More festive Hari Raya this year, thanks to discipline over past 2 years: Masagos

Visitors at the Ramadan bazaar in Geylang Serai on May 2, 2022. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Muslims in Singapore can celebrate a more festive Hari Raya this year, thanks to the community's discipline, resilience, and sacrifices that have helped to protect the lives of many Singapore residents, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.

In his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message on Monday (May 2) to the local Muslim community, he said this year's Ramadan is special with the easing of Covid-19 measures.

Mosques were able to accommodate more congregants for Friday and tarawih prayers, and the community could participate in religious activities such as Quran recitation, qiyamullail prayers and religious lectures.

Tarawih prayers are held every night at mosques during Ramadan, while qiyamullail prayers are held during the last 10 days of the holy month.

He said: "I was also heartened to hear of extended families breaking fast together at home and strengthen relationships."

Many cheered for the return of Ramadan bazaars, which have always been a nostalgic and joyful feature for the community, he added.

This year's celebrations will be the first time the community can have bigger celebrations in two years since the pandemic hit.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2020 came in the midst of an extended circuit breaker - with traditional recitation of prayers, or takbir, confined to homes as mosques were closed.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore also said at the time that there should be no Hari Raya visits or gatherings, encouraging the community to turn to technology for opportunities to celebrate safely.

Last year, too, Muslims celebrated Hari Raya amid tightened measures. Social gatherings were capped at five people in a group, and households could receive only up to five distinct visitors per day.

The Ministry of Health also advised people to keep to a maximum of two social gatherings daily.

Mr Masagos said he hopes the community can draw important lessons from this Covid-19 experience to emerge stronger at the end of the pandemic.

He said: "Let us continue the best practices such as taking care of our health based on accurate information like isolating ourselves at home if we are having a fever or flu, just as how we have been disciplined in taking our ablution at home before going to the mosque and perform our prayers in an orderly manner.

"This is how we can continue to reinvigorate salam, and radiate blessings to all. May this be a more cheerful, festive and safer Raya, and may it be a special one that we will always remember."

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