Ramzan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. It is a month that tests the resilience and patience of Muslims across the globe. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for the entire month ending it with the ever-joyous occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. There are several fundamentals of humanity and philanthropy that are imperative features of this month. Some of these include being more charitable with a daily demonstration of patience and kindness. This is not to say that such fundamentals shouldn’t be a praxis in life generally. But Ramzan with its emphasis on spirituality and humanity is certainly an extra special month for Muslims worldwide.
However, in Pakistan, Ramzan has a tendency to be ridiculed by several people, both in person and in public. We jot a few things down for you to look out for:
1. Arabic lingo
For some reason, we’ve often noticed an almost overnight change in people when it comes to pronouncing certain words. While steering a normal conversation we cannot help but notice an excessive use of intonation on Arabic words. Suddenly the desi pronunciation of Ramzan becomes Ramadhan, almost as if pronouncing it so has a more profound core meaning to it – one we have apparently missed up until now. Every conversation must end or begin with a citizen quoting a Sunnah – and not a sunnat. We don’t mean to poke fun, but if this Arabic cadence is truly you, why not make it a permanent thing and not a periodic one?
2. The 360-degree shift in media representation
This particular notion has become the sound of a broken record. Each year we see a bunch of actors and actresses turn their lives around. They shift from YOLO and FTW ideologies to being religious scholars with all the information required to sustain themselves through the month. We don’t have any personal agendas but we do think it is quite questionable. Have we turned the sacred month into a source of monetary gain? Are we really willing to stoop that low? Actors and actresses with embroiled in controversy year out suddenly become the ambassadors of Islam. That too, a very glamorous version of it.
3. Eating in public
This is beyond us. We understand the concept of respecting a religion and avoiding eating in public spaces but have we learnt nothing from what lack of intolerance can do to a nation? Laborers who spend tireless hours stacking bricks in the scorching heat may not fast and may require a glass of water every now and then. However, authorities have declared the right to jail anyone caught eating in this month. Never mind if one is diabetic, old, a religious minority, or unable to fast for whatever reason – we as a nation will hold the right to punish them because let’s face it, isn’t that was Ramazan teaches us? (sense the sarcasm).
4. Aamir Liaqat – if mimicry had a face
Can we please leave this point blank? The name itself carries such weight, and not in a good way. We often wonder who in their right mind even allows this man to have his own show for an entire month. If he isn’t parading and poking fun at local stars like Taher Shah, he is stuffing mangoes into their mouths in the most repulsive manner. If he isn’t forcing them to chug jugs of milk, he is putting kids up for auction. We are all for philanthropy and being the spokesperson of love, but how is it okay to “give away kids” to a bunch of random people in the crowd in light of Ramzan? How?
5. The game shows
Every game show to have ever aired during Ramzan is the same. It follows the same pattern with its nonsensical activities that require people to finish a cake without using their hands. If it is not that then they carry eggs on a spoon across the marble floor. What for? To win a bike – on national television. Need we say more?
6. Ramzan anthems
In recent years this has become something of a trend. Every television channel seems to be on a constant high of competition to ensure they get the best vocalist to produce the most played Ramzan anthem of the year. Forget soulfulness, the message is almost lost when it all boils down to how well and how unique the video produced by each channel was. Henceforth, this makes the actual purpose of these anthems completely redundant.
7. Excessive iftar parties
This has a lot to do with us as a nation and maybe it isn’t a bad thing. However, when iftar parties become an ostentatious display of food no one is going to be able to consume, it is ridiculous. It is also counterproductive to Ramadan itself. In no way does it show moderation and is just a flamboyant display of food, most of which is bound to go to waste later.
8. Everyone is a cooking expert
If you haven’t noticed this yet then maybe you need to scroll through some television shows an hour or so before iftar. Every actor and host suddenly becomes a cooking expert with several tricks up their sleeve on how to cook the best biryani. Are television shows really that desperate to cash in their Ramzan telecasts?
9. Why must everything shut down?
As far as our understanding goes, Ramzan in no way means stopping life, staying asleep all day, and only waking up an hour before iftar. The whole point is to demonstrate patience and resilience while fasting. Therefore, the whole concept of shutting places down before Ramzan starts makes little sense to us.
By no means do we intend to humiliate or question anyone’s faith. However, we do believe that Ramzan should be practiced in its authentic and quintessential nature. It should in no way indicate any sort of hypocrisy that tends to raise questions. More so, it should also not be seen as a chance to superficially turn things around just for a decent pay raise and work throughout the month. Religion is as personal as it gets and deriding it in no way demonstrates or illustrates its true nature.