Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,
On behalf of our Catholic community, we send you our warmest greetings and good wishes as you prepare for the great celebration of Eid al-Fitr.
As Catholics, during Lent, we share the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving that you practise during Ramadan, and at Easter, we rejoice in God’s great mercy and compassion as you do at Eid al-Fitr. This year, we too share the challenges of celebrating our holy seasons during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
We understand that Allah says in the Quran: “Verily, We shall put you to test with some fear, and hunger, and with some loss of wealth, lives, and offspring. And (O Muhammad) convey good tidings to those who are patient, who say, when inflicted by hardship, “Verily we are of God and verily to Him shall we return;” upon them is the blessings of Allah and His mercy.” (2:155)
The Bible also teaches something similar: “Consider it a great joy when trials of many kinds come upon you, for you well know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and perseverance must complete its work so that you will become fully developed, complete, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4)
Although you could not regularly worship in your mosques as a people of God during this circuit-breaker period, nor undertake pilgrimages to your great holy sites of Mecca, Medina and Al-Aqsa during this holiest of months, you have overcome these challenges with creativity and joy. We are truly inspired by your faith, patience and perseverance. We are especially edified by and immensely grateful to the many members of the Muslim community who are giving so selflessly and cheerfully of their time and effort on the frontlines of healthcare and essential services, and our hearts go out in empathy and prayer to your members who have suffered loss of loved ones, livelihoods and well-being during this difficult time.
On the first ever Digital Interreligious Organisation (IRO) Day on 28 April 2020, the leaders of our faith communities pledged, in line with our religious values and as one united people of Singapore, to (i) strengthen interreligious solidarity; (ii) support the community at large; and (iii) promote social responsibility, for the common good of all. And on 14 May 2020, as members of the IRO, we supported the Global Day of Prayer for Humanity to pray, fast and do good works for an end to the COVID-19 – indeed, this initiative by the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was inspired by the spirit of the Document of Human Fraternity signed jointly by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi on 4 February, 2019.
Following the great example the Grand Imam and the Pope have set for our faith communities and the world, let us continue working tirelessly together in this spirit of collaboration and gotong-royong with the hope and courage that God gives us through the great celebrations of Eid al-Fitr and Easter.
Once again, on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, we extend you our most heartfelt wishes for a most happy, joyful and peace-filled Eid al-Fitr celebration.
Most Rev William Goh
Archbishop of Singapore
Msgr Philip Heng, S.J.
Vicar General (Interreligious Relations)