Since when does my fasting or not fasting jeopardise someone else’s imaan?

Published: June 5, 2016

Those not fasting should not be seen as potential preys to hound, victimise, judge and humiliate. PHOTO: GOOGLE

My grandmother used to call it Ramazan Shareef. There was no discussion, debate or argument over its pronunciation. The month would come in its usual cycle without much fuss or ado. Television channels wouldn’t go bonkers except for some increased airtime for naats and religious discussions that were never heavily advertised. People wouldn’t wear cloaks all across.

If someone in the house didn’t fast, others wouldn’t raise their eyebrows. The non-fasting family members would comfortably go on with usual daily meals without being given guilt trips.

There were simpler, not-so-extravagant iftar dinners where family members would get together without any pressure on anyone to pray in the neighbourhood mosque or have a congregation at home. Some would essentially get up to pray and others chose to skip without any questions asked. Meals were simpler and the trend of five-star iftars and sehris was non-existent.

There was no concept of ‘dars’ in every second street of the neighbourhood where men in jubba o dastar or women in niqaab would hold the fort issuing decrees and giving a roadmap to becoming a ‘good Muslim’ according to their specific versions of Islam.

Taraweehs were not made mandatory as mosques and only mosques would have them without fanfare. There was no three-day, 10-day, 15-day taraweeh at every other large mansion acquired by unknown (many times dubious) means. There were roza kushais for children fasting for the first time. These were simple ceremonies and, whether it was roza kushai or just an iftaar party, it was considered okay for men and women to sit together. I never heard the term “mixed gathering” while growing up. Love, respect for each other and compassion ruled. Religiosity took a backseat.

Those were simpler, calmer days. I don’t remember anyone asking me if I was praying or fasting. No one was bothered. If I wanted to, I did. When I didn’t feel up to it, I wouldn’t. No guilt, no shame, no remorse, no questioning. I never felt odd eating food during Ramazan as it never occurred to me that I’d be judged for it. Now I have to hide myself from the questioning eyes that are always asking that dreading question: Are you fasting? What if I am and what if I am not? Why would it matter to anyone else? Why would my eating or drinking jeopardise someone’s imaan for which I must be reprimanded and punished? My life choices are my own and I reserve the right to make my choices and live the way I choose to.

Sadly speaking, it is a changed story now. The sacred month has become exceedingly commercial. All religiosity associated with it looks pretentious to say the least. There is no soul and no spirit. Only the form is left and that too is becoming disfigured by the day. Ramazan, as I grew up observing all around, has gone into oblivion.

To fast or not to fast is essentially a matter of personal choice and should remain so. The month with all its reverence deserves enough respect to be kept away from corporatisation and commercialisation. Those not fasting should not be seen as potential preys to hound, victimise, judge and humiliate. It is yet another month and if anyone feels the need to increase his/her prayers, they should do it quietly without broadcasting and spending all available resources in preaching or forcing religion. Others may have their own priorities, own stories and own challenges.

Let the spirit of insaaniyat (humanity) and Ramazan Shareef return. Let’s vow to not become a nuisance to others for one full month.

Junaid Zuberi

Junaid Zuberi

The author lives and works in Toronto. He is a business graduate and a music enthusiast. He is also the founder of Sur Sangum, a forum that brings artists and enthusiasts on one platform .He tweets as @jwzubery (twitter.com/jwzubery)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Abubakar

    Dear Brother Fasting is not a choice ….Recommend

  • Sonya

    I look completely okay and healthy but I cannot fast due to an underlying problem. I don’t wish to tell the world about it because I know they will not understand, but the constant pestering comments from people causes me more anxiety and makes me feel extremely bad about myself. “Are you fasting? No? Why! You’re in your 20s and you don’t fast! This is not good at all”Recommend

  • vinsin

    Argument only valid in a secular society not in an Islamic State. People those who can fast but not-fasting should be killed.Recommend

  • Imran

    Brother it is very simple. If your brother do not obey your mother would you not ask him to do so? If your brother reply that it is my choice then how would you react? Allah love us 70 times more then our mother and we Muslims are brothers so why not one have right to ask other to obey Allah? Best friend is one who tells you about your mistakes not the one who kept quiet and let you go away. You must be thank full that you belong to a religion where people take care of each other like brothers and sisters. And your guilt and shame proof that you have Imaan. May Allah help you to be the one who lead in His obedience.Recommend

  • Rd px

    Wrong. No one should have any business asking others if they are fasting or not. Its an ibadat, a very personal matter between that individual and God. A lot of people are exempt from fasting like various chronic diseases, certain women conditions, travelers. They are not supposed to justify their eating to everyone who decides to become a thanedar for them.Recommend

  • Rd px

    Its between man and God and only God can ask him on the day of judgement. No man can become another man’s thanedar regarding ibadat.Recommend

  • Xyz

    Sure fasting is not a choice but lying is a choice, violence is a choice, mocking people different than us is a choice.
    As human beings shouldn’t we get our priorities right. We get so hyper about these ritualistic expressions of religion but where God really matters we don’t give two hoots about it.Recommend

  • Muhammad Waqas Babar

    Feeling Sad and sorry for the author’s thought…may Allah SWT Guide him and all others supporting his opinion on the right and Pious path…Ameen…ya Rab
    Recommend

  • Parvez

    Today the emphasis is on religiosity …….. humane behavior, common decency, respect for others, good values taught by all religions , all have been relegated to the back seat. In Pakistan especially, the importance of form over substance has become very apparent……to the detriment of both society and religion.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Dear brother, and who are you to stick your nose into others personal decisions?Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Would wonder why, with all the guilt and shame around, Pakistani Muslims can’t wait to avoid paying taxes, scam government programs, marry off underage children, engage in honour killings, lie cheat and steal to get ahead, set up fake businesses, etc etc?Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Its depend on one’s upbringing and its resistance. This month is the month of fasting so in Islamic society like Pakistan it should without being sorry for it. May be not for Torontonians so why whine on A Pakistani E paper???Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Calm down .. Calm down Mr Abbreviation..The writer is saying ” Others may have their own priorities, own stories and own challenges.” not to fast and do breakfast on time. But as he lives in Toronto so it implies to western. In Pakistan however things are better as they care about this month.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Brothers?Look around you.Recommend

  • economist

    You were not even fasting in Ramzan & you are talking about soul & spirit of Islam & Roza……..Are you kidding me????Recommend

  • umair khan

    Alas! Dreading questions are coming soon (After death), we shouldn’t care what others say but should care what Allah and his messenger says and prepare our selves for the eternal life.Recommend

  • shan

    religion has all good words and 1% actionRecommend

  • Muhammad Bilal Ramzan

    its not about anyone else’s imaan. Its about etiquette and courtesy!Recommend

  • SamSal

    And why should a non-muslim be forced to skip meals and water (in this heat) just because we work in the same office and I am fasting?Recommend

  • Ali

    Not once did the author asked us to not fast because he is not fasting, he is simply asking why would he be judged if he is not fasting. Is this so hard for you to understand?Recommend

  • Arrogance is a disease

    Yes, I agree with you on this. One shouldn’t start interrogation like you said thanedar but one should give someone the best advise in the most beautiful way possible.

    Thanks!Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    because Islam teaches us wrong and right. All opinions are not ought to be respected from an Islamic perspective. If someone says, they dont like praying 5 times a day, it not an opinion that needs ‘ respect ‘, it needs guidance.Recommend

  • Rd px

    This law is unislamicRecommend

  • Rd px

    U need to re learn english. Thats not what he is saying.Recommend

  • Rd px

    Those ayat do not mean thanedari of others ibadat. Dont talk like taliban.Recommend

  • PatelPara

    I am sorry do you even know what Amar bil maroof wa nahi anil munkir means? Next time understand one’s comment before replying.Recommend

  • A A

    Doesn’t matter its the law bro.Recommend

  • A A

    You should re-read the article. Thats exactly what he is sayingRecommend

  • A A

    If I may, why would we want to change it? This law doesn’t concern non-muslims. Why would a Muslim want to eat in front of another in the month of Ramadan. That’s purely unethical if not unlawful in light of IslamRecommend

  • PatelPara

    and how do you do tableeg? If one is not fasting I should do tableeg. thank you. What are we discussing now?Recommend

  • PatelPara

    lol. Its a sin. and the reason why a person will be punished. If it wasn’t an offence in the eyes of Allah then I am not sure why would anyone care to do tableeg to save the society from immorality.Recommend