Bye Bye Ramadhan

Abstaining from food and drink gives the kind of a firsthand experience to the more privileged as to what the less fortunate may have to endure the year around
Bye  Bye Ramadhan
Muslims observe day-long obligatory fast from predawn till dusk and turn more devout during the month of Ramadhan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. [File] Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Ramadhan means practicing fearing Allah, accepting the little things that one has achieved, and preparing for departure from this world to the Hereafter.

By accepting these criteria and by practicing self-discipline, self-control, self-restraint, self-education, and self-evaluation, the faithful carry ample chances to achieve Taqwa and continue with it for the rest of their life.

While fasting, one doesn’t only have to abstain from food and drink, but s/he must also refrain from many other things: backbiting, gossiping, fighting, using foul language, etc. People attempt to be pious and devote themselves to Allah.

It’s an unequivocal realisation that during Ramadhan they’d be able to sweep the dust of their sins and inward corruption that had defiled them during their life.

Masjids fill up to overflowing. The significant spill-over effect is that during prayer times in Ramadhan streets and parks in the close vicinity of masjids are clogged. In his frenzy, the zealot makes use of his calculus.

He’s mad at raking in the wealth of sawabs. He hackles up to fly down and throngs necks to settle in the first few saff(line), preferably immediately behind the imam. During Ramadan, the repertoire of the pulpit singers isn’t that minuscule though.

Voices emanate from speakers, resonating with the melody that emerges as nothing short of ethereal. We hear experts at commanding congregations & delivering high-decibel, manufactured, rote lectures.

Ears hear them but mostly not the heart. People keep speaking, some on the dais, some in the masjids’ niche, and some on social media. People wear their types of religion on their sleeves.

The demography of masjids suddenly changes in Ramadhan. Young and old, toddlers and neonatal, educated and uneducated, businessmen and pathwaris, clerks and babus, accountants and cashiers, thekadars and engineers, bosses and workers, ministers and bureaucrats, all take ownership of their Islam. ‘Know-it-all-experts’ correct you every time you confront them. ‘Sherman-tanks’ run right over you.

‘Megaphones’ talk your ear off. ‘Cry-babies’ chronically complain, and ‘Credit-grabbers’ are out to outsmart everyone. A bevy of the self-appointed nuisances would retire after namaz in a corner to chew over trifles, and end sometimes in squabbles.

While waiting for their turn outside the bathroom to make ablution, zealots indulge in making a noise therewith the talking on their tongue things heavenly or things earthly or things scriptural; things sacred or things profane; things past or things to come; things more essential or things circumstantial.

Imams are largely the low-paid professionals, prone to the ‘revolving-door syndrome’. With local imams gone scarce as hen’s teeth, the ubiquitous nonlocals, like in any other services sector, have since taken over masjids everywhere.

With the audience mostly self-absorbed, unstirred, and deaf to the tirade of the same age-old ‘wa’az-Khani,’ imams are largely pawns in the hands of the Masjid committees. This is because they don’t want to bite the hands that feed them.

Masjid committees that comprise largely the wannabe leaders; khada pench/pithadhar, and retired government officials puff up with pride and arrogance during Ramadhan. Masjid is a vital cornerstone in the building of any Muslim community.

But when the Masjid committees, Imams, and the local Muslim community ensure that the Masjids are always a reflection of “their Islam” or ‘Maslak’, and when it comes to the guys that speak with their mouths high, on behalf of God, they, in fact, do indeed nothing for Him.

As if the month of Ramadhan is gonna be there to the last syllable of recorded time, from Rajab itself, shirkers find it impossible to stop conjuring visions of the mind-boggling hunger/thirst pangs as also the brute curfew that is gonna be imposed on their freak-outs.

And when it finally sets on, almost gone nuts, from the day one, clock-watchers poke quizzically, ‘don’t you feel the heat of fasting?’ Signs of ‘run-down’ appear in the wee hours itself, by afternoon, knocked out to the point of exhaustion, eyes skinned for the messianic Maghreb Azan to be shouted, the brainwashed zombies yell…… ‘We’re ready; drop…… more dead…. than alive.’ They’d rather Ramadhan was postponed till winter and if possible downsized too.

What worries the shirkers the most is that in the dead of the wakey nights of the month when witches are alive, some eccentric insomniacs unceasingly beat the cacophonic drum, shout high-decibel waqti-e-Sahar/azan, religious sermons/adhkar-wa-awradatop their voice from loudspeakers from hundreds of masjids to proclaim that the hapless fellows shall have to part with their dewy-feathered sleep to take untimely Sahariand offer tahjud.

They’d rather observe a fast empty stomach than see their much-loved sleep brutally driven off. After dilly-dallying around the sleepy heads would finally open their eyes to nibble at the Sahari, last-minute before the Muezzin shouts azaan to announce the expiry of the Saharitime.

It’s not however many jiffs before these guys are found again sleeping like a log. More often than not they offer fajr namaz only after the sunrise.

Abstaining from food and drink gives the kind of a firsthand experience to the more privileged as to what the less fortunate may have to endure the year around.

It acts as a spur to donate more to charity and to give out of their wealth to those who couldn’t afford the same luxuries that they did. Imbued with the spirit of charity, people donate lavishly.

For the poor and wretched Ramadhan brings Allah’s bounteous blessings, abundant supplies of eatables, clothing, and money. For the professional beggars, swindlers, and charlatans, however, Ramadhan is a ‘nabbatreth’, the windfall.

In the name of Zakat, sadqa, and khairat (charity) they’d rake in heaps by employing every possible method of trickery and sleight of hand to cajole donors into parting with khairat-Zakat.

Religious zealots, be praised for serving Islam and keeping masjids filled up with the faithful. They’d shout Azaan to invite the faithful to attend the masjid.

They do serve Islam in letter up to the level of namaz; but they never do it for instituting morality into the devotees…..their version of Islam is to read physical namaz, wear trousers high up the ankles, ensure you put on the right foot and left foot while out; use right hand ….never bothered that people speak the truth, deliver Haqooq-ul-ibaad, etc.

The upshot: the month of Ramadhan is gone, and so are the piety and religiosity gone. The excitement is in fact on the wane when Ramadhan enters into the last ashra. As they’re done with Shab-e-Qadr, zealots are found busy with Eid preparation /shopping.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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