18 August, 2010

Is Ramadhan the month for Excess, Extravagance and Wastage?

Each year, during this month of Ramadhan - Al Mukalla dramatically changes. During the day, especially before noon, it is a ghost town; with very few people and very little activity going on. Most people spend most of the day sleeping. Those at work, especially in public offices and institutions - simply yawn and laze around. The most difficult time to get any thing done here, is during Ramadhan. Come evening and all this changes.

After sunset, Mukalla becomes 'alive'. People start eating; most will continue doing so through out the night. Although mosques become full, most people can be found in the streets and shops. Shopping and spending. For most people, Ramadhan is the month for shopping, spending and accumulating. It is the month when most families prepare more food than they can eat; many over eat. It is the month when most people buy things abundantly, especially clothes. It is the month for over shopping and overdoing. It is the month for extravagance and wasting. It is the month for excess, consuming more and overindulgence.

It is the month when many Arabic TV channels go into full steam with advertisements, sweepstakes, shows and 'games'. Sweepstakes and 'games' where many viewers spend more and very few 'win'. It is the month when many TV channels become excessive and air the most lurid soap-operas; many with half naked or belly dancing women. While bombarding viewers with advertisements to buy and spend.

For most of us Muslims, it seems: Ramadhan has become more of a ritual and a routine process rather than it is for us being spiritual. We simply spend the whole day not eating; and yet contrary to what Ramadhan is all about, most of us become excessive and overindulgent. We prepare too much food, a large portion of which is wasted. Many of us overeat. We forget: "Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest My Wrath should justly descend on you: and those on whom descends My Wrath do perish indeed!" ~ Ta'ha - 20:81

We sleep too much during the day. We become lazy and less productive. We spend the nights watching some of the crudest TV shows; and feasting, and celebrating in the most un-Ramadhanic way. We spend too much, unnecessarily and wastefully. We have turned this very holly month into a spectacle of feasts and commercial indulgence. Right and wrong: is it difficult to differentiate the two? Is it difficult to know what is right during this blessed month and what doing would be wrong?  We forget: Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong) ~ Al'Baqara - 2:185.