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Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri… Be strong and choose to forgive!

By July 16, 2015March 31st, 2016Community

Selamat Hari Raya

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all our Muslim friends…our very best wishes to all as you celebrate the end of Ramadan, the fasting month!

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a time where Muslim families and friends seek forgiveness from each other, visit their ancestors’ graves, say prayers at the mosque, and visit relatives and friends to feast on traditional Malay delicacies. In Singapore and Malaysia, children are also given token sums of money from their parents or elders.

The most common greeting used by Muslims in Singapore is “Selamat Hari Raya”. Another greeting is “Maaf Zahir Dan Batin”, which translates loosely to “I seek forgiveness (from you) physically and spiritually”.

As the later greeting suggests, Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a time of forgiveness within the Muslim community. In particular, many Muslims make it a point to forgive others, and to ask forgiveness from their father and their mother for the wrongs they have committed over the past year. This is a laudable act of honour to one’s father and mother – freely offered from the heart as an expression of gratitude, respect, concern and, above all, honour. It is an act of honour that wipes the slate clean, and enables one to move forward and live life light.

Not choosing to forgive is akin to us drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. When we do not forgive others, they become a burden that we carry around on our minds, spirits, and souls.

In his book, “Forgive for Good”, Dr Fred Luskin, the cofounder and director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project stated that research has emerged over the past decade to show that “learning to forgive is good for both your mental and physical well-being and your relationships” as forgiveness “has been shown to reduce depression, increase hopefulness, decrease anger…increase emotional self-confidence, and help heal relationships”.

All of us should thus learn from this healthy annual practice of our Muslim friends, and make a daily effort to forgive those who offend us and seek forgiveness from those we have wronged till it becomes a natural, authentic part of ourselves – not as a show of false goodness, but an authentic outpouring out of love and honour…if not for the sake of others…for ourselves!

As Mahatma Gandhi said: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” So, let’s be strong, and choose to forgive and ask for forgiveness!

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

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