Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Ramadan Trails at Sultan Mosque 2013

The Ramadan Trails organised by Sultan Mosque is one of the most meaningful tours I have been on in Singapore that enhanced my appreciation of the significance of Ramadan. When I learnt that the Sultan Mosque will be organising the Ramadan Trails this year, I gathered a few friends who were interested to sign up for the trail.

I attended one of Ramadan Trails 2013 on 2 August. The members of the mosque welcomed the guests with their hospitality and cheerful smiles. When the tour started officially at 6 p.m., I noticed that the guests who were attending the tour came from diverse backgrounds. A number of us were local Singapore citizens, others were Residents in Singapore, and there were also a number of tourists from other countries.

At the registration booth.

The tour began with a guided tour about the mosque's compounds. We were introduced to some of the architectural features of the mosque. The tour guide also shared with us insights related to some of the religious practices of the Muslims. I have gained a deeper appreciation and understanding of the Islamic faith thanks to the tour.

Also included in the Ramadan Trails was a presentation on what Ramadan was about. To the Muslims, Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Qur'an was revealed by Angel Gabriel. In the month of Ramadan, it is believed that every good action is spiritually multiplied.

During the month of Ramadan, all Muslims (except children, the medically unfit, those travelling long distances, women who are menstruating, in post-childbirth care, pregnant or breast-feeding) will refrain from food, drink and intimacy during fasting hours. Fasting begins at the break of dawn and ends at sunset. In addition, Muslims are to refrain from blameworthy thoughts and acts. The primary objective of fasting is to attain "God consciousness" and self-discipline.

The presentation on Ramadan reminded me that a lot of self-discipline and faith would be required to set oneself with the right intentions and frame of mind to fast. I left the presentation with deeper respect for the Muslims.

During the presentation, my memory was refreshed that in the month of Ramadan, we could greet our Muslim colleagues by saying "Ramadan Mubarak" which means "blessed Ramadan".

The Ramadan Trails concluded with an experiential and memorable Buka Puasa in which the tour participants could experience the breaking of the fast with the Muslims. I felt that there was an atmosphere of gratitude and humility when it was time to break the fast. As the participants shared food and break fast with the Muslims, I felt reminded of our shared humanity. The month of Ramadan possibly also fosters a spirit of empathy and shared humanity.

My heartfelt appreciation to the Sultan Mosque and the guides for the Ramadan Trails for the memorable and enriching experience at the Ramadan Trails. It was my third year attend the Ramadan Trail and I felt there was a lot that I have learnt nevertheless.

Ramadan Mubarak to our Muslim friends.

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