We are already halfway through the holy month of fasting, which this year arrived in the peak of summer. This is a time to test our patience and practice the true spirit of Ramazan. If we plan in advance, we can enjoy this month’s blessings to the fullest.
Last Ramazan I was on my way to work at around 2pm and stopped to buy a few things at a supermarket in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighbourhood of Karachi. The place was very busy, but what I witnessed there left me extremely disturbed.
“Do not argue with me. I am fasting and my head is pounding,” a salesman told his colleague in a shrill tone. His words left me stunned. I had gone to the first floor of the supermarket to buy medicines and was waiting to pay, but the staff was busy shouting at each other over a minor invoice issue. I asked them to serve me, but they didn’t listen. Frustrated, I went downstairs and noticed some young members of the staff yelling at each other. “Mera roza hai, dimagh na kharab karo,” said one of them. Everyone was obviously extremely grumpy. I never knew fasting could make people behave this way.
I moved on and was standing in the queue at the till. A customer came and put his basket before mine since he wanted to be served first even though it was my turn. “Roza hai bhai,” he said. I got really annoyed, but couldn’t say a word. I headed out, but it was hard for me to get my mind off the things I had observed in the previous 30 minutes. I wondered why we don’t learn to control our anger, especially during Ramazan. Is fasting not all about patience and controlling one’s temper?
Traditionally, employers relax working hours of their employees during Ramazan. In many Muslim countries, including Pakistan, working hours are reduced in most public and private companies. Also, those who find it difficult to work while fasting have the option to save their annual leaves and make use of them during the holy month. In the Middle East, people fast in 50 degree Celsius heat, where even the nights are more uncomfortable than they are in Karachi, as well as in many other parts of the country. Then why do we grumble and show unnecessary anger just because we are deprived of food? We really need to learn to appreciate the true spirit of Ramazan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.