It’s a time to re­flect one’s place in this world, to be at peace with one­self and oth­ers

New Straits Times - - News -

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.

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