As we are into the blessed month of fasting – Ramadhan – it is time to connect to the creator, and his creation. This year’s month of fasting has come at a time when the human world is subdued by a pandemic. The life has come to a grinding halt, and everything around has fallen silent. Hence we are observing this month in a very different atmosphere. But this is not all about the month this time. The most significant thing that marks this year’s fasting is that it demands from us a generous attitude towards the poor and needy. Although it is a practice in this month that Muslims give their yearly due – Zakah – to poor and needy. It is also customary that bedside the obligatory alms-giving, which a fixed portion of earnings and savings, there are people who spend over and above what is due. That is what we actually call charity – Sadaqah. In no case a Muslim can withhold his Zakah. It is mandatory, and as a matter of practice this is paid in the month of fasting. But besides this the voluntary donations are something that speak of the spirit of generosity and compassion towards fellow humans.
This year the demand, and an ethical obligation, is more than what it used to be in normal times. We all know what this pandemic has done to our economy. Leave aside the figures dished out by international and national institutions about the status of national and global economy. That is something we ask the institutions to take care of. And in this too, the time has come to throw light on the exploitative practices and unfair systems. For us, at an individual or local level, it is important to cast a look around and see how a common person has suffered. There are families who are desperately in need of the basics of life. They need food to sustain their bodies, clothes to cover their bodies, and medicine to save their bodies from pain. A bare minimum that we can do is to arrange these basics for those who have lost their means of earning in this lockdown. And while we arrange these things for them we are not doing any favour to them. We are only performing our duty, and this needs to be done in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone’s self esteem.