AS Eid Fitr or Hari Raya Aidilfitri approaches, many households are busy preparing for the coming festive season. Sadly, the festive excitement often tempts people to overspend.
If we manage our funds wisely, however, we need not find ourselves in financial distress during the festive season. During every festive season, many people have the habit of buying new things to celebrate the occasion.
Those with poor budget management sometimes fail to maximise the benefit of the early disbursement of salaries and the additional Raya bonus.
They will spend till their last ringgit, and continue their shopping frenzy with credit cards, without sparing a thought to the possibility of running up a serious debt, which may include not being able to pay their monthly household bills.
Those who are heavily in debt may soon find themselves on the brink of bankruptcy. It was recently reported that more than 107,000 people have been declared bankrupt in the country from 2010 until April this year.
This is a clear indication that societal awareness on financial management is still low. Creating awareness on financial management should begin in schools.
As such Therefore, the Education the Ministry should create more financial management awareness introduce such programmes in schools.
The government, through Bank Negara, should also change the law by increasing the minimum annual income requirement for credit card applications as well as curb the activities of loan sharks.
Islam also teaches its people to spend moderately and forbids extravagance.
The Holy Koran Quran states: “And they who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor miserly, and there is ever a just mean between the two”. (Surah Al-Furqan: 67).
As such Therefore, it has always been the duty of all Muslims to spend cautiously and not be wasteful in their expenditure. Happy Eid Fitr to all Muslims. Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow, senior lecturer, Faculty of Syariah & Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)
Continuing the spirit of Ramadan
RAMADAN, the holiest month in the Islamic Hijrah calendar, will end in a few days and the eve of Syawal will begin. Fasting in Ramadan will be missed for the lessons of humility and reflections it provides to the initiated. Muslims around the globe will pray that God Almighty will accept their act of obedience and reward them accordingly.
For Malaysian Muslims, it should make us thankful and in tuned to the world, the sufferings and the kind of relationships we are fostering among Muslims and non-Muslims in this blessed country.
Despite the troubles and challenges we are facing and are going to endure, Ramadan should have provided us the break that we need, to realise that there are still roses among the thorns, with regards to the future of this nation.
The spirit of Ramadan is meant to be refined, applied and continued in our lives. Pic by Mohd Yusni Ariffin
Therefore, the eve of Syawal is a day of celebration, for being victorious in restraining oneself from the human need for food, water and the temptation to succumb to the extremes of human desires, either the conscious, such as anger and hatred, or the subconscious ones, like lust or carnality.
It is a day for thankfulness and rejoicing, and, hopefully, as a community, Ramadan would have provided us with a clean slate to move forward as better Muslims, to be useful to our community, fellow citizens and human and living beings.
The spirit of Ramadan should not remain only in the fasting month, but should be refined, applied and continued in our lives. Having said that, I went to several Ramadan bazaars to buy food for buka puasa (breaking of fast) and, more recently, to shopping malls, observing the shopping frenzy.
One factor that is obvious to me is that we are blessed to live in abundance in a relatively safe and comfortable environment, despite society-related issues that need to be dealt with and solutions found urgently.
On that note, however, there are no excuses for us to not be a harmonious and peaceful society. We just need to understand and appreciate the good and values entrenched in our society, either via religion, ethnic or cultural background. This Hari Raya, let us celebrate the positive values that we cherish, regardless of whether we are Muslims.
Let us demonstrate values for the younger generation to emulate. Mutual respect, moderation in our thoughts, actions and words, extinguishing animosity and narrow principles, seeing the good rather than the bad in matters we might differ, empathy towards each other and many more values have made Malaysia what it is now.
We can strive to be better than what we are witnessing in society. Go back to living together in harmony and peace, despite the obvious differences of who we are, based on our ethnicity, culture and religions.
Do not let our abundance be the excuse to sow greed, desire or lust for material gain or superiority. The abundance must not be translated into excesses for a selected minority, oblivious to the plight of many who are less fortunate and in need of assistance.
Reduce talk and do something to improve or change for the better. We should be more patient and considerate towards each other in roads, so that we can return to be with our loved ones during this holiday.
We should bear in mind that it is the smallest of gestures and restraint that gives the biggest impact. We must carry out our responsibilities with pride, integrity and honour, no matter how insignificant we feel our status is in society.
Each one of us has a role to play and contribute to make this nation great. Let this Hari Raya be a turning point in our desire as a nation to be better as one, rather than bitter and divided in our separate ways. In our joyful mood, let us not forget the families and loved ones of victims of the two Malaysia Airlines disasters.
Let us pray that their souls rest in peace and their loved ones will get closure. Celebrating in simple terms is an important milestone to rejoice the victory of choosing the good and moderate against the bad and extreme in our temptations, desires, intention and actions as human beings.
May such a spirit spread to Malaysians, and God willing, we will be on the true path towards becoming a proud and an exemplary society.