Friday, September 11, 2009

Ramadan - Time For Reflection

If you happen to passby or live in a muslim country you will notice that this month is a special month for muslims of the world when majority if not all fast from sunrise till sunset and have special prayers during the days. The last 10 days are specially important because the prayers in the night on these days is more than prayers for a 1000 nights.

Not eating is a way of controlling your urges whatever they maybe, physical, mental etc and a lesson on being humble and creating ability to compose oneself. To help its people government’s of most countries do not allow food to be served openly till the sunset.

I remember my time in Karachi during Ramadan… it was always special and a lot of things that I remember while may not be as per the spirit of the month but still remain quite distinctly related to the time. Muslims are asked to control their anger and it is the last thing they are able to control… from my father losing his temper at the end of the month to anyone of the road and bus you can be amused by the shear number of fights that take place. I specially remember one incident when I was travelling to work in a crowded bus (which is not a good experience in anytime of the year) and someone addicted to Paan could smell a person holding paan in his mouth….. I guess our senses do awaken in time of hunger… the person with the paan was obviously not fasting and the other person on the smell of it either got jealous or was low on energy picked a fight. While standing I wondered since that guy was not overtly eating paan and had it securely hidden in his mouth with no chewing why would this guy be penalized by us? Isn’t it all about controlling your urges? Other than this the one thing different is the cuisine. All countries have developed a different set of cuisine for breaking the fast as it is a festive occasion and what is most amazing is that probably only time of the year we tend to have some balance in the meal though I would avoid the use of oil but then most of the muslim cuisine are cooked in liberal oil content. We have a lot of vegetables and fruits and during this time to a certain extent I have noticed meat intake declines. This must have some historical significance when our forefathers taught us what is right meal and we over the years just played havoc with it.

There is a lot of critical talk about muslim way of slaughtering the animal… everyone has come up with their own logic and my own logic which I feel comfortable with is something I don’t find a lot of people being comfortable with. To me the reason for slaughtering the animal are two, it is an extremely painful experience so a person doing this will avoid repeating it over and over and then there is obviously the health aspect to it. To muslims we can only eat food that has been slaughtered in the name of Allah and preferably done by the persons own hand in front of his eyes. We have started flouting this rule by employing a person able to say Allah Ho Akbar and slaughter thousands in a day. I guess this is how our cuisine evolved also. We had less meat and more grains and vegetables in it which kept us healthy. German’s have their beerfest and unfortunate muslims have their meatfest and any festive occasion is gross show of various meat dishes piled against each other with vegetable hardly in sight as if they have just been released from prison where no meat was served. Now we are in the wild rush to copy our fair skinned brothers of the west in everything while they are doing what we did… they say eat vegetables… lentils are now health food, meat content is reducing we on the other hand are now exceeding average meat intake of Chenghez Khan’s army.

We are in the last 10 days of Ramadan and it might be a good time for us to reflect back and see how we actually left the ideals of being fair to everyone from the mother earth to every living thing on this planet and how we can return and help bring sanity to this ravaged 3rd rock from the sun. ...

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