It’s the month of Ramzan. Or “Ramadan Kareem”, as we know call it. Like, calling it Ramzan would make it any less holier. Or make a difference at all.
I grew up in a Muslim family, and like most Muslim families, among the five pillars of Islam, there was an emphasis on fasting. Even people who don’t pray on regular basis (me included), fast in Ramzan. There’s something about this month, oh so holy.
I remember an incident from when I was ten, shopping with my mom in Ramzan. I asked her if I could have coke because it was too hot. I was too young to fast anyway, so I didn’t think anyone would have a problem with me drinking coke. I remember we couldn’t find a single shop that would let us have a beverage.
When I was in high school, I thought we fasted because God wanted us to feel what the poor people went through. Somehow, depriving yourself of food and water for a few hours everyday (followed by a heavy dinner at Iftar), equals to the hardships and suffering of the poor. It teaches compassion. It makes us feel for the less privileged. It’s supposed to make us grateful to God.
If that is really the case, where was all this compassion when more than 900 people died of heat stroke in Karachi?
Yes, they died because of the heat wave. But also because in Ramzan, there’s no water available anywhere. It’s bizzare. You don’t have food or water till sunset? Fine with me. But don’t turn your city into a fucking desert.
In Ramzan, month of “compassion”, we fast to “feel for the poor”. Yet we forget about the non-Muslims or other people who just don’t fast. We make it impossible for water to be available for them. We think because it’s the month of fasting, so everyone must fast. I also read in high school that there is no compulsion in faith. Funny how that doesn’t sound accurate anymore either.
900 people died in a matter of few days. 900 families were effected. 900 people won’t be celebrating Eid this year.
And the shame: people like me, who are educated and of a considerably sensible mindset did not do anything before it was too late. Yes, there are many people who helped the victims reach hospitals in time. There are people distributing cold water bottles on traffic signals now. But will it bring back the 900?
We couldn’t have for seen these unfortunate circumstances. But tell me, where is the humanity? Where is the compassion?