I love Ramadan. In my first year here in Pakistan, whilst not fully understanding the meaning and context behind Ramadan, I started fasting to prove to my colleagues that it doesn’t have to impact your work or output – especially if you are a white collar worker, enjoying the comfort of air-conditioning and no manual labor. I wanted to show that it is all a matter of strengthening the mind over the body.
Ever since I converted to Islam, I have been observing the purity of the month. I love the concept of self-discipline, abstinence, reflection and giving. What I am always amazed by though, is how people change their normal rhythm and adopt a ‘Ramadan’ schedule during this holy month. I love the idea that you should observe Ramadan while continuing your normal daily activities.
This is the mindset of Muslims all over the world during Ramadan. This year Muslims in Glasgow have their Sehri at 5am and Iftar at 21:45. That’s 16 hours and 45 minutes! The majority of Muslims in Britain and in other parts of the world go through their fast for long periods of time and continue to do their jobs without letting this month effect their routine.
In Pakistan and even more so in other parts of the Middle East, Ramadan is for a number of people an opportunity to start slacking. They start to come to work late – if at all, work in slow motion, move all decisions to after Ramadan and in general adopt a very ‘laissez-faire’ attitude. It has become a norm and many easily adapt this shift in daily lifestyle.
One of my friends, who is an avid golfer, calls Ramadan ‘the holy month of golf’, as suddenly the number of people that are too tired to work show up at the golf course everyday in the afternoon, able to play 18 holes.
I can’t blame them, the heat and hours of going without a sip of water can really take a toll on ones motivation. But, for all of you who work normal hours during Ramadan I salute you!
Ramadan Mubarak everyone, have a blessed month.
– Paul Keijzer