Same as millions of Muslims worldwide, Malaysian Muslim mother Noorizah Mohamed has been anticipating the joyous atmosphere of the holy month of fasting for months.
Unfortunately, the 58-year-old may now have to spend Ramadan at a temporary relief center after her house in Batu Pahat, south west Malaysia, was hit by floods.
“In 2020 and 2021, we had a very quiet Ramadan and Hari Raya. In fact, my children who are living in Johor Baru and Perak were unable to come home due to the pandemic,” the mother of five told The Star.
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“Last year, they were only able to return home on the second day of Hari Raya as the festival arrived a day earlier than expected.
“I thought that this will finally be the year we could really have a proper Ramadan and Hari Raya, but now, I don’t think it is even possible.”
Around 50,000 people have been displaced by floods after Malaysia’s Johor state recorded its highest rainfall since 1991 this month. The flood water in the Batu Pahat district is expected to subside within two weeks or a month.
“If the floodwater does not recede in the next two weeks, we will have our first day of Ramadan at the center,” Mohamed said
“I really hope that things will improve before then as it will not be comfortable to have pre-dawn meals and break our fast at the center,” she added.
Housewife Fatimah Hamim, 49, also hopes that the flood situation will improve before Ramadan.
“I really hope that the floodwaters will be gone in the next few days so that we will have enough time to prepare for Ramadan and the reopening of schools,” she said.
“I do not mind having a quiet Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri, but hopefully we at least get to go through it without water flooding our homes,” she said.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. The blessed month of Ramadan, a time of reflection, will start on Thursday, March 23, according to the astronomical calculations.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint, and good deeds.