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Puasa Enam

Posted by on 28 August 2012

Ramadhan is finally over so you amble towards your officemate’s desk and ask her out to lunch. She looks up at you and apologises, “Sorry, I puasa lah.” (I’m sorry, but I’m fasting.)

What gives?! Ramadhan’s over. So why is she still fasting?

It’s something that the Malays call puasa enam, i.e. fasting for six days anytime within the month of Shawwal (the month that comes after Ramadhan**). It is said that if a Muslim fasts for the whole month of Ramadhan and follows it with six days fasting within the month of Shawwal, it is as if they fasted the entire year. It is a recommended — but not compulsory — practice.

So now you know why your colleague is fasting. Now go buy her some cookies or cupcakes to eat when she breaks her fast at sunset later ;)

**’Ramadhan’ is actually the name of a month in the Islamic calendar. And because the Islamic calendar is lunar, Ramadhan can fall on any month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. The other months are: Muḥarram, Ṣafar, Rabīʿ al-Awwal, Rabīʿ ath-Thānī, Jumādā al-Ūlā, Jumādā al-Ākhira, Rajab, Shaʿbān, Ramaḍān, Shawwāl, Dhū al-Qiʿda, Dhū al-Ḥijja.

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