The spirit of Ramazan

Published: August 1, 2011
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Ramazan has a unique place in the Muslim faith and that is to educate society on the spirit of coexistence and tolerance. Fasting means not only abstaining from all eating and drinking from dawn to dusk or not getting involved in activities disapproved by one’s faith.

Rather, it is a kind of training to lead lives in such a way that we may become better human beings. It is also training us to learn more about patience, humility and spirituality.

Muslims commemorate Ramazan as one of the important pillars of Islam because they believe that it was in this month that the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Followers of Moses (PBUH), or Jesus (PBUH) or Muhammad (PBUH) would agree that all the Prophets of God remained tolerant even in the worst of circumstances, even when they had reasons to react and reciprocate the suffering that they were subjected to as they went about spreading God’s message.

This should be the true essence of fasting. But in our increasingly intolerant society where the spirit of tolerance has been fading away, during this month especially, it seems to be undergoing a sharp decline. For many of us, fasting seems to have become more of a ritual.

After all, it is in this month that we see people becoming angry, impatient and quarrelling with one another over the smallest of matters. The frenzy, so to speak, begins the moment our fasting brothers hit the roads to return home after the end of work. Anyone who happens to be heading home at around this time would know what can happen — all in the space of a couple of minutes, or less — at, say, a traffic junction with everyone in a mad rush to reach home. Clearly, these people have not imbibed the spirit of patience, temperance and self-control that the holy month teaches the faithful.

With tolerance this world could become a place to live happily but to learn the art of being tolerant we have to observe fasting in the true sense of the word. That is perhaps the one lesson we can all try and learn from this month.


Irfan Ghauri

Irfan Ghauri

A correspondent for The Express Tribune in Islamabad.

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