As the holy month of Ramadan draws closer, I write this post, as i make these comments every Ramadan but have never made the effort to put them into an entire blog post. I realized it may actually make a difference if i tried so here goes. Every Ramadan, we talk about religion and tolerance and all the great things associated with this Holy month. The operative word here is: "talk." We, as a society, love talking big whether it concerns religion or any other flavour of the month. This Ramadan, however, i think its important to focus on what we can do to make a difference. I pray that we develop some resemblance to a civilized society, even if it is just for 30 days. I pray that we develop tolerance though from the very onset, the fact that eating and drinking in public is prohibited demonstrates otherwise. We conveniently forget that we have minorities and that Islam does not impose - it is far from a religion of compulsion and yet we construe it to be as such, repeatedly. The entire purpose behind fasting is to develop sabr (patience, strength). We eat infront of the poor on a daily basis so how are we supposed to understand the concept of sabr in an unrealistic environment where we don't understand that sense of deprivation that is so prevalent? I recently kept a 'mannat ka roza' (prior to the beginning of this Holy month) and went about my normal routine; going out with my friends and so forth. I saw people eating and drinking and it didn't bother me one bit: in fact, it gave me strength to make it till iftaari (breaking of the fast). Looking at other people eating and drinking made me realize how much patience and strength God gives the poor who see us doing this on a daily basis - and how much strength He gave me to not only continue on strong with my fast, but also to understand the purpose behind it.
Whenever i hear someone say "roza lag raha hai" (i.e. that their fast is getting to them), it makes me wonder how disconnected they are from the on-ground realities prevalent in our country. People often blame their "roza" (fast) for their incompetence, laziness and unacceptable bouts of anger. Bear in mind that if the starving population had the luxury to do so, we'd be living in an even worse off society. This Ramadan, instead of following the same sickening traditions of hypocrisy (that are actually the opposite of Islam and the concept of fasting), please look inwards and make that little change that makes such a huge difference.
Everytime you think of breaking a traffic light to make it in time for Iftaari, try and understand that the law does not cease to be the law because you are hungry. Everytime you yell at someone around you because you're hungry, imagine tens of thousands of your fellow country-men constantly screaming in your face because they barely have one meal to eat per day. Everytime you have your lavish iftaaris with ten different kinds of food that you have to eat because you've 'starved' the whole day, bear in mind that gluttony is not the expected outcome of Ramadan. If we want to respect Ramadan and celebrate this Holy month as it is meant to be celebrated, let's be fair to ourselves, our religion and our society.
Ramadan Mubarak to everyone.