On the True Spirit of Ramadhan [Archives:2001/48/Focus]

November 26 2001

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
“Ramadhan is such a beautiful month”, said Furdous to her husband, who was sitting there calculating his income and expenditures for the day. He heard his wife but, but just sat there grumbling, with a number heard every now and then. She continued to try to attract her husband’s attention: “Look Mukhtar, it is much easier than that, just remember that there is nothing for the income side and only worry about the expense side, and all you have to do is ask me and I will give you an up to the minute tally, of all that has been spent by this household since we got up this afternoon.
“Furdous, can’t you see that I am not just calculating what you have spent, I am planning and budgeting for the rest of the month. You know Ramadhan is a beautiful month for the hundreds in the Bab Al-Sabbah market, who are ready to empty our pockets, every time we decide to take a walk across this Market. All those sweets, juices, fruits and leftover canned goods from the Gulf somehow become so tempting and one feels that all he has to do is buy them and the hunger of Ramadhan disappears. But for us people, who depend on our miserly government salaries, it is a nightmare trying to come up with any budget,” said Mukhtar to his wife, while he was counting the folds in his fingers to complete the arithmetic he was involved in before his wife interrupted him.
Furdous commented: “Look Mukhtar, it is your fault really, you should not have gotten yourself glued to a government job, where all the doors of bounty close up on you, because you close your eyes to all the riches that your colleagues seem to pick up by the spoonful. You ought to find either someway to get on the list of favored employees with the management or find your own channel of wealth by using your position to influence decision makers to make the most profitable decision for you”. From looking at the wives of your friends, one would think that it would be stupid to be employed with the Government and not get wealthy. They are dressed out of this world. Gold bracelets cloak their arms from the wrist to the elbow. They were gold belts that shine to the top of Jabal Nuqum. I am not going to talk about the clothing, because sometimes you wonder if they are dressed or not. In fact, for some of the women their gold may take up more of the area in their body than the fabric of their attire!”
“Calm down dear, before we get into more nastier details about our friends’ wives, this is Ramadhan!” Mukhtar interrupted his wife.
“God forbid, that I should get to wear such kind of clothing”, said Furdous.
“God forbid, that you should ever want to wear such kind of jewelry also!” remarked Mukhtar.
“Why? Don’t you think that I deserve to be so adorned?” asked Furdous.
For once Mukhtar had the right answer at the right moment: “Come on Furdous, you know that your natural adornment far outdoes all the fancy jewelry that the wives of crooked officials could ever wear. When I look into your eyes, I know that the two gems before my eyes are the most expensive jewels anyone can have?””Oh, how you make me blush with your sweet words! Come to think of it, you are right, God was kind to me, but there is no harm in wearing some nice things every now and then. I don’t mean to try to outdo those showy wives, God forbid. Besides that kind of adornment requires Zakat, and with your salary, there is just no way we can afford to even meet the Zakat on such jewelry. However, I do not mind to wear earrings that hang down the earlobe and not just get concealed by the protrusions that jot out of the earlobe, here and there.” Furdous was flattered by her husband’s comment, but wanted to let him now that she is a weak woman as well!
“Furdous, if you want me to cut out those protrusions on your earlobe, we can try that, if it will make you happy. Or would you like me to buy you one of those pins they stick to the nose? That is it. Then you will not have to worry about any hair or protrusions covering the fancy jewelry you are wearing. Besides, the Zakat on that is going to be small! I always wonder how they get those pins stuck in the nose like that? I once saw a man bump into a woman wearing one of those just to see if it will fall of her nose or not? Sure enough it did not fall off! Because the woman was huge, the poor guy ended up on the ground himself, while her nose and its jewelry remained intact. She also whacked him on the head with the crutches of a beggar who happened to be nearby, and who all of a sudden was able to stand on his own two feet, and off and running in no time, frightened that he would be hit himself by the crutch, because the lady had discovered that he was nothing but an imposter. I tell you dear, this is a crazy world, we live in”
“I’ve got to hand it to you, Mukhtar, you have a way of making everything seem so sarcastically beautiful. Not any jewelry in the world can delight me more than that, especially in this holy month, when we forget all the material wants out of life, and leave them for the imposters of the world, who forget that public service or the trust given to people is a real burden that must be carried gracefully and honestly, for the wrath of God will escape no one who does not heed the Lord’s presence in all that we do and say” said Furdous, reassuring her husband that there is no one that can replace any of them for each other!
Mukhtar said: “It really underscores the fact that the best lives are not what are worn or not worn, as is the style in today’s fashion world – but then, only Elsa Klensch knows for sure – but in how much people enjoy each other, are kind to each other and go out of the way to alleviate human suffering where ever it is found. That is the true spirit of Ramadhan, isn’t it my dear! But how sad, that so many people fail to see the wisdom behind the fast and the meditation that should come with it”.
It is normal, that only a few can see the wisdom of life in general, let alone the beauty and enrichment that Ramadhan truly means to the spirit we all want to enliven with us.”