It is dangerous for Malaysia when we can condemn senior citizens who do not fast during Ramadan in the media.
A case in point is the 71-year old man who was caught eating in public in Kedah.
He claimed that he broke his fast at a non-halal shop because he did not have the energy to continue fasting.
The Quran tells us that we must always stand up for justice, even if it is against ourselves [4:135] because Allah orders justice, kindness and good conduct, and forbids injustice, immorality and oppression [16:90].
In Islam, it is permissible for many people not to fast.
These exceptions reflect the wisdom of Allah and the deep compassion and consideration that Islam has for the different circumstances that different people experience in this world.
A few days ago, a friend who was five months’ pregnant and working three hours away from home went to buy food at a fast food outlet, but was not allowed to eat there.
Instead, she was forced to pack her food and asked to leave the premises. Since she shared a car with colleagues, she could not eat there.
She ended up sitting on the pavement in a back alley so she could eat in peace.
I have heard so many stories of people who are dependent on medication who struggle through Ramadan.
But what does respecting Ramadan mean?
Ramadan is more than refraining from eating and drinking throughout the day.
It is about the purification of the heart and the mind, where Muslims are encouraged to be more charitable, do good deeds, say good things and think good thoughts.
It is a month where we pray more in the hopes of Allah’s mercy, forgiveness and blessings.
I know that we are nearing the end of Ramadan, but it sems religious departments are competing among themselves to see who can issue the most summonses.
Just because we don’t see people selling and eating food does not mean that we have created a pious and righteous community.
We have a choice. We can choose a hardline stance by shutting down food shops and asking people who are not fasting to hide themselves for the entire month.
Or we can celebrate Allah’s mercy in all its forms this Ramadan not only by amplifying our prayers, for forgiveness and blessings, but also by reflecting on Allah’s deep compassion for people whose lives are affected by Ramadan.
Ramadan is a chance for us to appreciate the experiences of women and how we can extend compassion towards them not only during menstruation, but during pregnancy and throughout motherhood.
Allah is not cruel. Not only has Allah disallowed oppression for themselves and among human beings, (Sahih Muslim).
Allah is kind and loves kindness in all forms (Sahih Bukhari).
This must be the basis of how we practise Islam.
Sisters in Islam, Petaling Jaya