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April 14, 2021

Preparing for Ramazan

Editorial

 
April 14, 2021

In Pakistan and across the Muslim world, the holy month of Ramazan has started. In Pakistan, this time around, there is also a slight sense of panic or indeed considerable panic in many households as they consider inflation and ask how they are to afford even the basics that are associated with Ramazan. Every household wants to ensure that it has enough to place on the table during a month when consumption traditionally rises in all households. The demand for sugar, which has again begun to shoot up to around Rs100 per kg, also grows during the month as sweetmeats of various kinds are prepared for the evening meal and drinks using sugar prepared for the breaking of the fast at a time of the year when temperatures are expected to soar.

This is also the second Ramazan we will be observing during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has possible repercussions of its own. Traditionally for Rama zan, families and friends gather for iftari, and this year at least, as cases of Covid continue to rise with only the bare minimum of the population following the SOPs recommended, this custom will once again have to be curbed. Still more significant is the gathering at mosques either for prayers or the traditional taraveeh prayers. The government has said that last time it received excellent cooperation from clerics around the country. We hope this will be the case this time too, given the sense that people are even less willing than before to observe measures that could prevent the virus from spreading. Vaccination, of course, is the answer. And rather than promising walk-in vaccination after Ramazan, the government should perhaps consider opening up centres to all people, regardless of age as the month begins.

Currently, we stand at a critical place in terms of the expansion of the disease and our ability to cope with it. The best service to humanity, in this month of sacrifice, may be to stay away from congregational gatherings of all kinds and play a part in avoiding the spread of the virus. We also hope that the mass expression of spirituality across the country goes beyond the mere act of not eating. We would love to see introspection into behavior and actions and a true effort to understand our religion in its real sense: as a belief which promotes ideas of tolerance, acceptance and peace. No time can be better to preach this from all forums in the country than during this Ramazan, when we need patience, hope and solidarity much more than ever before.