Maldives fasting as month of Ramadan begins

The Maldives has entered its second day of fasting after the holy month of Ramadan began yesterday.

The Islamic Ministry of the Maldives declared that yesterday was the first day of Ramadan and that people should begin fasting, abstaining from eating and drinking between dawn to sundown. Muslims who are ill or travelling are permitted to delay their fast.

Ramadan marks month in which the Quran was revealed to mankind, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

The rituals of month – such as fasting and sexual abstinence – are intended remind those who follow Islam of their duty as a Muslim, by keeping them away from worldly temptations to tame the mind and instill determination.

“Ramadan is an occasion to renew family ties and brotherly relations among Muslims,’’ said President Mohamed Nasheed, requesting that disputes and disagreements people be left behind as people work for the benefit of the country.

The daytime pace of life in Male’ has already slowed, with the capital’s usually vibrant cafe culture shifting to the evening, after sunset. Government offices close at 1:30pm during Ramadan, rather than 4:00pm, and the streets are noticeably quieter.

Interestingly, the popularity (and price) of watermelon surges during Ramadan in the Maldives, with the fruit valued as a ‘break fast’ specialty because of its high water content and easily-absorbed sugars.

The Islamic Ministry will meanwhile hold religious sermons every day after Asr prayer. Special functions will be held on every Friday and Monday evening, when religious scholars will preach on different topics. The Islamic Ministry has said those present will be able to querying the scholars who attend.

State Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed explained that in all Islamic countries it is also prohibited for non-muslims to eat or drink anything on the streets during Ramadan.

”Non-Muslims should respect the month of Ramadan, and our beliefs and culture,” said Shaheem. ”That doesnt mean that they can’t eat in their homes, in their private life.”

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that police would take action against foreigners observed to be eating publicly during the holy month of Ramadan, ”and as for Maldivians, we will send cases to the Prosecutor General’s office and to court. With foreigners also we will take action according to suggestions from the PG.”

President of the Adhaalath Party, Sheikh Hussein Rasheed Ahmed, has posted Ramadan greetings to the president and first lady of the Maldives, as well as the Vice President and his wife, senior state executives, leaders of all the political parties, diplomats from different countries, members of the party and the people of the Maldives.

Vice president of religious NGO Jamiyytahul Salaf, Sheikh Hussein Moosa Fikry has delivered a sermon on how to correctly observe fasting, according to the habits of Prophet Mohamed [PBUH].

Famous religious scholar Sheikh Adam Shameem Bin Ibrahim has also has delivered a sermon related to the holy month of ramdan.