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Ramadan, which changes Muslim lifestyle for 30 days

Wednesday August 10, 2011 03:45:59 PM, Aleem Faizee,

Ramadan, the blessed month, as the Muslims around the world would love to call it, is here once again. As the new moon pronounces the arrival of Ramadan, Muslims, all of a sudden, adopt a totally new schedule. Waking up at 03:00 pre-dawn to have suhur – the special meal taken to begin the dawn-to-dusk fast, a nap for an hour or so, then going for the day’s work without forgetting to finish them all before late afternoon so as to have enough time for Iftaar and then Traveeh, the special night prayers. Everything which is associated with Ramadan is common across the globe and is in full display in the Muslim neighbourhoods. What is uncommon though is its cultural implication which changes colors as we cross one country of the world to other.


In the Indian sub continent, besides special prayers Ramadan brings with it the festivities which are invisible through the year. The tradition of naming the newly born by the names of months had vanished long back. But in some parts of the sub continent, the practice still persists and the babies born in this moth are named as ‘Ramzan’.


In Southeast Asia, Ramadan is best experienced through the bazaars in cities like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. As Michael Aquino puts in, “These bazaars are closed throughout the day, but come to life late in the afternoon as bazaar food shops prepare food for Muslims breaking their fast at sundown. The bazaars continue to operate through the night, providing food and shopping for both Muslims and non-Muslim visitors alike.”


In western countries like United States and Britain, people like the Bosnian migrants in Utica in New York State and Asian migrants in Hamilton would use the occasion to raise funds to build their new mosques. At the same time, there are others who would use the month to create social awareness among the masses, as those in the State of Illinois, where the Muslims have passed a resolution June this year to observe this Ramadan as a “Green Month” and as the month of protecting the environment for all faith communities.


In the Arabian Peninsula which is soaring at around 50 degrees this season, Ramadan is totally different. Here in most of the countries, besides the weekly off, people do not have holidays even on their National Days. But Ramadan brings them some leisure time off their hectic schedule. Ask the expatriates and they would say, “Missing the family back home is tough. But it is really a fun during Ramadan here”. The offices, factories and establishments are all closed during the day and open in the evening for a brief while. The most spectacular things to watch here are the malls and markets which are open throughout the night with special Ramadan packages and pricing. Next are the especially made-up restaurants and the hotels where the families would throng pre-dawn to have the Suhur after shopping.


The African countries too have their own style of celebrating Ramadan. Like in Sudan, where people love to celebrate Ramadan with such a fanfare that they prepare themselves to welcome it two months ahead of its advent. Fikriya Aba Yazid says, “A remarkable habit in the Sudanese villages during Ramadan is that people get together in large numbers on the main streets for Iftaar, a group of the elders stand at the cross-roads, often blocking them by placing stones, to insistently invite passers-by to share the Iftaar.” The show goes on for the entire month till the new moon once again brings the Eid al Fitr.







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