Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, January 17th, 2019

The Social Aspects of Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is going to start and the Muslims around the world will be observing fast. Practice of fasting in month of Ramadan is basically abstaining from any sort of food or drinks from the ‘Morning Azan’ to the other one in the evening. Although most of the people consider fasting as a way of gaining virtue and guaranteeing better record to be able to secure a better place in the world hereafter, at the same time, it has certain social implications.
Fasting is not only abstaining food and water for the entire day; it enables its observers to bring about positive changes in their social life. The most important teachings of Ramadan is tolerance. Tolerance is not only positive in an individual’s life but also for his social deeds. It supports in maintaining improved social contacts and, simultaneously, revitalizing social relations. Possessing tolerance is the most desirable attribute to have as it supports build the society, which largely depends on collaboration and trust. Ill-advisedly, today the followers of religion are seen as the most intolerant people around the world. However, Islam has always stressed on the quality of tolerance.
Tolerance towards others is vital as today's world is turning to be more multicultural. Muslims are in different parts of the world and there are many Muslim countries that have different religious groups residing in them; thus, Muslims need to show great tolerance and respect for them and fasting is one of the ways of practicing tolerance. Staying devoid of food and water throughout the day and keeping oneself normal and agreeable in unison requires a great deal of tolerance. Additionally, it is one of the necessities in fasting that a person must not get too much coarse in his social dealings and must never turn bad tempered. Turning angry and abusive easily are the reasons that spoils a person's fast and are not allowed at all.
In a similar fashion, the attribute of self-control can also be learned through fasting, and that can play a significant role in bringing positive changes within a society. The people who are able to control themselves are able to change the society, while fasting is one of the ways of experiencing self-control. As there are certain things that a person has to abstain from during the month of Ramadan, this teaches him to control his self. This self-control can afterwards be used in changing the society for better.
It can be observed easily within our society that mostly people go with the tide of the time and changes in the society. They go wherever the social changes take them and they do not have any control over themselves and the society. They seem like puppets that have their strings in the hand of time and the society. However, this is not the concept of the responsible being in Islam. Islam wants a Muslim to be responsible and socially active. If he is not able to understand and control himself and the society, he is not the best of the creatures and does not deserve to justify his own existence.
Realizing the vices and evils in the society and abstaining himself from them is the first step that a person can take in the way to virtue and betterment of society. Being in fast, people are not allowed to be part of the vices and crimes in the society and must play a positive and assertive role to shun those vices and crimes, otherwise he does not deserve to observe fast.
Another important social aspect of Ramadan is to feel the hunger and realize that there are many people who have to remain hungry in our society not just for one month but for the entire year or may be their entire lives. Therefore, fasting must not only make them realize this fact but also take steps to reduce their sufferings.
Unfortunately, the above said qualities are not seen frequently during the month of Ramadan. It can be observed in Muslim societies during the month of Ramadan that people are less tolerant in their social interactions. They get angry on pity matters and even become abusive on minor incidents. They seem to lack self-control and do not learn what fasting has to teach them. They are not able to abstain from the evil and vices and in fact become a part of them and strengthen them.
A simple example of trying to earn extra profit from the business dealings can be cited in this regard. The businessmen and shopkeeper, though observe fast, are not able to avoid the attempts of earning more and more money in every possible way. They increase in the prices of the items they sell without taking into consideration the regulations of the state law or the negative impacts this increase may have on the lives of other people, especially those who suffer from destitution.
In addition, during the month of Ramadan, instead of feeling that the class disparity is negative and evil, it is further strengthened. The poor can hardly get food to break their eternal fast, while the rich have different types of dishes on their tables while breaking their fast.
In short, fasting is not just to earn virtues; it has certain social aspects as well, which should be learned through the process of fasting. If it is not able to make its observer an active and responsible member of society, there is no need of keeping oneself hungry and thirsty the whole day.