Ramadhan not a tourist product

The Consumers’ Association of Penang feels  outraged by  the statement of the Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen that Malaysia is going to have “the first ever Ramadhan Summer Festival featuring food, shopping and other fun-filled activities” to attract Middle Eastern tourists during the Ramadhan month in August.

Dr Ng should be reminded that Ramadhan is not a tourist product but a sacred month of spiritual enrichment for Muslims throughout the world.  It is during this month that Muslims perform extra prayers and zikir to glorify Allah and discipline themselves. Many travel to Mecca to perform Umrah and pray in Masjid al Haram. It is certainly not for fun, food and frolic!!

On the inner dimensions of fasting Imam Ghazali taught that fasting should mean keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet — and all other organs — free from sin.

It is sad that in Malaysia the month of Ramadhan has become highly commercialized and turned into a month of indulgence.  Hotels, restaurants and other eating places encourage gluttony and waste through promoting breaking fast with a wide variety of food.  The Qur’an chastises those who indulge in gluttony and waste. Allah swt. in Surah Al A’raf verse 31 warns :

“O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for God loveth not the wasters.”

CAP calls on the Tourism Ministry not to worship tourist dollars and to cancel its plans to go ahead with its Ramadhan Summer Fest.

Letter to the Editor – 10 June 2010