First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt wishes to all the Muslims in this country and the world who are celebrating Ramadan or Eid-ul-Fitr today (22) post fasting for a month.
As we all know, Sri Lankans call the month of Ramadan as the month of Nombu. The fasting season begins with the sighting of the new moon and ends with the dawn of Shawwal. This month becomes more special by being called the month of giving and fulfilling the fourth obligation that Allah has made obligatory for Muslims. Therefore, the month of Ramadan is not a month reserved only for fasting and enduring hunger.
Whilst engaging in daily activities as usual, this month is also supposed to give priority to religious activities. This month is dedicated to forgiveness, practicing patience and other kind activities which are popular virtues among us as human beings. However, it is the teaching of Prophet Muhammad that if one does not give up on lying and behaving as such, there is no point in fasting without eating or drinking, Allah will not accept that fast and Allah will distance himself from such fasting.
I feel that it is correct to consider the fasting period of Ramadan in this country as a month that brings happiness not only to the pious Muslims, but also as a time for them to share happiness with all ethnic groups. We Sri Lankans have inherited a wonderful culture of sharing food with each other. Porridges prepared by Muslim devotees to break their fast during the fasting month of Ramadan are popular among us all. Also, at the end of the fasting period of Ramadan, among the foods and drinks consumed by the Muslim community in this country, exchanging Watalappan, Biryani, sweets and desserts made according to the Muslim tradition with neighbors, is a common custom of our Sri Lankans.
From all this we can see that the intense devotion and tolerance of the Muslims who maintain an extremely challenging cycle can be absorbed even by devotees of other religions in their daily activities and their lives. It is our sincere hope that such events, which are born to raise collective social values, will provide the basis for the creation of a conciliatory religious environment in Sri Lanka.
Happy Eid-ul-Fitr to all Muslims!
Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana
Parliament of Sri Lanka.