All that Ramazan teaches us


In all divine religions, God has laid down for man a roadmap of principles, rules and obligations for a peaceful and prosperous life in the world and hereafter. Whatever we have been ordered to follow or abstain from, has a clear purpose for the wellbeing of humanity. Ramazan is a month of not only spiritual blessings but also divine wisdom of teaching the believers to learn the science of life. Literally it aims at abstaining or refraining from not only consuming anything but also from everything that Allah has forbidden. Ramazan is not only an opportunity for mending our ways in our personal lives, but it also enlightens our path towards reforming society and state.
Unfortunately, with the passage of time and increasing lust for materialistic lifestyle, the purpose of Ramadan as a tool for reformation through moral and value-based education of society has reduced to a greater deal due to the ceremonial practices of fasting throughout the Muslim World. Muslims nowadays seem to be unable to decipher the true spirit of this month. What a pity that a universal religion whose followers used to grow up as healthy and peaceful minds are fast becoming morally corrupt.
It is such an irony that things such as depression and suicide which were almost irrelevant terms in our society have witnessed an unprecedented surge in recent decades. According to a 2019 report of on the national English dailies, “People between15 to 35 end their lives in Pakistan every day.” This means one person died every hour due to suicides. It should also be noted that suicide related deaths are reported in much less number in Pakistan. Most of the suicides are due to depression and anxiety.
According to a 2007 report of ‘Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association’, almost 34% of Pakistani population suffered from common mental disorders and depression was implicated in more than 90% of suicides. This number potentially multiplied since then. It is a matter of fact that this is now quite visible from the behavior of young girls and boys that a greater portion of our youth suffers from depression.
The question is why depression and suicides have increased since last few decades? Apart from poverty and unemployment, a major reason of depression seems to be due to confusion and identity crisis in young generation. The more we are becoming materialistic in our approach towards life, the more we are prone to become less spiritual in nature. This increasing inclination towards materialism blurs our ability to see life beyond material things.
Our young generation seems to be confused to identify themselves with the values and moral standards of our religion. They seem to be less tolerant towards the challenges of life and less hopeful. Disappointment and frustration are becoming dominant characters which are well reflected in their abusive tone and aggressive body language. Materialism has to a greater deal destroyed our patterns of life and values. Researchers define materialism as “the value system that is preoccupied with possessions and the social image they project”. Indeed, there seems to be a much stronger correlation between materialism and a lack of empathy and engagement with others as well as unhappiness.
We need to reassert our value system and incorporate such values as tolerance, hope, self-sacrifice, self-control, the spirit of sharing, maintaining discipline, community service and above all character building. The sacred month of Ramazan does exactly the same. Fasting in its true spirit filters all bad habits and inculcates the good virtues. When we fast and are hungry from dawn till dusk, we know exactly how it feels being without food and water. When we eat together after breaking our fast, we learn that the real happiness comes through sharing of things and not through loot and plunder. This little experience of deprivation from worldly pleasures teaches us the complete science of truth about our life and the reality of it in the whole mechanism of this universe.
Our pride of ‘I’ which revolved our own selves and only knew self-service totally shatters into pieces and we learn out the phenomenon of living as ‘We’. Our eyes open up and we start to see the real picture of life; people around struggling to cover up their bodies in scorching heat when we dress to meet our fashion standards, we witness those wretched souls searching for food in dust bins when we leave some on table reflecting how well-off we are, we see people walk bare feet in freezing cold when we have variety of shoes from different companies showing our delicate choice of brands. The Ramazan has a lot to offer us to become good human beings.
When we refrain from doing things that Almighty Allah has forbidden and learn the art of self-control then we realize that the society becomes a much better place to live. Peace is the ultimate result of a society which shares this spirit of self-sacrifice. Ramazan is no doubt a course of a month to educate people regarding the manners of a balanced life.