Wednesday January 23, 2019

The holy month of Ramadan: Religious beliefs in a commercialized world

0
//

By Rukma Singh

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.

Welcome Ramadhan.jpg
A crescent moon can be seen over palm trees at sunset in Manama, Bahrain, marking the beginning of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

During Ramadan, observers are expected to abstain from food, drink, and other pleasures from dawn to dusk. Leaving these activities out from the daily routine is intended to help the mind concentrate on prayer, spirituality, charity, and to purify the body and mind. Muslims are also expected to not indulge in negative activities such as gossiping and cursing. Some reports have also claimed that crime rates decrease during Ramadan, with a heavy decrease in the number of murders.

Exceptions

Fasting during Ramadan is believed to have been decided keeping in mind all kinds of social, physical as well as political factors. One isn’t forced to fast. Pregnant women, people who are mentally or physically ill, and sometimes women who are breastfeeding are specially excused from fasting because of their health constraints and nutritional requirements. Even children aren’t obliged to fast till the time they hit puberty.

Impact on daily life 

Ramadan in Egypt

In countries where Muslims are the majority, Ramadan has a drastic impact on daily life. Egypt pushes the clocks back an hour during the holy month so that the fast feels like it is ending earlier and the evenings are lengthened. Work days are made shorter during the month to accommodate the additional time spent in prayer and in enjoying festive meals to end the daily fast.

Economic consequences

Ramadan celebration in Mecca

If  bankers and economists in Muslim countries are to be believed, Ramadan almost always ushers in a month-long period of inflation as people drastically increase the amount of money spent on clothing and food. The prices of certain staples go up dramatically – according to a former Monitor correspondent in Cairo, during Ramadan a cup of tea can cost six times its normal price.

However, economic productivity also declines because of the shorter working hours and the general weakness among those abstaining from food and water all day.

Commercialism

Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan


In this highly profit driven world, no activity can be unlinked from the concept of money making. Like all celebrations and holidays, Ramadan has become largely commercialized around the world with waste and excess expenditures.

Advertisements skyrocket during the month, lavish buffets are offered and well spent on, and hotels in Mecca charge extraordinarily high prices to the pilgrims that fly to the holy city.  City dumps and hospitals are stretched to capacity because of the surge in food waste and gluttony.

At the end of Ramadan comes Eid ul Fitr, the celebration of which begins as soon as the new moon is sighted in the sky. Eid is an important festival for the Muslims. Amidst attending processions and exchanging gifts, Muslims must also contribute to a charity so that the poor may also celebrate the breaking of the fast.

Eid ul Fitr is also considered a time of reverence. Muslims praise Allah for helping them get through the month and ask for forgiveness for the sins they’ve committed.

 

Next Story

Second Group Of Rohingya Muslims Get Deported By India

A United Nations report published in August accused the Myanmar military of committing mass killings and rapes with "genocidal intent" in 2017.

0
Rohingya, india
Rohingya women and children are seen at a temporary shelter in the Kalindi Kunj area of New Delhi, India, April 15, 2018. VOA

India deported a second small group of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar Thursday as part of what it said was an ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants.

A police official in India’s northeastern Assam state, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, said a family of five Rohingya was handed over to Myanmar authorities at a border crossing in Manipur state. A group of seven Rohingya was the first to be deported in October.

Rohingya, India, myanmar
A man from the Rohingya community fills out an identification form provided by local police inside his shop at a camp in New Delhi. VOA

India’s Hindu nationalist government considers some Rohingya a security risk and has ordered tens of thousands of those who live in small settlements to be repatriated.

A brutal Myanmar military campaign has forced some 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017. About 40,000 other Rohingya have taken refuge in India.

Also Read: Rohingya Shot in Rakhine Camp By Myanmar Police Raises United Nation’s Concern

A United Nations report published in August accused the Myanmar military of committing mass killings and rapes with “genocidal intent” in 2017.

Myanmar has denied the accusations, maintaining the military responded to Muslim militant attacks on security positions. (VOA)