You won’t die of hunger if KFC is closed in Ramazan!

Published: August 15, 2012
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If somebody is not fasting during the whole month of Ramazan, it only makes sense for him or her to have his lunch at home or have it prepared at home for them to take around with them. PHOTO: REUTERS

I follow The Express Tribune blogs regularly and a few days ago, I found an astonishing story relating to a young woman’s driver who faced great difficulty in finding food to eat in Ramazan. The writer accused the Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance for this conundrum and claimed that minorities have to ‘suffer’ in this Holy month because of the ‘lack of availability of food’ during the day.

The story was drafted in such an emotional manner that as a reader, I thought that the driver in question was going to die of hunger! The situation was depicted to be as severe as searching for water in a desert where the writer’s driver travelled from the North pole to the South pole to get something to eat. Following the typical storyline of blogs posted by secular extremists, the writer questioned the Ehteram-e-Ramazan Ordinance and made a lot of hue and cry over a complete non-issue.

However, the reality is quite the opposite.

I fell ill last Ramazan and I didn’t fast for a couple of days. Please read the next sentence very carefully;

I did not not die of hunger.

Like any man of any common sense, I ate at home and did not venture to find a restaurant where I could satiate my appetite while others were fasting around me. All the shops were open; my brother bought chicken from the market, my mom cooked it for me, and I ate it.

I am not sure why secular extremists are so intolerant towards courtesy about Islamic values in our society. If somebody is not fasting for whatever reason, he has all the options available in the market to eat whatever he likes. I agree that food chains and restaurants are not open but what difference does this make? Even in Dubai, the working hours are slightly altered during Ramazan, and all restaurants and coffee shops remain closed from dawn to sunset. Oh, and this city happens to be the hub of tourists of every creed, race and religion, just in case you didn’t know!

Even for just the argument’s sake, out of three meals per day, how many meals does an average Pakistani buy from these food chains and restaurants during Ramazan hours anyway? It would either be breakfast or lunch. Have we become so intolerant as a whole that we can not even bear the closure of food outlets for a couple of hours a day?

If somebody is not fasting during the whole month of Ramazan, it only makes sense for him or her to have his lunch at home or have it prepared at home for them to take around with them. How difficult is this?

To the same blogger who made a hue and cry about her driver not being able to find any food; why wasn’t he fed at home? Alternatively, why didn’t he pack a lunch from home?

Is the closure of restaurants really such a huge problem or is this, yet again, another attempt by secular extremists to malign each and everything that has anything to do with Islam in Pakistan? Even if someone is unable to cook, he can pick up ready-to-eat meals (try Fresh Mate or Hennys – they are delicious) or buy bread from any bakery to fill his/her empty stomach.

Just think about it logically; why shouldn’t the non-fasting respect the huge majority who is fasting?

Let me give you an example; if somebody dies in my neighbourhood, should I dance in my home while playing loud music or should I try to be humble and modest even if the deceased is not my kin? Shouldn’t I show courtesy to the family of deceased and try to be helpful to them while they are going through this tragedy? Of course, I should; and I should do so out of courtesy to them, although I am not bound by any law to act that way.

I believe that the same logic applies to fasting, if I am not fasting for some reason, I will try not to eat in front of those who are fasting just out of ‘courtesy’ towards them.

I have no second thoughts in claiming that secular extremists are far more intolerant, biased and narrow-minded in their approach than their right wing counterparts. Interestingly, what they preach is what they lack i.e. tolerance. They fail to understand our social fabric and their growing frustration is robbing them of their common sense. They are searching for anything that relates to Islam in the society and they are on a smear campaign. Blogs, columns, speeches, social media, you name it and there is something negative written about Islamic values. Some of them are so extreme that they even go on to mock some highly respectable values of Islam.

Believe me, if you are in Pakistan, and you are not fasting for one reason or another, you will not die of hunger.

Do you think people who are not fasting should be allowed to eat in front of those who are?

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Abdullah Ansari

Abdullah Ansari

An electrical engineer by profession, Abdullah works in the oil and gas industry. His interests include international relations, global politics and debating. He tweets @ChangingTrendz (twitter.com/ChangingTrendz)

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