Ramadan in the Muslim world is a holy month, an important religious observance, a time for family, for charity, etc.
Like other important religious traditions, however, it also carries its share of negative baggage. In the UAE that includes over-indulgence in eating and feasting--that is after the sun sets. It also seems to usher in a time for people to excuse themselves from working hard and taking care of life's other responsibilities. Students need not study, workers need not show up on time or do much of anything once in, or even stick around till closing time. Ironic, isn't it, that a time meant for personal sacrifice to strengthen the character becomes a time for being slothful and pampering oneself.
The same thing happens in Christian societies with Christmas. It is a time that should be characterized by giving and charity, but instead becomes a time when businesses expect to cash in big time and the minds of both children and adults become obsessed with what they are going to get. More money is lavished and wasted during Christmas time than any other time of year, all in honor of course of the humble birth of a shepherd child who presumably had hardly a roof over his head.
If I knew more about Hindu or other religious traditions I suspect I could point out the same contradictions. The more such traditions are promoted and hyped the more things tend to go wrong with them. Ramadan in the UAE is held up as a holy grail that all must take notice of, but such sanctity, I believe, opens up the observance to more abuse. The public, both the religious and non-religious, would probably be better served if there weren't Ramadan timings, Ramadan events and Ramadan sales, promotions, etc.
As one who is under no obligation to participate in the observance of Ramadan, I am not one to say how it should or should not be honored. Nonetheless, I see the negativity associated with it and feel that this is partly due to the over emphasis placed on its observance. Were it to be less hyped and less promoted, it might end up being a more meaningful and beneficial opportunity for individuals and society at large.
Open a printable copy, in a new window.
This post comes after a long lapse. The Word A Day posts were perhaps becoming too crafted and thought-out to sustain. I hope readers will from this point on be able to bear with observations and comments that are perhaps a little more brash, if only for the sake of immediacy.
Technorati Tags: Ramadan, Ramadan in the UAE