Here in Singapore, the month of Ramadhan and Syawal are probably the most recognised months in the Islamic calendar by the state. A lot of my non-Muslim friends enquire about the Islamic practices (especially terawih) and also about the sighting of the moon/how the month actually starts and ends.
There are lots of celebrations in many different ways throughout Ramadhan (and Syawal) – the most common being more sales, because Malays (the majority of Muslims’ ethnicity in Singapore) like to spend money especially on getting new furniture, clothes and food.
Bazaars that lasts a month-ish also exist in different cardinal areas of Singapore – Jurong (west, where I live), Tampines (East), Woodlands (North), Geylang & Eunos (Central-East). The biggest one is the Geylang and Eunos. This year, they are selling more modern foods like churros, Thai iced milk tea, Overdose and more – but I prefer the traditional foods like ayam percik, nasi ambeng, air katira and the likes. I usually go to the West one of course, because it’s just two blocks away from my house – a less-than-five-minute walk to Block 422 along Jurong West Avenue 1.
Ramadhan is a month filled with trial and tribulations because it essentially tests your values as a human and a Muslim. As the devils (shaytan) are locked up, all one’s acts are based on his own impulses and not by the influences of the devil. This month has been a month filled with patience for me personally, and perhaps a test of strength as I had to go to the hospital due to a three-week long illness, making me unable to fast for five days due to being put under medication.
The thought of paying back those days makes me angry and upset, but then again, it is those challenges that make me realise how fragile I am as a human being and how I must accept these things as fate. (And know that better things are out there on top of the surpassable challenges set by Him).
There were many more challenges and failures I have faced throughout Ramadhan, and only He knows the full extent of my pains, happiness and goals. I cannot sum them up in this post, but for you out there who may not be a Muslim, this is what I’d like to share about how Ramadhan is to me.
Insya’Allah, may He bless us with strength to overcome all the challenges in our lives.
Till next time.