It’s a time to reflect one’s place in this world, to be at peace with oneself and others
RAMADAN starts tomorrow. Already hotels are promoting their buffet and some of us are planning to take time off from work to break fast with our families.
I for one have, in a departure from past years, ticked my Hari Raya holidays in next month’s work roster. Expect radio stations to play Raya songs next.
Anyway, Ramadan is supposed to be a time to reflect one’s place in this world, to be at peace with oneself and others and, if possible, to rectify mistakes and problems, whether they are personal or professional.
In short, it is to purify the mind and body by focusing on religious duties while executing our daily responsibilities.
Then, to strive to be a better Muslim, one also must make an effort to take in and learn from the struggles of the ummah worldwide.
It goes without saying that the challenges facing Muslims are huge. Some, in the case of the Palestinians, are even bigger when you think about life under the Zionist regime in the occupied territories for more than seven decades now.
Two state solution? Bi-national system for Israelis and Palestinians? The peace process, it seems, is just that — a process.
One continuous challenge is the manipulation of water by the Israeli water company, Mekorot, that forces Palestinians in the West Bank to either purchase water at a higher price from water trucks, or try to get water from springs.
Al Jazeera reported that there were cases where some areas had not received water for more than 40 days.
In comparison, Israeli settlers consume 350 litres of water per person a day while Palestinians use 60 litres, a result of the occupied power’s policy of restricting water to Palestinians.
Ramadan will be tough on the occupied people, when the weather will be hotter than other months, as they wait and pray for a better tomorrow.
In the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, Ramadan will be of a different meaning, depending on which side you’re on.
Nearly 300,000 people have died in Syria, while more have perished in Iraq because of sanctions and military campaigns of past years.
According to a report, about 224 people were killed in bombings in Syria in the first week of Ramadan last year. Another round of hostilities would surely repeat such statistics.
The same goes to Iraq as the authorities are said to be determined to retake Mosul before the start of Ramadan.
In Libya, more chaos is expected as the value of its currency — the dinar — continues to spiral downwards when traded in the black market, and 1.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Now that Muammar Gaddafi is gone, things, it seems, still have not improved to alleviate the suffering of its people.
Just like Iraq after Saddam Hussein, the hope that democracy will act as the engine of
FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2017 change remains unfulfilled in the real sense of the word, given the growth of militancy since then.
Questions have also been raised with regard to new United States President Donald Trump, on whether he will continue the iftar dinner hosted by occupants of the White House since 1996.
Maybe he’ll decide after the trip to Saudi Arabia, where he’s attending a summit between Muslims and American leaders.
It will, however, be an important gesture to 3.3 million American Muslims.
Nevertheless, all is not doom and gloom in the Muslim world.
One should be credited for finding new ways to help the ummah deal with Ramadan and beyond.
A Russian Muslim, Airat Kasimov, introduce an app called “Halal Guide” to help Muslims find the nearest mosque, Islamic bank, halal restaurant and bookshop, plus help users to reserve halal meals and seek job opportunities that are syariah-compliant.
Since its launch in 2011, the app has expanded to other countries, including Britain, Canada, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Most important of all for Muslims, Ramadan is also a time for
The challenges facing Muslims are huge. (Clockwise from left) An airstrike in the Syrian city of Daraa; a Palestinian scuffling with Israeli soldiers during a protest in the West Bank town of Nablus; and, a member of the Libyan National Army firing a rocketpropelled grenade launcher during fighting in Benghazi.