Ramadan A strictly personal reflection -Kazi Falguni Eshita
I’ll start with a personal experience today. As a child, I’d often hear one question: “You’re Falguni, so which religion do you follow exactly?”
With a smile, I’d reply: “I have a Kazi in front of my name, so what does that make me?”
Even as an adult, I often have to hear a complaint that I don’t have an Islamic name. For your information, I belong to a conservative Muslim family, and I’m a practising Muslim woman. I was taught to love my religion from a very early age, and that lesson came directly from my family. On the other hand, I also love the name my father gave me. Yes, my name’s a Bengali word instead of an Arabic one. Many Muslims would begin to judge me based solely on that matter. As Muslims, are we really allowed to do that?
I try to pray five times a day, I also try to read the Holy Quran regularly. However, I don’t use the Hijab or the Niqab owing to a few medical reasons, let’s not get into that. Now, many people would instantly go: “Oh look at that girl, she is not religious.” Think twice. Are we really allowed to do that?
The month of Ramadan is approaching fast. As a child, I used to fast at most ten days throughout the entire month. As I grew up, the number of fasts increased. Alhamdulillah, last year I could observe all the fasts (except for a few, because I’m a woman and I can’t make up fasts). I often hear people say: “Oh look, she’s eating!”
Does Ramadan only mean keeping your stomach empty? When you fire foul words at someone while fasting or when you wish someone ill, doesn’t that have a bad impact? What about people who surrender to their sexual desires while fasting? Doesn’t that create a bad impact?
Despite being an adult, I couldn’t observe my fasts properly until last year, as I had to take plenty of medicines for various reasons. I know friends, breastfeeding mothers who don’t fast, or people engaged in extensive physical labour. Even my pious father can’t fast due to physical issues. Yet, at the end of the day, it all comes down to: “Oh look, they don’t fast!”
For me, Ramadan means increasing my patience, strengthening my faith, washing off envy, gluttony, bad wishes or any other filth whatsoever from my heart. Ramadan also means getting one step closer to become a better human being. To me, not only during Ramadan but also throughout the year, being loving and respectful towards any human being, irrespective of race, gender or nationality is of utmost importance. I want to be religious, not a bigot.
Does it harm to talk to your janitor with a smile? Does it harm to provide a street child with a snack? Obviously, as Muslims we cannot directly participate in any festival of the non-believers, but does it harm to respect their religions and their festivals? After all: “your religion is for you, and my religion is for me” (Al-Quran 109:6).
For example, a lot of news items attract my eye right before the Durga Puja. Surprisingly, these are news about incomplete Durga idols being broken. What encourages some Muslims to do such things? Islam never supports violence as far as I know. Why then? Sometimes there are news of violence even on Christmas. Why?
The family that taught me to love Islam is the same one that sowed the seed of respect for all the other religions deep in my heart. My friend list consists of people from various countries, religions, customs and language. For me, my friends share one common identity: they are all fellow human beings who let me reside in their hearts and each of them owns a place in my heart too.
This Ramadan, I want to be a more patient, loving and respectful young woman. May Allah accept all your prayers in this Holy month. After all, Allah says: “Call me, and I’ll respond to you” (Al-Quran 40:60). Ramadan Mubarak!
PS: I only wanted to express my own opinions in this write-up. I don’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings.