KUALA LUMPUR : During the fasting month Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki is “definitely not” going to be hosting any Ramadan buffets at a hotel.
The deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who is in charge of Islamic affairs expressed concern that the spirit of Ramadan is being distorted by putting a lot of emphasis on “food-related activity” such as the Ramadan buffets and the bazaars.
He said people were going overboard by spending extravagantly on food, buying too much, over-eating and wasting.
“Sometimes people have a misleading perspective of Ramadan as if it is a ‘Festival of Food’. It should be a ‘Festival of Ibadah’ (worship) and a test period. It is the month of rituals to enhance your spritual attachment to God and it is a platform to train your lust and desire.
“It helps make one’s personality better when people go through the whole month of Ramadan with moderation and a clear understanding of the philosophy, principles and spiritual dimension of the holy month, they would step up their good moral behaviour to other fellow human beings.
“Your stomach shouldn’t be full at night because that will make it difficult to perform all the rituals. And there are additional rituals like the terawih prayers performed only during Ramadan.” he said.
Dr Asyraf said whether or not it is the fasting month, the basic principle in Islam is not to get your stomach full.
“The Holy Prophet always kept his stomach one third empty. That’s why the philosophy behind eating in Islam is that you eat only when you are hungry and and stop before you are full.”
For him, the spirit of Ramadan is being distorted by marketing and the promotion of Ramadan buffets.
“This needs to be rectified because the culture we have at the moment leads to negative behaviour such as the wastage of food,” he said.
He feels very sad when he sees people piling up so much food on their plates during the Ramadan buffets but not being able to finish even half of it.
“It is as if we are not really concerned about our fellow brothers who are poor and needy. We have already lost our humanity and we are not performing what God prescribed upon us. We shouldn’t waste food like that. It gives a misleading image of Islam and is not what the religion taught us!
“The Quran tells us not to act in an extravagant manner. The throwing away of food and wastage is not condoned by the religion.”
Dr Asyraf advised Muslims not to waste their money on buffets. And if they do go for one, they should be modest and moderate in whatever they consume.
“Whenever you want to spend hundreds of ringgit for a Ramadan buffet , always think about the other people who are poor and in need and who would cherish RM1 of your money. That can buy something precious to them.
“This is actually how Ramadan trains you to be humane, not just to be a good Muslim that worships Allah but a good Muslim who takes care of other people and those in need,” he said.