SHAFAQNA -Â Muslims in Singapore are marking the start of Ramadan, kicking off a month of fasting during daylight hours, and prayers for fellow believers around the world.
More than 5,000 worshippers visited theÂ Al-Islah mosque on Wednesday night (Jun 17), the first in Punggol New Town. That was 1,000 more than its capacity.Â They were there to perform the â€œterawih” – prayers on the eve of Ramadan conducted nightly throughout the fasting month.
On Thursday, mosques around Singapore started distributing “bubur” or porridge, as part of the Ramadan tradition. Some cooked the porridge with the help of volunteers.
Said Mohd Amin Mohd Ismail, vice chairman of the Tentera Diraja Mosque Committee: “We’re going to do the cooking in our premises in order to maintain the spirit of togetherness, and what the Malays say ‘semangat perkampungan’ (kampong spirit), and together with the families and all that.”
Others engaged caterers to lighten the load.Â “It will help us to ease our manpower as well as to ensure the cleanliness, and promptness and efficiency in how we can run and give all our congregants the necessary “bubur”, or porridge, for them to break fast,” said executive chairman of theÂ Â Darul Makmur Mosque Khalid Shukur Bakri.
Mosques Channel NewsAsia contacted say they will be giving out the porridge after the daily afternoon prayers.
The US Embassy also held an iftar, or break fast reception for diplomats and local Muslim leaders.Â In the month of Ramadan, particularly in Singapore, it’s not just a religious occasion. It’s also something deeply embedded in our culture, for us to share food not only among friends, but also with neighbours,” said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Masagos Zulkifli.
“And if you were to observe what happens in the heartlands, you don’t really have to cook for the whole month, just have to cook a little bit and just pass around, and everybody gets a bit of everybody’s iftar, and enjoy different cuisines everyday.”
Supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice is also marking the fasting month by having 20 of its stores give out free dates and drinks to Muslim customers from Thursday till Jul 16.Â This will be done half an hour before, and after, customers break fast.