Ramadhan Mubarak [Archives:2003/680/Viewpoint]

October 27 2003

The holy month of Ramadhan has come. Hundreds of Muslims around the world will be fasting during the day and asking for forgiveness and reward from God for their good deeds.Yet again, negative phenomena of less work and more sleep will also be there for us to witness. The story repeats itself again. Courts will be closed, governmental offices will be working with half capacity, and most disturbing of all, schools will face educational stagnancy.
Foreigners who lived in Yemen for a few years would realize how the level of productivity in our country is reduced tremendously during this month.
As if that is not enough, the extra expenses on food and Qat are also a misery. Families with extremely low income end up borrowing money to have their expenses met. Adults would chew qat for hours and hours after sunset to supposedly be 'rewarded' for their fasting and just live the Ramadhan atmosphere.
It may be true that Ramadhan in Yemen has a unique feeling of sensation and warmth, but this seems to be at the expense of the country's economy.
Trying to justify why this is the case in Ramadhan, many Yemenis say that fasting makes them 'exhausted', 'bored', 'unenergetic', and most interestingly of all, 'deprived of chewing qat'. So, how can daily lives go on? How can things be processed at the governmental and private-sector level? Well, an answer pops up from nowhere saying that night could be the time when things are done. Whenever you walk at night in Ramadhan, you would see liveliness wherever you go. People go about their daily routine work during the night. Even governmental operations are sometimes done around midnight in official buildings. The only difference is that you may end up signing your documents in a 'mafraj' (room for chewing qat) instead of the regular office.
Again, one cannot blame Ramadhan for this. As a matter of fact, Ramadhan in Islam is considered the month where extra effort needs to be exerted. One doesn't fast to sleep all day, but to rather feel the sufferings of the less privileged and be grateful for what God has given him. Work needs to continue as normal in Ramadhan, and extra time for worshipping God can be allocated.
Most of the combats between Muslims and Infidels in the early stages of Islam were done in Ramadhan. Muslim fighters would fight while fasting and not complain about it. This is why we should go on with our lives doing our work normally. We can even exert more effort and achieve work more efficiently when we are fasting because of the spiritual conditions we would enjoy when knowing that we are obeying God.
This is the true spirit of Ramadhan that we should understand and act upon.
Any way, I take this opportunity to greet all Muslims and non-Muslims alike on this occasion, and wish them all “Ramadan Mubarak”.