WE write this as scholars of Islam, family physicians, pharmacists, medical doctors and public health specialists. The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting Malaysia medically as well as in emotional, psychological and spiritual ways.
The holy months of Ramadan and Syawal will soon be upon us. As a nation, Malaysia must soon make very difficult choices. Should we hold Ramadan bazaars, terawih prayers or balik kampung? Can we follow our religious, community or family traditions?
All of us play multiple roles at the same time: we are Muslims or adherents of other religions; we are health professionals on the frontlines; and we are fellow Malaysians. We want the best health for you and your families, in physical, emotional, spiritual and religious terms.
With the movement control order (MCO) extended to April 28 for public health reasons, we believe that the spirit of Ramadan can co-exist with the extended MCO in several ways.
One, Ramadan is a beautiful spiritual experience of reflection, sacrifice and community. Ramadan binds families and the ummah together and binds us with Allah SWT. During this ongoing pandemic, Ramadan is even more special because it reminds us of our duty to our fellow human beings.
This is an opportunity to live the spirit of Ramadan by giving to those who are less fortunate and facing especially difficult circumstances during the MCO period.
Two, during this year’s Ramadan and Syawal, we will have to celebrate differently from previous years. It will be difficult for many of our families and friends. That is why we should celebrate the spirit of Ramadan by helping as many as we can, by protecting them and reducing our physical contact with them, especially the elderly.
We may not need bazaars, group prayers or balik kampung to celebrate Ramadan and Syawal this year. Terawih and Maghrib prayers can be at home. We can still celebrate the spirit of Islam, only in different ways. This will be our sacrifice this Ramadan.
Three, Islam and all religions want their adherents to be healthy and to consider the community’s interest. Ramadan and the MCO can co-exist. We can fulfil our niat (purpose) and the spirit of Ramadan, only in different, equally beautiful, ways.
We wish Malaysia a beautiful and deeply spiritual Ramadan.
Dr ABDUL HALIM SHIBGHATULLAH, Dr AHMAD FAIDHI MOHD ZAINI, AMRAHI BUANG, Dr JEFFREY ABU HASSAN, Dr KHOR SWEE KHENG, Prof Datuk Dr LOKMAN HAKIM, Assoc Prof Dr MOHAMMAD HUSNI JAMAL, Dr MUJAHID BAKAR, Datuk Dr ZAINAL ARIFFIN OMAR, Prof Dr ZALEHA ABDULLAH MAHDY and Dr ZARIHAH ZAIN