This is the holy month of Ramadan- the holy Islamic month, when Muslims around the world commemorate the auspicious time when Qu’ran, their holy text had been revealed to prophet Muhammad. In fact, it becomes rather interesting for everyone to witnesses the religious devotion and fervour, which Muslims residing in different countries showcase while adhering to their customs and traditions. The intensity of their devotion is admirable indeed, followed by festivities and gaiety, which mark the end of the fasting month.
Now, taking Kuala Lumpur into consideration, the holy month of Ramadan is observed and celebrated in somewhat different hue as compared to its counterparts in the Middle East. While some countries follow the Hijri calendar to start their fasting for a month, people in Malaysia follow a unique system altogether. For the, rukyah, which means sighting of the new moon marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. The second sighting of the moon, however, marks the end of the fasting month. This is when people celebrate Eid, popularly known as Hari Raya in Kuala Lumpur.
Everyone knows that one of the most popular practices among the people during Ramadan is fasting. Deemed as one of the five pillars of Islam, the practice of fasting has wider dimensions than what we eschew under conventional terms. People tend to keep away from food and water after completing their morning ablutions, and consuming their pre-fasting meals, also known as sahur during the wee hours. After the sunrise, people resume their routine work, but they need to do so by fasting for the next 12 hours. Besides, people abstain from alcohol and smoking as a part of this ritual. Also, they cannot indulge in the use of abusive language against anyone, or backstab a person notwithstanding compellence of the worst kind.
As a matter of fact, fasting is believed to inhibit all forms of obnoxious thoughts, and while people engage themselves in work throughout the day. In this process, they learn to bond together, and foster the spirit of brotherhood. Fasting tends to salvage all kinds of ill-feelings, and in turn, fosters generosity, forgiveness and love among the people.
Berbuka, or the custom of breaking the fast is observed during sunsets. This is the time when people savour some real lavish spreads of food, fruit juices and so on. Also known as iftar, these are the special evenings when people invite their friends and relatives to partake sumptuous meals. The local media of Kuala Lumpur publishes the sahur and iftar timings on regular basis, so that people could plan their early morning and evening meals in advance. Most of the eateries remain open till the late hours at night, though the restaurants operated by Muslims open for a short period of time before the sunrise. Hence, there is no need for you to worry, in case you are not fasting due to certain reason. There are options for you in galore.
Besides, it is not mandatory for everyone to fast, Children, old people, physically sick and mentally disabled people are exempted from the ritual of fasting. Also, pregnant and menstruating women need not abstain from eating. This is also applicable for women who are at the postnatal stage, or are breastfeeding.
The month of Ramadan is also special due to the prayers known as solat tarawih, which people offer at the nearby mosques in the evenings. While people observe fasting, and offer prayers by prostrating, they are also expected to follow decent dress codes. Women should cover themselves fully, and hence, most of them wear sarongs during this time as a mark of respect for the holy month of Ramadan. It is mandatory for them to dress appropriately, since wearing revealing clothes at this time is punishable by law. In fact, the women are encouraged to wear long-sleeved dresses, and hence, spaghetti tops and shorts are discouraged. Even the visitors need to observe a decent dress code during this holy month, since most of the locals fast, and offer prayers at the mosques.
Now, if you are on a visit to Kuala Lumpur during this holy month, then make it a point to visit the famed Ramadan Bazar, which offers an assortment of temptations. The mouthwatering cheesy meat pancakes, noodles, roti jala, halal mojitos, caramel coated pisang goreng, roti John, lambuk and ayan percik are ubiquitous to name just a few among the plethora of delicacies served here.