Jakarta (ANTARA) - The fasting ritual observed by Muslims during the Ramadan period aims to nurture empathy and egalitarianism, Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD stated.

"Fasting nurtures empathy and egalitarianism. What is empathy? Empathy is to feel the sadness of others, the hunger of others, and to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, with a lower position than us," Mahfud noted in his statement here on Wednesday.

The minister remarked that every human has equal self-respect and dignity, so no one must perceive others to be at a lower position than them.

Viewing others as being inferior to them will be an ignorant (jahiliyyah) action, according to the coordinating minister.

Mahfud, while delivering a sermon during the special Tarawih evening prayer at Istiqlal Mosque here on Tuesday (Apr 5), reminded of the need to respect others by narrating a story about Prophet Muhammad and his companion.

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The minister narrated a story about a companion of the Prophet, called Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, who was reprimanded by Muhammad after excessively insulting his servants.

"One day, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari was seen by other companions as wearing the same cloth and footwear as his servants. The companions then asked him 'Why are you wearing the same clothes as your servants?' To this, al-Ghifari then answered 'The Prophet once reprimanded me after I vented my anger on my slave by saying that he is as stupid and lazy as his mum'," Mahfud stated.

"If you have a servant, you must treat them well. Give them the same clothes as you wear, give them foods that you eat, and help them while working, because they are only helping you while the main responsibility will be yours," Mahfud remarked while emulating Prophet Muhammad's advice to al-Ghifari.

Through Prophet Muhammad's story, the coordinating minister encouraged Muslims to nurture the spirit of respect for one another to achieve equality and justice instead of despotism.

"On the occasion of this Ramadan, let us embolden our piety to the Almighty God by nurturing our empathy, and we must build an independent Indonesia by creating equality and justice instead of despotism. This is the proper way to achieve our independence," Mahfud stated.
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Translator: Syaiful Hakim, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Suharto
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