The beginning of Ramazan brings with it mixed sentiments. With a sense of excitement, as most people love to fast, there is also a feeling of apprehension because of the intense heat and the long hours of fasting. Many young ones remember the number of days they had fasted last year and aim at increasing this number and some may be looking forward excitedly to their first fast as there will be celebrations and they will get gifts on this day.
As Ramazan begins, we all take a few days to adjust to the change in the timings of the daily meals and the pattern of the sleeping hours, but before a week has elapsed we are habituated to this change in our routine. Apart from physical changes, there are some important spiritual changes we all undergo during this blessed month.
Ramazan brings with it endless blessings and it is a month which Muslims really love. To make the most of this month, we all should follow some important guidelines and try to ponder on the true spirit of the month. A very important question that all of us should ask ourselves is, “Does Allah need us to go hungry or thirsty?”
My dear friends the answer is obviously a big ‘No’.
Ramazan should be considered as a blessing by us because every year it teaches us lessons of obedience, punctuality, discipline, compassion and goodwill. The timings for beginning and ending a fast are fixed and we follow them strictly throughout the month. If we resolve to bring this lesson of punctuality in our daily life, we will not only learn to make a better use of our time but also finish every task assigned to us at the correct moment. From reaching school to submitting our assignments, punctuality is a strong quality of a good student. In the same way, when we have to attend a party, or reach for an appointment, abiding by the fixed time saves us a lot of hassle and frustration.
Ramazan should be considered as a blessing by us because every year it teaches us lessons of obedience, punctuality, discipline, compassion and goodwill
Discipline is another important lesson of Ramazan. As sunset draws nearer, you feel strong pangs of hunger and your throat is parched with thirst. Although your favourite food and drinks are on the table, but you do not even think of reaching out to them before the Maghrib prayers.
At Sehr, you may not have finished your meal, but as soon mum tells you that the time for Sehr is coming to its end, you just leave the table and rush to brush your teeth. These are important lessons which make you realise the value of a disciplined life.
Ramazan also teaches us compassion. We realise the importance of the blessings we take for granted. Friends, a majority of children like you do not have the luxury of ample food, cold water, fans to keep them cool in the heat of summers, a comfortable home and proper clothes for every occasion. Only when you turn your hearts to the sufferings of others, you will learn to be grateful for all that you have. Make it a point to share your blessings, not only in Ramazan, but the year around.
Giving away extra clothes, books, toys, shoes, etc., will give you great satisfaction and immense joy to the less fortunate. Always try to give a fraction of your pocket money to the poor. It maybe your house maid, your driver or the guard of your lane, or you may ask your mothers to give the money to some needy person she knows.
While we are fasting, we all should exercise self-restraint and keep our tempers in control. Most of us feel irritable because of the hunger and thirst we experience due to the fast, but we must keep on reminding ourselves that we are obeying Allah and obedience should be in good spirit. If you feel moody or you feel a sibling is picking up a dispute with you, just move away and busy yourself in something positive. Even taking a nap is better than quarrelling or arguing with someone.
Nurture feelings of sympathy and consideration. In spite of the intense heat, your mother toils in the kitchen to prepare delicious snacks you can enjoy at Iftar. Help her as much as you can by sharing the workload. You can help in laying and clearing the Iftar and Sehr table, looking after your younger siblings or run errands for her.
And as mum is fasting too, don’t make too many demands of an elaborate meal at Iftar as it will mean that she will be spending the hot afternoon hours cooking in the kitchen while fasting. Whatever she cooks and sets on the table will be the best she can manage and it will surely contain things that you love, because she loves you and wants to give you what is best for your health.
Your maid walks all the way in the sun to do her daily chores at different homes. Try to lighten her workload by making your own bed, clearing up your room, pressing your clothes and keeping things in their place. These gestures will take only a little bit of your time, but be a great support to your fasting maid. Be polite to elders and kind to those younger than you. Random acts of kindness will not only make you feel better, it will also spread a message of goodwill and love.
One of the main reasons why most children look forward to Ramazan are going out on the shopping sprees for Eid. Shopping centres remain open till late in the night and children love to shop with their parents to buy Eid clothes, shoes, toys and gifts. But remember friends, do not get carried away when you go for shopping. Moderation in expenditures is a lesson which will be valuable for you when you step into practical life. Always ask your parents to buy clothes, shoes, etc., for your maid and driver’s children or other needy kids around you. Making someone happy on Eid will give you a joy you cannot even imagine.
The most important lesson of Ramazan is to remember that we are Muslims the whole year and not only in this holy month. Ponder on and talk about the positive lessons you can learn in Ramazan with your friends and peers. Often a good discussion goes a long way in changing our perceptions about important things in life. Sharing our experiences and feelings can bring a positive change in us. Hold on to the important values you have learnt in this month and spread the message of love, compassion, piety, punctuality, discipline and self restraint to people around you throughout the year.
Published in Dawn, Young World, June 11th, 2016