By Myra Ahmed
Ramadan is a month in which people fast from sunrise to sunset solely for the sake of God. It is a month celebrated by Muslims each year and a huge number of Pakistanis observe the daylight fasting. The country, like all other nations around the globe, has a distinct way of celebrating the Holy Month of Ramadan and we, at Land of the Pure, have decided to dedicate and entire series of articles to this celebration. Today, we discuss the aura that surrounds Ramadan and the way in which people shape their lives around the month.
Ramadan, more commonly known as 'Ramzaan' in Pakistan, is a month of devotion and prayer to God. Each year, the month is celebrated by Muslims across the world as the month in which the Quran was revealed. In Pakistan, preparations tend to begin a week before the predicted start of the annual fasting. Cleanliness is a huge part of the Islamic religion and so, many households carry out a deep clean. Often, this can also mean giving away unnecessary clothes, books or other homely goods to the poor and needy. As well as this, people begin preparing the necessary food items: frozen samosas, rolls and other creative dishes are often parts of the Iftar menu - which we will discuss in further detail in future articles!
Furthermore, while Ramadan brings people closer to Allah, it also brings us closer to family and friends. Ramadan is the pinnacle of spirituality, and at the centre of Islam is togetherness and brotherhood. Pakistan is an extremely charitable country, contributing more than 1% of its GDP to charity (which is a value double that of its neighbours and economic equals and similar to that of MEDCs) and during Ramadan, a huge number of people donate food and money to the less fortunate. Family gatherings and the rekindling of old, forgotten relationships is also a huge part of the celebration of Ramadan. In the current circumstances, this is obviously not possible but Pakistanis are known to make the best of difficult situations; mass video calls? Virtual Iftars? Who knows?
Furthermore, many embark on a journey to explore their spiritual selves. People read the Quran, pray five times a day and spend a large proportion of their time learning about the history and teachings of Islam. While every minute of Ramadan is said to be holy, Laylat Al Qadr is a night said to be worth a thousand months. Therefore, any prayers or supplications said during the night have great value. The last ten nights of Ramadan are a time when people distance themselves from other people and all worldly aspects and focus solely on their relationship with Allah.
Ramadan is a beautiful month and a time of love, happiness and togetherness. With this series of articles, we hope to bring the values central to the Holy Month closer to you and wish you a blessed Ramadan from the bottom of our hearts - Ramadan Mubarak!