11:44:22 am on October 10, 2006 |
Photos by Mahallah Ali Photographer
Location Wangsa Maju Ramadan Bazaar
24 Oct 2006, First day of Ramadan
KUALA LUMPUR — One day before the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Malaysians Muslims are complained that prices of fish, prawns, chicken and vegetables have all shot up, forcing some of them to take a second job for an extra income to meet the needs of their families.
“This has dampened my mood. I have to be cautious in my spending,” Siti Nora, a 35-year-old businesswoman, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Saturday, September 23.
Siti blamed the high prices on traders taking advantage of a sharp fuel and cooking gas hike in February.
“The market was crowded. Traders know consumers have no choice so they push up prices,’ she said. “It is a strain on my purse.”
The country began preparations for Ramadan with crowded food markets after scholars confirmed that the holy fasting month would start Sunday, September 24.
Streets in the capital Kuala Lumpur have already taken on a new image with colorful bazaars made up of hundreds of makeshift tents offering a taste of traditional delicacies.
For Malaysian Muslims, like others worldwide, the beginning of the ninth month in the Muslim lunar calendar which marks is a time for spiritual reflection, prayers and feasting.
Adult Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking and having sex between dawn and sunset.
The daily fast is broken with an evening meal called the iftar, after which many Muslims attend special congregational nightly prayers, known as Tarwih.
Ramadan also provides an opportunity for many to earn extra income ahead of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations which marks the end of the fasting month.
Mohamad Farid Ismail, who works in a factory where salaries are usually low, has applied for a month-long leave so he can operate a stall that would bring in more money.
“My wife does not work and it is quite difficult for us when it comes to Eid celebration as we have three children,” he said.
Malaysia’s population of 26 million is dominated by some 60 percent Muslim Malays. Chinese and Indians make up 26 percent and eight percent respectively.
Millions of Muslims across the globe will observe the holy month of Ramadan on Saturday, September 24, while others will start the annual fast a day later.
Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.
One group says that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.
A second, however, believes that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country (such as Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa [House of Fatwa]) announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this. – News taken from Islam Online