On 23 May 2017, the Terengganu state government has ordered that food premises should cease operation during fasting hours. Ghazali Taib, the State Exco for Communication, Multimedia and Special Function said that State government has issued directive to religious department to monitor entrepreneurs at Ramadan bazaars and restaurants by allowing business owners to start operating at the premise at 2.30 pm onwards.
Sisters in Islam is in disagreement with this regulation and believe that it does not align with Islamic principles and values. We believe that religious practice should not be tangled with economic development. Observing Ramadan does not mean that we should stop our businesses and halt the economy productivity, which is part of ‘fardhu kifayah’. Ramadan should reflect harmony, tolerance and openness and do not jeopardize businesses in a multi-religious and multi-racial country like Malaysia.
Furthermore, Ramadan is a great month to spread dakwah amongst Malaysians by respecting people of other faith to continue with their daily activities, despite limitations during the Holy month. Ramadan does not only promote discipline from eating and drinking but teaches Muslims to be more empathic and compassionate towards others.
Policies and regulations should reflect those principles. Our conviction would be able to prevent us from evil deeds without new directive from the government. As stated in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 183: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ – “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous”.
Sisters in Islam feel that the Terengganu State Government should not enforce directive towards food operators and local restaurants to cease operation during Ramadan.
We would like to wish all Muslims in Malaysia with a bless Ramadan.
25 May 2017