The holy and much awaited month of Ramadan is finally upon us, with 17th May being the first day of Ramadan. Muslim’s all over the country are observing their fasts with enthusiasm, redemption is being sought out, and the gates of heaven are open to all those willing to seek them out.
The issue, however, is in the law imposed by the government, wherein eating, drinking, or smoking in public are forbidden, because it is quite clear that there aren’t any other religious groups in Pakistan who do not fast, nor is there any freedom to practice religion whichever way one chooses, whereas the smokers just want to be left to their devices.
Due to the Ehtaram – e – Ramadan Ordinance, eating or drinking in public is illegal and anyone found in violation of the law will be fined. The fine went from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5,000 for individuals, from Rs. 500 to Rs. 25,000 for restaurants and from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 500,000 for cinemas and TV channels. Cinemas are also required to remain closed during fasting hours. Why are we still following the archaic and outdated laws introduced during the rule of the glorious General Zia? Shouldn’t all laws made under the martial law be struck off?
Perhaps, after the enforcement of such harsh laws upon the people, the Pakistani government should make some crucial changes as well: the eradication of the white section in the flag of Pakistan. If the law cannot respect non-Muslim citizens, then there is no place for their representation on the country’s flags. Besides this, there are several other reasons why this law shouldn’t be enforced.
Islam clearly states that the sick, the weak, and the elderly may choose not to fast. People with heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure issues, or an injury will obviously be eating because they cannot risk their lives to fast and will be affected by this law.
The elderly or the children cannot be expected to fast during Ramadan either, but does the law provide any concession for them?
Should we even be addressing the women? The ones who menstruate or are pregnant, or are lactating mothers? Women have always been expected to hide behind the walls of their home, so it comes as no surprise that they too have been disregarded.
In 2015, a heat wave took the lives of over 1,250 people, which serves as a viable reason to not fast. The terrible heat led to dehydration which was the largest cause of death, yet the government still hasn’t let up on state policies that promote religious fanaticism.
Lastly, maybe someone just doesn’t want to fast, period.
The below table shows how we, the so called Muslims, spend our whole year:
|Month of Ramadan||11 Other Months|
|Pray all 5 Salaah’s (Namaz) on time.||Praying occasional is fine. Try not to miss Juma prayer. Rest is just fine!|
|Study and learn Islamic knowledge.||Go to school, college, office and work hard. Islam has nothing to do with professional lives!|
|Recite and learn the Holy Quran.||No time for Holy Quran. Newspapers, TV and other stuff is more important!|
|Do lots of Zikar.||Work, work and work. Will do all the Zikar in Ramadan!|
|Make lots of Duaa.||Only convert to Allah SWT when needed. Extra Duaas are for Ramadan!|
|Give charity and help the poor.||It’s my money and i own it. I will not share it with anyone! Poor are poor because they chose to be!|
|No eating or drinking while fasting.||Eat everything. Don’t even think if there might be a person who hasn’t eaten for days!|
|Lower your gaze.||Thoroughly scan every girl passing by!|
|No arguing or fighting and avoid sins.||Tell lies, bribe, argue, fight and do as many sins as you can!|
|No smoking and try quitting for good.||Smoke, drink, abuse drugs and don’t miss any weekend party!|
|Don’t waste time on useless activities.||Newspapers, TV, game … entertainment is a must for you only live once!|
So, the next time you judge someone based on their “fasting status,” keep in mind that Allah SWT does not want you to forego food at His expense. There are certain virtues that are expected to be upheld during Ramadan, and shaming people for refraining from fasting is not one of them. Mind your own business because, in the end, your grave is your own.