Ramadhan Is Coming ARE YOU READY? [Archives:1998/46/Viewpoint]

November 16 1998

Our holy month of Ramadhan is fast approaching, with just over a month to go before it dawns on us. Ramadhan to Muslims is a very important month as it is the time of the first revelations of Islam. It is also an occasion to stop from our at race and take stock of our moral and religious standing. That is why people become more pious and self-conscious. The best part I like about Ramadhan is really how it manages to stop smokers from blowing in our faces.
Unfortunately, this month also brings what is close to an upheaval in our lives. It requires many special arrangements to meet the new needs, given that it affects our living style in such a profound way.
Let me discuss some of the changes.

1. More economic burdens:
One of the troublesome aspects of Ramadhan is the additional expense it brings with it. Families need new food supplies because of the unique dishes of the Ramadhan cuisine. This is burdensome because of the overall low living standards of our population. The economic difficulties facing our people at this time are quite visible.
This situation is further complicated by the traditional hike in prices around this time. As consumers rush to the markets, they inevitably put an upward pressure on prices. Exploitative retailers and traders add fuel to this phenomenon.
Therefore, is it possible for the official media, especially the television programs, to start educating the public how to cut corners in terms of food purchases and preparations?

2. New work hours:
During Ramadhan, the nights become more lively and the days more quiet. Actually, official work hours start at 11:00 am, and the total number of working hours per day is about three hours. To make things worse, actual work hours are fewer, and the employees often grouchy and edgy. As one observer put it, “Don’t push a hungry man!”For foreign companies, this is an ideal time for vacation, since very little work can be achieved during this month. The government uses this month to give its employees long deserved annual or other holidays.
In addition, embassies, companies and other bodies are advised not to invite delegations and guests during this time.

3. Charity:
One of the splendors of Ramadhan is that it motivates well-to-do people to be more generous than usual. Individuals, societies, foundations and charities are exceptionally active during Ramadhan. This is partly based on the Muslim teachings for compassion among fellow human beings, especially during this month.
Thus, companies and individuals are not surprised by requests for donations and contributions. While it is constructive to interact with such requests, it is also imperative to make sure the money goes where it should. There are, needless to say, many free riders and parasites.

For non-Muslims living among us, they are forced to adjust their lives. Some even try to fast, if at least as a form of a new regime. Many simply choose to leave town until after Ramadhan. Whatever you do, you have to plan for Ramadhan. Are you ready?