Why should minorities suffer in Ramazan?

Published: July 28, 2012
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How can we deprive the minorities of Pakistan the right to eat in restaurants or at office canteens when it is not their religious duty to fast during Ramazan? PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

The holy month of  Ramazan is here once again in all its glory and our hypocrisy.

Yes, you read me right.

Come Ramazan and all of us put our pious cloaks on just like all the female anchors adorn dupattas on their heads in Ramazan, sidelining all the Bollywood numbers they shook their rears to, in their morning shows with na-mehram (men who do not have an Islamic legal relationship with the woman) guests. Haw.

The hypocrisy isn’t just evident on the television shows during the holy month; it is also further propagated by laws like Ehtram-e-Ramazan that makes eating, smoking, and drinking in public places illegal for Muslims before sunset in the reverence of Islam.

Public spaces include restaurants, canteens, bridges, lanes, and even the confines of your own house, according to a clause of the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance. Only hospital canteens – because they feed patients – and primary school canteens are exempt from this law. Ehtram-e-Ramazan law has been operational since Zia’s regime, the regime also infamous for the enforcement of discriminatory blasphemy laws.

I find this law extremely hypocritical and prejudiced not only on a social level, but also on a religious level. While we preach parity and guarantee equal rights to the minorities in Islam and the Constitution of Pakistan, how could we deprive the minorities of Pakistan the right to eat in restaurants or at office canteens when it is not their religious duty to fast during Ramazan?

My driver, who is a Christian, recently told me that he hadn’t had lunch because all the restaurants were closed. Since he is always on the roads driving, especially during the daytime, it’s very difficult for him to be able to go home, eat and resume his work. As a consequence of the enforcement of the Ehtram-e-Ramazan law, not only my driver, but several other non-Muslim and even Muslim (who chose not to fast because of health or other reasons) labourers have to face the difficulty of finding a place to eat at during this month.

Similarly, non-Muslim students and teachers in secondary schools, colleges and universities also suffer since these institutions’ canteens remain closed in reverence of Ramazan.

Kainat*, a Christian student, at a well-reputed school comments on the Ehtram-e-Ramazan law saying,

I respect the fact that Muslims fast, but it’s slightly ridiculous to shut the school canteen down altogether without making arrangements for non-Muslim students.

Even though non-Muslims are exempt from this law, there have been incidents when they have paid a price for eating in public. In August 2009, two Christians, Gull Masih and Ashir Sohail, were arrested for snacking at Bismillah Hotel on their way to Lahore by bus. Despite having acknowledged their faith as non-Muslims, the police took them to Silanwali police station and registered a case, nonetheless, for desecrating Ramazan.

Besides the law being discriminatory towards the minorities, it also doesn’t acknowledge a large percentage of Pakistani women who menstruate during Ramazan and are unable to fast.

Why should they not be allowed to purchase food during the day or eat in offices or other public spaces?

Seems to me that the Ehtram-e-Ramazan law is based on a general assumption and cultural understanding that all Muslims must fast and not eat in front of a rozaydaar (a person who is observing a fast) because that accounts for a sin.

In my opinion, these generalisations are gross, overdone, and actually against the true essence of Ramazan, which is of tolerance, modesty, and self-surveillance. Creating a fuss over someone eating in front of you while you fast is absolutely ludicrous. Not only does this attitude speak volumes of your conservative approach to0wards Islam, but it also means that you are digressing from the true meaning of fasting and aren’t practicing self-control or tolerance.

If your fast and faith are so fragile that you can’t stand a person eating in front you, I suggest that instead of giving those around you a hard time for your Ramazan incompetence, don’t fast.

Having said that, I do believe it is an extremely thoughtful and respectful gesture to avoid eating in front of people who are fasting, but that I think is a personal choice and must not be preached.

Nowhere in the Holy Quran or Hadith, does it say that the state is responsible for making sure that all its citizens fast and, that nobody be permitted to eat in front of those who are fasting.

It is about time we change our bigoted approach towards Islam and respect the fact that religion is personal and cannot be shoved down anyone else’s throat by the implications of such laws. In fact, such gruelling religious policing, neither makes the society prosper nor does it produce halal branded, good Muslims. It does however oppress the society and discourages the importance Islam puts on intent and the religious and spiritual consequence of one’s deeds.

Read more by Komal here or follow her on Twitter @komalali92

Komal Ali

Komal Ali

Born and raised in Pakistan, Komal Ali is an International Relations major and Law and Public Policy nexus minor at Mount Holyoke College. She is currently doing a Pre-Law certificate at University of Amsterdam. She tweets at @komalali92 (twitter.com/Komalali92)

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

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    Believe me Komal, Getting to eat is the least of the problems that minorities face in this country, Getting to live is the first thing on their minds.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Excellent and very sensible write up. We are consumed by ritual and not bothered by the substance or essence of the faith. The use of religion for political ends has done us much harm.
    I had the opportunity of landing in Kuala Lumpur on the first day of fasting and was pleasantly surprised that life proceeded as normal and one could get a cup of tea and a sandwich on the road side and when questioned on this the waitress was totally non-plussed as to why I even asked and she was fasting herself.Recommend

  • Saif Khan

    Yes Islam was by design spread mainly due to the tolerant nature that its champions exhibited. Why do non-Muslims have to obey laws that aren’t of their domain? We have become excessively rigid where it wasn’t necessary to be, and allowed ourselves liberties where there weren’t any prescribedRecommend

  • Akshay

    Actually, I find it hilarious that some Muslims support the eating ban by saying that eating out by non-muslims may temp muslims to eat out too. Fasting is a test and a choice of the person who fasts. Any ways very nice blog by the author.Recommend

  • http://go.ogle.com piffer

    In my opinion, your
    generalisations are gross,
    overdone, and actually against the true essence of islam.

    Using words like narrow mindness,conservativenes,bigotry are not of ur own but are embeded in ur column as they are.why we as a muslim,always act for others?
    Can’t we just live our life in our Country?

    You are pointing toward a good issue,but why extra foot notes about how in Pakistan minorities are treated?do u think we have robo-police ?
    Plz,dont criticize all what we have ,just to sell your columns. Recommend

  • Nadir H. Khan

    Bravo, Komal ! I don’t belong to any ‘minority’ (hate this demeaning word), but I absolutely agree with you !!!

    Keep it up !!!Recommend

  • Scarecrow

    This needs to be pinned up everywhere. And published on every front page. And aired on the radio. Every rozaydaar needs to know the difference between self-surveillance and administered restraint. The latter is NOT what ramazan is about.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the Muslim world snickers at our false sense of propriety. As for all the “Ramazan TV transmissions” these days – Someone at twitter rightly said “Iftar itni commercial kabhi na thi…”
    Ek money-minting tamasha hai…in my opinion.Recommend

  • Zafar

    I know some Gujurati Hindus here in the US and they also celebrate Ramazan. Some abstain partially some totally from food. Recommend

  • Hina.A

    Totally agree with you!Recommend

  • Salman Arshad

    According to the constitution, and the ideology of Pakistan, the government has to facilitate Muslims in observing Islamic rituals.
    Hence the ban.Recommend

  • S

    good article, a bit baised too, the author should propose a solution. I taotally agree that there should be eating places for non muslims, but is opening all restaurants, canteens etc at thier full capacity a sensible idea? does it even economically makes sense to operate empty restaurants?

    we need a solution in the middle and that requires good leadership which we dont have at the moment, INSHALLAH after the next elections Recommend

  • Ansari

    Very biased one. Restaurants are closed but shops are open and all food items are available for all. I don’t agree with this rhetoric of liberal mind-set which has nothing but enmity against every single thing of Islam.Recommend

  • Ali

    i just dont get one point… Pakistan is an Islamic state majority is muslims so it has to be like that …why dont christians stop eating in ramzan for minorities to respect them here in europe?? or any other non muslim country .its just one month i totally agree with Salman Arshad.This so called educated liberal class of Pakistan is over reacting.The ban on eating outside is not because fasting muslims would get crazy seeing someone eating it is too have that atmosphere.Believe me this helps alot.so the author please get a life and try just one time to be a good Pakistani rather then showing off as if you were forced to be in this country and you dont like how things are here Recommend

  • Mujtaba Rizvi

    Was waiting for an article on this topic. The police registering a case against someone for eating in Ramazan even if he/she is a muslim is insane. Totally unislamic. The police should try to focus on dealing with robberies and increasing crime rate during the holy month, that they don’t seem to do well.Recommend

  • Umer

    @Ali:

    why dont christians stop eating in ramzan for minorities to respect them here in europe

    Eating is a normal human behaviour. If you want to deviate from it it’s your problem not everyone else’s, minority or not. Some religions are just too inconvenient for everybody, from suicide bombings to forcing others not to eat. Time to come back to 21st century.Recommend

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    @Ali Looks like you just cam back tired from the suicide bombing training camp and that’s why the incoherent words, take a break.Recommend

  • A.

    Ramzan is supposed to be about so much more than just abstaining from eating and drinking. Here in Pakistan you see people fighting, scratching each other on roads, swearing their hearts out, embezzling money, pick pocketing during roza but as soon as they see someone drinking water their roza is disturbed. I think somebody needs to explain to these people what Ramzan actually is.Recommend

  • Umer

    @Ali:
    Eating is a normal human behaviour. If you want to deviate from it it’s your problem not everyone else’s, minority or not. Recommend

  • Umer

    Some religions just prove to be too inconvenient for everybody.Recommend

  • Sunny

    i was once eating burger during ramadan in the backyard of my building which is closed and is not a public place , suddenly one muslim came started abusing , shouting , well we didn’t argue we stoped eating by words k agar aap pyar se kahete to bhi hum nahin khaate … one more point my building is a hindu majority building but still we face such restriction because our building maintenance staff is muslim. Recommend

  • idk

    @S: Restaurants are open in Ramzan 24/7 anyways, they just don’t sell anything, instead they prepare food for iftar! So if they do cook few meals for people who are not fasting, that wouldn’t do any bad to them!Recommend

  • antony

    This is true discrimination and I urge all christian nations ( west,russia) and buddhist ( mynanmar ,taiwan,) athiest nations ( china) to protest this ban by forcing muslims in their countries to stop taking prayer time outs during ramazaan.Recommend

  • idk

    @Ali:
    Let’s do a deal hear, we’ll request our Christian brothers in Pakistan to not to eat in Ramzan, IF you start fasting in Lent season and Yom Kippur to show respect to the majority of the country you live in! Deal?Recommend

  • Zain

    What a lame statement “My driver, who is a Christian, recently told me that he hadn’t had lunch because all the restaurants were closed. Since he is always on the roads driving, especially during the daytime, it’s very difficult for him to be able to go home, eat and resume his work.”

    Dear writer, you and your driver live in an urban city not in a jungle where your driver could not find a place to eat, well, unless he was looking for a specific cuisine etc.

    You talk about Ramadan and the changes we made….I think you should better sort your act together and provide your servant food if they can’t get that elsewhere and stop blaming this to how we act in a month of Ramadan.

    No one is preaching non Muslims to fast and avoid eating in-front of Muslim on a state level. What lollo world you reside in ?????

    I doubt our government is enforcing any Islamic laws on anyone. Maybe you need to get some more facts and get out of your room and look on the streets no such laws exit.Recommend

  • Ali

    I am a Muslim but I’m not fasting due to a medical condition, but at the same time I don’t eat infront of everyone. Never felt much of a problem in fact what the writer has ignored is the relaxed working hours and school timings. Why can’t you just wait and go home till you have your meal? And I don’t know which school girl did you interview as most of them are closed due to summer vocations these days:) . This is such a petty issue to write a whole article on and portray such a bad picture of our country. It’s Islamic republic of Pakistan which was founded in the name of religion so that Muslims could practice their religion openly. So just chill out. Next time try writing on bigger issues such as economy, energy crisis etc. You don’t find good articles on these topics nowadays that actually give a solution. Recommend

  • hj

    I totally agree that there shouldn’t be punishment for people wanting to eat in public. Once U bought a masala ambrood in ramzan and people gave mw the dirtiest looks…and I wasn’t even eating it!
    Anyway, but a point I wanted to make is this… since the majority of people do fast – Wouldn’t it be uneconomical to have restaurants open and staffed when nobody would even be coming in? The owners would lose money. But it causes a problem that minorities/people who are nor fasting are nor catered to…Recommend

  • bilal

    wow sympathy…good thing…. Probably it would be better if you would have written some thing on people not getting food or clean water in country at all………..you are talking about minority……what about the majority living in the country who dont even have basic rights…….Madam you have power of PEN USE IT WISELY………FIRST LOOOOK TOWARD THE BASIC PROBLEMS WHICH WE ARE FACING……..dont we have some mature writer in this country or I GUESS WE RAN OUT OF THEM……..Recommend

  • Knotty

    How they suffer???
    /
    My non-Muslims friends eat all day and then come to my house and finish all my Samosa and pakoras at Iftar time!
    /
    They are enjoying it more!Recommend

  • Silas

    What is this nonsense argument that non muslims should not be allowed to fast so as to respect the feelings of the people around them and the ‘atmosphere’. What arrogant nonsense is this? So, the whole year there are poor people roaming the streets who haven’t eaten anything and are hungry for god knows how long, and yet nobody cares about their feelings. Everyone eats in public then, not caring about the poor hungry people around. Have you ever heard of a poor fakeer getting a person arrested because he was hungry and the other person was eating in fron of him? No it isn’t.
    But when it’s the month of ramadan, these very same people who never cared about anyone, are now fasting, and therefore cannot tolerate to see others eating because they can’t wait for their chat and pokaras and all the food they’ll eat in the evening.
    What sort of hypocrisy is this. Have you ever cared about not eating because there are so many hungry people. Aren’t people supposed to respect the ‘atmosphere’ than?

    And isn’t the point of fasting is too suffer and yet tolerate? Just like poor people do all year long. If you can’t tolerate seeing people eat, there is no point in fasting. When you see people eating, consider it a test and don’t be a hypocrite.Recommend

  • Girish

    @S:
    Think your country men are already working towards solution, another few years probably there will be no minorities left to talk about. Recommend

  • zara

    So, you trying to say that we should not celebrate Ramazan our way even in our own country? I have many non-muslim friends and they eat in front of me i don’t have any issue with it, our college canteen is half open for those who wants to eat and they can go inside whether or not they are Muslims. By pointing on the law, yes i agree with you but other points are totally ridiculous. About opening the restaurants don’t forget that half of the people working in those restaurants are also Muslims and besides that they know that the their business will start at Iftar till sehri that’s why the restaurants are closed during day time.
    About the menstruation women, again this is a stupid point. I never come across a woman who wants to eat even in front of their fathers and brothers and you are asking them to eat in offices and colleges. This blog is just to get attraction and comments which you are obviously getting but next time please write something sensible Recommend

  • http://www.turtleneckandchains.wordpress.com Irfan Tahir

    Superb! love how you used strong emotions to actually say out what was on your mind. Right or Wrong, i think a writer should speak out his mind.

    and yes i’ve argued about this topics to many. A lot of us see our little siblings eating in Ramadan, thats not a problem at all. Then why this?Recommend

  • Asad

    I eat when I eat wherever I want to eat and no one can dare stop me but I understand what you mean. I fast but not always and its a pain that i can’t get food delivered or go out to eatRecommend

  • Zuhair Ahmed Khan

    Agreed totally! Why should non-Muslims suffer in Ramazan. Recommend

  • waqqas iftikhar

    the most hypocritical part is….when these same ‘pious’ muslims go to other countries they want equal rights and the right to practice and preach their religion….khuda ko maano yaar…Recommend

  • ALi

    another liberal who wants to put everything on the religion. Its the Muslims who are messing it up not Ramazan. ET is full of pseudo liberals!Recommend

  • Umer

    @Ali:

    I am a Muslim but I’m not fasting due to a medical condition, but at the same time I don’t eat infront of everyone

    Forcing anyone to not eat is imposing your religion by force on to them which you have no right to do. That is why Muslims are hated all over the world, can’t keep their religion to themselves and have to be a nuisance for everyone.Recommend

  • Raza

    Finally someone touched upon this delicate issue many minorities face in Muslim countries, particularly Pakistan today. However, markets, if not all restaurants are very much open throughout the fast times for anyone to sneak in and buy himself good chunk of eatables. Plus, it’d be somehow economically unfeasible for restaurants to operate throughout the day with only a handful visitors stopping by. In Lahore, I’ve seen few restaurants serving people even during Ramazan timings.Recommend

  • Rania

    I have lived in Pakistan for 25 years of my life and being a non-muslim ramazan was a tough month for me every year. I had to eat breakfast at home and stay without drinking and eating until I would get back home (which would be around 5 PM). I tried drinking water once while seated at my cubicle in office and my students (i am a lecturer) passing by had the gutts to come to my desk and condemn me for drinking in public. In my university days (student life) there was not a slightest chance that I could eat or drink in public (considering there was no place for me to eat privately). Now having migrated to Malaysia, I salute the society here. Muslims fast during ramadhan while all the shops are open for anyone to eat as they please. Yes it may be economy viable too, as Malaysia has a huge population of non-muslims, but remember it is a muslim country. Muslims here work normal office hours (unlike Pakistan), and leave only one hour early considering they work during lunch hours. Now this is called true fasting. We just need the 96% Pakistani muslims to tell their fellow muslims to stop imposing fasting on others. PS: I swear I have seen countless Pakistani students eating in ramadhan in cafeteria here in Malaysia which shows the “reality” of Pakistanis who actually want to fast, if given a choice. I am not passing judgement here, I am just trying to say that more you police people’s religion, the more hypocrite they become. Recommend

  • amjad mumtaz

    Majority rule alw
    ays has its pros and cons.I d.nt know how govt are people have succeeded in eforcing this law where as they are a totlal failure in imlementing other laws.I have seen number of Muslims eating publically in offices and shops in Lahore.If minorities d,nt want to respect the feelings of Majority there should be no binding on them.If our people are liberal enough to participate in the celeberations of xmis and Valentine they should also show openness in allowing their christian friends to eat and smoke freely.As far as the women with menustration are concerned,allowing them freely to eat will also let their colleagues know about their physical condition to make the things more open in a conservative society.Bravo.Komal .keep it up.Recommend

  • NMK

    Much fuss over nothing… The purpose of the Ehtram-e-Ramazan law however poorly executed is to observe the sanctity of the Holy month and all it teaches us. As quite rightly pointed out by a few of the comments above, it’s certainly not quite as impossible as the author suggests to get hold of something to eat during the roza if one’s not fasting from shops etc. A country based on religious ideology like Pakistan will have laws and norms based on the religious beliefs of the majority.. so unless Pakistan was secular, where religion and the state were separate, there is nothing.. absolutely nothing wrong with having the majority’s way.Recommend

  • Brainsucker

    Every Tom, Dick and Harry is writing for Express Tribune these days. No content what so ever, Why is it so important to publish everything that has to be conflicting with Islam..Recommend

  • Sanam

    My Muslim friends here tell me that Islam preaches tolerance and yet the countries that follow Islamic law (Sharia or Shiite) seem to be anything but tolerant. Those who are not Muslim, should honor the rules – not eat, dress “appropriately”, women should “know their place” all because it might temp the Muslim devotees to the bad non-Muslim ways.

    My Muslim friends in my tolerant country are mature and confident enough in their own beliefs not to think that the way I dress, eat and act is going to tempt them. They take responsibility for their own actions or choices of what they believe is right or wrong. They do not hide behind what I should or should not be doing, they honor their beliefs by being true to what THEY should or should not be doing – and allow me to be the same.

    How sad for those who yell the loudest in places like Pakistan and other equally vehement that they have such poor confidence in their own ability to be true to their religion that the only way they can justify their position is to bully and push others through violence and threats to cover their own lack of faith and inadequacies. From what my friends have told me if these bullies – the Taliban and the like – were truly Muslim and true to their beliefs they would go back to the true teachings of the Koran – be tolerant and let God (Allah) judge those who follow a different way of life – and take responsibility for their own practices rather than committing great sins of oppression, murder and deprivation to make non-believers comply.Recommend

  • Basit

    Hello Komal Ali,

    It is a nice writing. But I want to metion few points here:

    This is the same every where in the world. If you are living in Europe, on their fesitvals, the minorities suffer, not because they want to make minorities suffer, but its their festival and its their right to celebrate that in their country.

    But I do not mean that there should be any law which enforces the closure of restaurants and other places during Ramadan. Even a muslim, due to some reason has to skip fasting.

    To be true, I havent seen this law in practice, atleast in cities. YOu have just mentioned the things in a bit more negative way.

    We all really need to change the way we should address a problem, not by just pointing it in a harsh way but to give a solution in polite way. Like, a proposal for the business people to open their shops knowing that the people who are not fasting will definitely come to them :) BIG sales guys (this I already see)

    atlast, on papers I agree that this law is stupid. It should not matter to you if you are fasting and your friend is eating infront of you.

    Hope my comments doesnt offend you or anyone.

    Greetings,
    BasitRecommend

  • Rao

    @Akshay: dude its not eating by a non-Muslim, its eating by anyone including Muslims.Recommend

  • Rao

    i live in islamabad and all restaurants are open during ramazan. If your christian driver cant find any restaurant then he should probably go to some restaurant which is owned by a christian. If i own a restaurant and i want to keep it closed during day hours then who r u to tell me that i should keep it open for minorties.Recommend

  • mr. righty rightist

    While the author makes a valid point. This should be the least of one’s worries.

    Pakistan is literally eliminating non-Muslims.

    Give them life first. Protect them first. It’s ok, if these people have to go hungry on Ramzan, because without life, there’s nothing.Recommend

  • Critical

    Nice article
    Just a question for the Muslims who agree that non-Muslims shouldn’t eat during Ramzan time

    Is your faith towards God so weak that you will get tempted just because I eat in front of you?

    One of my muslim coworkers in US has requested to use conference rooms for namaz and permission to leave early for this month and noone has objected to it.

    Why cant we expect this from you people?? Why is that the right to freedom of religion should be exercised only when you’re in minority and law of the majority should be followed in muslim countries????Recommend

  • Zehra

    Agreed. Minorities have rights and they should not be neglected . If you observe, minorities avoid eating in restaurants during Ramadan. They show respect. Don’t they?
    But some people have no other choice as you mentioned, why let them starve?Recommend

  • A.

    @Zara

    “I never come across a woman who wants to eat even in front of their fathers and brothers and you are asking them to eat in offices and colleges.”

    What is that supposed to mean? Who doesn’t eat infront of their family members?Recommend

  • Nobody

    @zara:
    I don’t know how you got that from the author’s blog but khair. I don’t think she was implying not to celebrate, if you wanna celebrate do so, don’t expect everyone else to, especially minorities. As far as restaurants staying home, I suppose I see the senselessness in that, but I do think some places should remain open because not everyone is fasting. And the point about menstruating women is valid. As far as no women ever eating in front of even fathers and brothers (???) don’t think I’ve heard anything more absurd, true or not. While I won’t stuff my face in front of fellow male students or friends, I certainly don’t starve myself on my period. I need my nourishment, it’s a period, men can deal with it as we ALL can learn to deal with seeing non fasting people eating around us. And whoever made the point about how during normal circumstances people eat in front of those so poor among us they can’t afford much was spot on. How arrogant.
    Hats off to the author, I like that someone has pointed this out. Recommend

  • Noble Tufail

    @Ali: Your over-genralization of a diverse country like Pakistan to an islamic republic is quite entertaining. Let me assist you undersdtand that yes creation of pakistan was a reaction to witch huntiing of muslim minority. and v must not do here what hindu majority did to its minority.
    For this very reason Jinnah declared very clearly not in a jalsa but at the first law making session that, “you are all equal citizens, you are free to go to your places of worship, state has got nothing to do with your religious beliefs” .. it was maulvi shabir ahmed usmani after jinnah’s death who engineered objectives resolutions quite opposite to what jinnah said on 11th august. your romance to the concept of islamic republic is no surprise as u might have read all those hamid gul made text books. however to get a real feel of an islamic republic try living in iran or saudi. Recommend

  • Qasim

    Dear Komal, please ask your driver to bring food from home or maybe you can provide him with food for a change…

    Why is this even an issue? One should respect the law of the land…here in the UAE, the same rules apply eventhough the non-muslim population is close to 50%.Recommend

  • http://www.legaladvice.pk leader

    Prohibition of serving eatables in certain public places.— No proprietor, manager,
    servant, or other person in charge of a hotel, restaurant or canteen, or other public place, shall
    knowingly and willfully offers or serve or cause to be offered or served any eatable during fasting
    hours in the month of Ramazan to any person who, according to the tenets of Islam, is under an
    obligation to fast.

    section 4 clearly says that any person who, according to the tenets of Islam, is under an obligation to fast. link > http://legaladvice.pk/194/

    which means that the rule doesnot apply to minorities, however its more of the practical behaviour that is causing the problem. otherwise, it doesnot bar everyone from eating or serving eatables… Recommend

  • sherry

    @Sabih Zafar Ullah:
    kindly stop complicating the things further,
    its not only for minorities ,its for everybody Recommend

  • sherry

    @ author
    why dont you write about the “special” kind of behaviour muslims face in those co called civilized socities where they live as minority, for example , ban on hijab???????????????????
    isnt that a bit more important then this self improvised issue???????Recommend

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    @Sherry

    Even though the Burqa is banned, pious muslims like yourself are the first ones to stand in line for their visa. Why is that?Recommend

  • sherry

    @Umer:
    eating is normal behavior for animals as well but there z some difference when it comes to human-beings or may be you don’t feel any ???

    “Some religions are just too inconvenient for everybody, from suicide bombings to forcing others not to eat. Time to come back to 21st century”.
    have you totally lost it?? its a social behavior we are talking about ,there are no such orders / instructions in islam.

    "some religions" ????? good:)

    you seem to be an “expert” on comparative study of religions,
    what do you know about the (social) restrictions imposed by other religions?????Recommend

  • Qasim Luk

    @Ali:
    No pakistan was not formed in the name of religion, read your history please. In fact the mullahs and jamaat e Islami opposed the creation of Pakistan, including Mulana Maududi, claiming that it breaks the “ikhwan ul muslemeen” – so get your facts right before trying to defend the ridiculous actions of our intolerant people.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Zuhair Ahmed Khan: The essence of your comment is appreciated. The use of the word ‘suffer’ implies that Muslims go through this period unwillingly and that defeats the whole concept of fasting and other rituals during Ramzan.
    It’s more of an inconvenience for the non-Muslims than anything else and in Islam it is stressed that the non-Muslim should be treated with extra care. Recommend

  • http://none vikash

    change in Pakistan huh?Recommend

  • Noble Tufail

    @ Qasim: intersting .. u r quoting an example that has almost no,social, political, demographic resemblance with pakistan. The topic is a dictator’s ramzan ordinance. All the shortcomming are presented of your perceived “law of the land”. Recommend

  • Mohammad Akram Virk

    Can you people leave us alone as Muslims. We know what is right and what is wrong while fasting. Respect our religion and we will respect yours. Respect the law of the land. If I am in America I should respect and obey the Laws of the land. Similarly Pakistan also has laws and we must respect and obey them. You are free to move to any part of the world to live according to your wishes But do not force on us in Pakistan. If a muslim women lives in France she must remove Scarf (Hijab) else leave France. If I am living in America I Cannot ask people not to drink alcohal. So be realistic. Life will be easy. Recommend

  • Usman Shahid

    An article that popped up on each ramazan.

    Shops are open but complaining that you can’t eat.
    Schools, colleges and universities are off but complaining that cateens are closed

    liberals do not fast and don’t want others to fast as well and start writing against ramazan with self made facts.Recommend

  • Vikram

    Qasim:” Why is this even an issue? One should respect the law of the land…here in the UAE, the same rules apply eventhough the non-muslim population is close to 50%.”

    Thanks for sharing. You just proved there are other countries who make laws like Pakistan. If a country that has 50% non-Muslims makes a law that they can’t eat out because 50% Muslims who OWN the country have to fast.

    Thank GOD Muslims have not made laws to force non-Muslims to fast during Ramadan.
    How can non-Muslims enjoy eating while Muslims who “own: the country are suffering.

    People fast in India all the times. It is not like Ramadan, most one or 2 days a week. Some times it is one member of the family fasting, but a woman will cook for her family even when she is fasting. That is TRUE fast.

    For many people it is more of show, what a shame. Fasting and causing suffering to other people what a shame.Recommend

  • allaisa

    If you are a true muslim why do you need a law to force you to fast? You would do it of your own free will. There are no such laws in the USA or India. And I am sure pious muslims in these countries fast and non muslims eat,drink and dance as they please. Recommend

  • ER

    That’s like asking “Why should ppl who are up all night suffer at night” cuz they find most eating places closed at 4am. They are closed in Ramadan cuz almost all of there target market will not buy from them and it’s economically unfeasible to open them. If anything, minorities enjoy shorter work timings and Eid holidays days becuz of Ramadan. In fact in 5star hotels i’ve seen signs that say food will be served Only to minorities before Maghrib during Ramadan.

    Canteens etc. could be open to offer food within schools offices etc. the minorities should not be forced to starve but the decent ones show respect by not eating openly. And it’s not about faith being so weak by being tempted to eat, it’s about showing respect like not playing loud music in a house of worship of any religion – doesn’t mean the worshippers’ faith is weak!Recommend

  • Hirra

    Really love this article. To all those people saying that “Pakistan is a Muslim country so non Muslims should respect our customs” etc…I would just like to point out one thing- The Muslim women in France should also respect the customs of the French government and stop wearing the hijab. Why do you all find that so offensive since it’s the same thing in principle?…Recommend

  • Hirra

    Oh and this wasn’t the “law of the land” before Zia. And we all know what a great guy he was. Recommend

  • shabbir nizamani

    i agreed with youRecommend

  • Vikram

    @Ansari:
    There is no compulsion in religion, so why force adults to do things in the name of religion.
    What is the function of religious police?Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Rao: “If i own a restaurant and i want to keep it closed during day hours then who r u to tell me that i should keep it open for minorties.”

    You can keep it closed for 365 days a year, who caree. I was going to say “Churches should provides FREE food during RAMADAN for people who have problem finding places to eat”. On a second thought Muslims will take it wrong way and feel insulted and will try to burn the church. For a moment I forgot I was talking about Pakistan, land of pure.Recommend

  • Reddy

    @Mohammad Akram Virk: the kind of logic used in his blubbering can only be understood by a able Islamic mindset…in france they are not forcing you to be nude but to show your face so that at least they know who bombed them moreover somebody’s life much more important than your face ,in america your fellow brothers tried to ban jelly beans in a campus since they are made with pork,as i said muslims love being hated every where.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/sohaib.a.nizamani Sohaib

    One will only learn Islam if they read the Quran. I believe Majority of us would claim to have read it. ‘The maulvi sahab used to come during lunch time and i used to read it back in school days.’ Sorry but that doesnt count as reading. Recommend

  • Manahil

    Very well-written article – its high time to put an end to acts like these that force feed religion not just to Muslims, but people from other religions too.Recommend

  • Vikram
  • observer

    In Pakistan Minorities are used to suffering round the year. What difference does one more month make?Recommend

  • Vikram

    @ER: “If anything, minorities enjoy shorter work timings and Eid holidays days becuz of Ramadan. In fact in 5star hotels i’ve seen signs that say food will be served Only to minorities before Maghrib during Ramadan.”

    decent ones show respect by not eating openly. And it’s not about faith being so weak by being tempted to eat, it’s about showing respect like not playing loud music in a house of worship of any religion – doesn’t mean the worshippers’ faith is weak!

    There is no compulsion in relgion. Any Muslim who does not want to fast should be allowed to do so. Eating food is not like playing loud music in a religious place. If you feel disturbed by other people eating when you are fasting, that means you are just doing it for a “SHOW”.People eat every day and it is not like loud music being played in religious place but when Muslims want to fast all of a sudden it becaomes like a LOUD music.

    It is just like playing taliban.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @zara: “So, you trying to say that we should not celebrate Ramazan our way even in our own country?”

    Did any one stop you from celebrating Ramadan in your own way? How did any one stop you?

    If you agree “there is no compulsion in religion” then any Muslim who don’t want to fast should be allowed to do so.

    Eating places should decide if they want to open or not. If Muslim workers in an eating place don’t want to work they should not be forced to work. Do Muslims go to work during Ramadan or every one stay home.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @amjad mumtaz:
    .If minorities d,nt want to respect the feelings of Majority there should be no binding on them.

    I don’t understand what eating food has to do with showing respect. I have a feeling most people have hard time fasting and feel tempted if they see food.

    Many Hindus fast once or twice a week. If a woman fasts she still cooks for the whole family and serves her family the food. Family eats in front of her. Question of showing respect by not eating in front of her.

    People (Hindus) who fast also don’t eat twice much when it is time to eat. Even her neighbor don’t know if she is fasting.

    Polce does not arrest any one for not fasting.

    Some women even fast for 3 months or more just eating one meal. They don’t advertise. Rest of the family eats regular food.Recommend

  • x

    Which world do you live in? actually which country do you live in? our college canteen was always open and not just non-muslims, even muslims who were not fasting due to medical conditions or personal choice would eat. out of respect, most would eat in the canteen instead of generally in the campus. but either way, it was never an issue. ditto for my office. Recommend

  • bilal

    a small lunch box is a solution for driver…Just a thought…..and Madam please come out of these small probelms and focus on issues like poverty where people dont get food even three times a day……..No electricity…….poor education quality…….lack of infrastructure…….trains……….you found only one problem which eating or not eating in ramzan…………I think author lives in lala land………..have u ever tried a public transport to get to your office? use power of Pen wisely ……Recommend

  • x

    @Vikram:
    that policeman was wrong. I am a Muslim and a Pakistani and I condemn such behaviour. However, gross generalization. some sections of society are extremist. but generally, my non-muslim and muslim friends would always eat at our canteen during ramazan, same goes for my office now. it was never an issue. so I think the author is making issue out of nothing just to attract greater number of comments. cheap stunt but worked. Recommend

  • Princess lovely

    A simple statement will nullify the entire non-sense. Why do Muslims have to obey laws such as LGBT protection, drunken misconduct and many others in non-Muslim countries?Recommend

  • sherry

    @Sabih Zafar Ullah:
    totally irrelevant Recommend

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    @sherry Exactly but you brought it up first.

    All you fundos, why don’t you understand a simple thing; Eating is a very normal and natural human behavior which is regardless of religion or anything. If your Imaan is so weak that it shatters down at the mere sight of someone eating, that’s your problem, not the person’s who is eating.

    @All those who are crying “Law of the land” BS. Anyone has the right to criticize any law of any land. No law is above criticism.
    It is a biased, illogical, and unfair law. It was made by people and it can be brought down by people (Inshallah)Recommend

  • Clarus

    Every country, every society has its norms and some of which will always be projected by the law of land. Rules such as what you can wear or what you cannot wear , freedom of speech but you cannot say anything about the king, etc almost exists everywhere.

    Why are you making your life so complicated, do you really think things embedded in our culture can change? or you can change the law of land?

    simple and easy way : make a Bologna sandwich for your driver everyday !Recommend

  • asmeer

    its appreciated article and i do agree with the opinion of the writer. being non-Muslim in Pakistan is already sign of discrimination, and personally i have bitter experience in my college and other working places where canteens and edible shop were used to close that if any body will eat before Rozadar he/she will be the cause of his temptation and to temp any rozadar will lead to hell. I must say if any body can not understand that roza is by choice religious action and actually it is exercise to be strengthen our tolerance and patience. Recommend

  • observer

    @Mohammad Ahmad Virk

    Respect our religion and we will respect yours.

    Let us see. You don’t like even others eating during Ramazan and enforce a ban on eating.Fair enough. Now, Hindus are offended by public slaughter of Cows. What are you going to do about it?

    Your comment should read- Respect our religion or else.Recommend

  • Magus

    Pakistan is the guardian of Islam for all of the world’s Muslims. Quietly follow the law or get the hell out if you don’t like their brand of Islam Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Sabih Zafar Ullah:.”All those who are crying “Law of the land” BS. Anyone has the right to criticize any law of any land. No law is above criticism.
    It is a biased, illogical, and unfair law. It was made by people and it can be brought down by people (Inshallah)”

    No one can make laws like Pakistan. A woman reporting rape can be arrested for committing Zina I know many women were arrested before, I am not sure if it still going on. .Did Pakistan make that law requiring a woman to have 4 pious Muslim men as witnesses to prove rape. I did read in News some policticians wanted a lawrequiring 4 pious Muslim men witnesses to actual rape.

    Is it true, one doctor was arrested for blasphemy for trashing a visiting card of a man named Muhammed.Recommend

  • Yumna

    @bilal:
    I believe you could have still got your point across without the unnecessary ellipses and the annoying caps. Try to work on your grammar first before you point a finger at a respectable writer.
    And to answer your point, the minorities should be as important to a country as the majority. Nothing less! Nothing more! Everyone should be treated fair and equal. Period.Recommend

  • YR

    loved the article ! what a bogus law! zia was a lunatic!Recommend

  • Vikram
  • Sarah B. Haider

    I agree. Muslims living in other parts of the world where they are minorities are better off than Pakistanis. They have food easily available to them, they have scantily clothed women in front of them, they have all the things available to them that can entice them to break/corrupt their fast, yet they exercise patience and self-control. This is what fasting is all about!Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    @Sanam: What do u mean by “sharia” or shiite?? We do follow the sharia too. I think you meant to say sunnis.Recommend

  • jai

    I appreciate the thoughts of the author. Any kind of fasting is to strengthen the persons will toward what they believe. If the fast isn’t observed by individual will but is state enforced it is pointless. As a Hindu we have several fasts throughout the year some for will, others to cleanse thoughts and body and some to wish for the well being of loved ones. But we don’t expect others to not eat in front of us while observing the fast. Nor is the fast enforced on Hindus. People do it for their own reasons. Recommend

  • jai

    @Princess lovely:
    LGBT protection is about an individual’s right to life. Are you saying it is your right as a muslim to kill another human being because they are from the LGBT community and LGBT protection laws violate your “right” to kill them? You have a very misplaced sense of rights. Your rights end where the rights of others begin. Recommend

  • HinduKush

    @Knotty:
    Ha Ha Ha … I like thisRecommend

  • Shakeel

    Yes, there must be certain arragnements for the non-muslims in schools, universities and colleges. Also some specific points can be fixed at public places for the minoriities so that they can get their eatables conveniently.

    Pointing hipocricy about TV shows etc, is correct. But how can it be got rid of? Simply through the teachings of Holy Prophet and Quran (Which we don’t want to imlement). All of us are great thinkers in out own and trying to reivent the wheel. Recommend