Rozas and results

Even if you are not religious, you still mark Ramazan.Come exam time, hardcore atheists drop down to offer prayers.

Meiryum Ali August 10, 2011
The Cambridge International Examination results will be released this week - have you prayed for success?

There are two very important things that you notice in Ramazan that actually have very little to do with the holy month itself.

One: making fun of that kid who sacrificed a goat just before his O-Levels results wasn’t a very good idea, considering that you’re contemplating doing exactly the same thing before this Thursday (Cambridge International Examinations announces its results on Aug 11).

Two: going through a list of prospective college tuition fees suddenly makes you wish that your father was the emir of some petrodollar state, because otherwise there’s really not much hope. Unless, of course, you sacrifice another goat.

For practising Muslims, religion clocks in five times day, every single day. If you’re not quite religious, you’ll still at least make Ramazan. And even if you’re the what-is-religion-we’re-all-one-under-the-sun type, your parents will still drag you off to meet a hundred and one relatives every Eid. Muslim parents are pretty forceful, and timed, that way. But upsetting this system is the whole new bracket of 14 to 18-year-olds. There’s probably only one day in the entire calendar when the words ‘religion’, ‘school’ and ‘students’ suddenly collide - and it just happens to be rolling around this August 11.

Suddenly, everyone’s fasting. Suddenly, everyone’s praying, extra rakaats included. Hard core atheists drop down to offer Taraweeh prayers. Kaalay dhaagay, talismans with special inscriptions, and even tasbeehs, all crop up as a weird form of Islamic bling. Umrahs are conducted. Pirs are consulted. We’ve seen it all.

“You only remember God in times of worry, never in times of plenty,” quipped my Islamiat teacher, wagging her finger at us. But that was back in 4th grade, and who cared if you failed a quiz, as long as they didn’t ban the playground? But then we grew up, and the pressure of an over competitive system got to us. I am now armed with information such as:

Did you know there is a time right after Iftari when all your prayers are heard (insert: including the ones about your exams?)

Or was it just before Fajr?

Or maybe during an Azaan?

But I heard it was after Asr?

Are you sure it’s not when Venus and Neptune align?

People say the weirdest things.

Of course, there are those who truly believe in the spirit of Ramazan. This month there will be multiple trips to those restaurants that feed the poor, for donations or for simply offering yourself as an extra helping hand. There will be a surge in the number of people volunteering in charity organisations and NGOs. Every fundraiser and hastily put-up bake sale will raise more money than usual. There will be multiple Iftar plans, where we’ll shame the one guy who isn’t fasting. The important thing to remember is that this Ramazan will be spiritual, and this Ramazan will be fun.

But only after the 11th. Till then, who knows how Ramazan will be hijacked by overly nervous students?

You’ll have to answer that yourselves - excuse me, while I go find myself a goat.
Meiryum Ali A freshman at an ivy league school who writes a weekly national column in The Express Tribune called "Khayaban-e-Nowhere".
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Junaid | 12 years ago | Reply Truth? Every word of it! A friend of mine went for Umrah after those exams and guess what, Straight A*s! Oh! and my Islamiyat teacher told me that Allah doesn't mind it that you ask for ... only in the hour of need and not in the hour of 'plenty' as you call it.
A.S | 12 years ago | Reply Hahahaha. I had an iftari and made sure it was before the eleventh.
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