 on your Data/Voice/SMS and stand a chance to win RM20 as Yoodo wallet credit.
Still got questions about Ramadan? Ask your nearest Muslim friend, or let us know in the comments. A little understanding and knowledge will help us all do it better!