Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fostering of religious understanding while feasting

In Malaysia, during the fasting month of Ramadhan, the evenings were filled with lots of Jamuan Buka Puasa (Open-Fast receptions). Some are organized by corporations to foster better relationships between their staff force, by families to enhance further family ties, and also by communities to foster better religious understanding between their multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious residents. One such event was organized by the PAS Segambut Division at the Surau Silatulrahim, Taman SPPK Segambut, Kuala Lumpur. Citizen Journalist, R. Vijay Kumar learned that Yang DiPertua of PAS Segambut, Saudara Anuar M. Alim and his team had also invited the DAP Member of Parliament, Saudara Lim Lip Eng and his colleagues to join in this very Malaysian-like tradition. Wanting to cover this episode, he put on his C.J.'s gears, along with his camcorder and a hungry stomach, arrived at this surau, which is a short distance from his residence. Arriving early, he was able to meet up with some of his neighbours. There was an earlier ongoing Tadarus Al Quran (reading of the Quran in turns) and Ceramah Agama (Religious Sermon). Upon the Azan (call to prayer), the jemaah Islam (Muslim congregation) broke their fast with some light food like kurma (dates), kuih (cakes) and Bubur Lambuk (special porridge served during the fasting month). The jemaah proceeded to perform their Solat Maghrib (sunset prayer). After the prayers, they invited the Member of Parliament together with his friends to join them to feast the variety of the Malaysian food. It was indeed exemplary to see both the regional PAS and DAP leadership, and their colleagues, to sit together with the people of the community, cross-legged on the mat, and helping themselves to the sumptuous food. They exchanged pleasantries while digging into the food. After the meal, the two leaders and their colleagues bid farewell, and Saudara Anuar and the jemaah continued with the Solat Isyak (evening prayer) followed by Solat Tarawih (special prayers during the fasting month of Ramadhan).
Events like this, amongst others, can play a very significant part in a multifaceted and plural society like Malaysia, where we should learn to foster religious understanding. Yes RELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDING, and not just observing religious tolerance which really means to tolerate or put up with or endure something that is irritating or unpleasant or somebody difficult. Why should you tolerate? Why not understand your fellow Malaysians and their various beliefs and customs? There is a great saying: Seek to understand rather than seek to be understood. In this pursuit, we will definitely create a harmonious society, a Malaysian Malaysia.
Video by R. Vijay Kumar, Citizen Journalist,

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