SINGAPORE - Muslims in Singapore begin fasting on Sunday (April 3) and the holy month of Ramadan is expected to be livelier and more joyous this year, said President Halimah Yacob.
In a Facebook post on Saturday evening, Madam Halimah said: "As the situation has improved, we can now pray more freely at mosques and can look forward to breaking fast with more members of our family."
She also urged Muslims to pray and do good deeds during the fasting month.
"Ramadan is also the time for us to strengthen our ties with family and friends. It is a month of peace and reflections," she said.
Madam Halimah noted that due to tighter Covid-19 measures over the past two years, Muslims were restricted in the public practice of their faith, including having to perform Friday prayers only in small groups.
"But we took them in our stride and I commend our Muslim community for their patience in abiding by these safe management measures.
"Thank you for keeping all Singaporeans safe and preventing the transmission of the Covid-19 virus," she added.
She urged Muslims in Singapore to remember the plight of Muslims who are living in conflict zones in other parts of the world and suffering from hardship and starvation.
They may find Ramadan a difficult month to observe, she said.
"We pray that they will be granted ease to fast and observe their faith. We also pray for peace on this earth and for the end of all aggressions causing untold suffering to innocent people," she added.
Madam Halimah also urged everyone to continue to do their part to protect others from Covid-19 despite the easing of safe management measures.
Also on Saturday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Facebook said the Muslim community in Singapore has had to adapt to Covid-19 restrictions, from the closure of mosques to the restricted number of congregants in mosques, for two years.
"With the recent easing of measures, this year's Ramadan is expected to be more lively," he said.
PM Lee noted that Muslims here can take part in tarawih, or evening prayers, and many can enjoy popular bazaars and the Hari Raya lighting in Geylang Serai and Kampong Glam after two years without these activities.
He also thanked Muslim community leaders, asatizah, or religious teachers, and mosques for adhering to Covid-19 measures, adding: "I am grateful for the community's cooperation and forbearance. All your hard work and sacrifices have paid off.
"We are not yet at the finish line, though we are getting closer. Let us stay united. Together, we will overcome Covid-19 and rise stronger. I wish you a blessed and fulfilling Ramadan."