Muslims around the globe will be welcoming Syawal in challenging and unique circumstances. Just as we have all ushered the month of Ramadan, with the closure of mosques, we will meet Syawal in a period where the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.
Muslims in Singapore have been praying and breaking fast at home throughout this Ramadan. As we are still in the circuit breaker period, the first of Syawal will be observed differently from our previous Day 1 of Aidilfitri.
For the first time, there will be no congregational Solat Hari Raya Aidilfitri in mosques and open fields. There will be no raya visiting at least for the first two weekends of Syawal this year. This is going to be a little more challenging for many of us.
However, we should still enliven the festivity of Aidilfitri. After all, the Aidilfitri is the Day of Victory for Muslims. After a month of fasting, we commemorate this day by expressing our gratitude to Allah s.w.t. and celebrate our success with our loved ones.
Here are five things we can still do to continue spreading the joy of Syawal:
Invoking the name of Allah s.w.t. is part of welcoming and celebrating Aidilfitri. It is in our religious tradition for us to start our takbir raya from the Maghrib prayer on the eve of 1st Syawal.
Allah s.w.t. mentioned in the Quran,
وَلِتُكْمِلُواْ الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ اللّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“....to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you, and perhaps you will be grateful.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:185)
In previous years, some of us took the opportunity to do this at the mosque, or gather at our elder’s home to recite the takbir together. This year, we can still recite the takbir together, even when we are not able to gather physically. Here is a guide on how to do takbir raya aidilfitri.
The Mufti of Singapore will be joined by our local Ustaz and Ustazah in reciting the takbir raya live on the night of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. You can join them by tuning in to SalamSg TV YouTube channel or Muslim.SG Facebook at 7.45 pm.
Pergas will also be broadcasting the recorded takbir on their Facebook page after Maghrib.
We understand that not everyone has access to social media, such as Facebook and YouTube. We can help our elders who do not have social media access to recite the takbir by listening to Warna 94.2 FM after the azan maghrib.
We may also choose to conduct our own virtual takbir with our friends and loved ones. We can arrange for a mass takbir session via Zoom, Google Meet, Skype or various other conferencing platforms.
For those without access to these, you may also perform the takbir together through video call, or simply through voice call. It is also possible to perform the takbir on your own.
In the morning of Hari Raya, you may also join takbir conducted by various local mosques. You may visit the Facebook page of your chosen mosque. Find out more here.
We can celebrate this day by putting on our festive raya clothes. It is not necessary that we need a new set of baju raya. We can wear our best raya outfit to mark this special occasion. Also, it is recommended to take a bath before we perform our Solat Raya and have a light meal.
This is the year where many of us will get the golden opportunity to be the Imam or pray with our loved one as the imam for Solat Sunnah Aidilfitri. Usually, many of us will pray at mosques or open fields for Raya prayer. However, this year, we are given this unique opportunity to pray in our homes. While we may still prefer to perform together as a community, let's take this unprecedented opportunity to establish the Solat Raya at our own homes.
For those of us who live with our other family members at home, we can perform it together. For those who may not have anyone at home to join you for Solat Raya, you may also perform it alone.
You may also watch the following tutorial video on how to perform Solat Raya.
You may then choose to listen to the Khutbah Raya. The Malay khutbah will be delivered live by Mufti, Dr Nazirudin Nasir on SalamSG TV YouTube and Warna 94.2 FM at 9 am. The English khutbah will be available on Salam SG TV's YouTube at 9.30 am.
It is part of our tradition here that we visit our parents and/or close relatives on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. We meet to further strengthen our ties of kinship. We also seek forgiveness with one another. In understanding the real meaning of forgiveness, our Mufti, Dr Nazirudin Nasir, shared that forgiveness is not just about the word that we utter. He mentioned that “we must say what we mean and mean what we say”. You can listen to our Mufti on the topic of forgiveness here:
While we are not able to visit anyone this year, even our parents’ if we are not staying together, the spirit of togetherness can still be celebrated. We can continue our tradition of seeking forgiveness from one another through virtual means, as long as we are sincere in seeking forgiveness. We can organise a virtual visit and check-in with our loved ones. Through Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and other applications, we can try our best to continue celebrating raya together.
We also acknowledge that not everybody has access to these features. The least we can do to stay connected is through phone calls. A call is the least we can do to cheer them up and show we are there for them. This is definitely not the ideal way of celebrating Raya, but we can strive to make the best that we can. We understand that this is necessary to ensure the safety of our loved one as we do not want to expose them to unnecessary risk. We pray that we will be able to do proper raya visiting especially to our immediate family soon when it is safer to do so.
We can also ensure that we continue to enjoy our Raya feast this Syawal. Even without being together, we can try to cook our family's recipes. We can also opt to exchange food through contactless delivery services.
While the above are ways on how we can maximise our Raya celebrating in this circuit breaker period, not everybody will be able to do this. We may all be in the same storm but we are clearly in different boats as we face this COVID-19 pandemic.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w reminded us that,
لا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ
"None of you will have faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
Therefore, as Muslims, we should also think of the plight of others who may not be experiencing life the way we are blessed with. Some people will be celebrating Raya without festive food to eat. There are those who are staying alone without anyone to look out for them. Some are currently being isolated due to COVID-19 infection. Some may be celebrating Raya for the first time in Singapore without their family here, such as our fellow Malaysian workers. Also, our migrant workers will be celebrating Raya in very challenging circumstances. Let’s find a way on how we can help them and share the joy of Syawal with them.
While this Aidilfitri will definitely be a very unique one, it is still going to be a Day of Victory that we should celebrate and commemorate. May Allah s.w.t grant the world a victory against the coronavirus pandemic and heal those who are infected with this virus. We may be far in distance, but we will always be close at heart.