Ramadhan — A month of Worship, charity & glutto.. *cough* empathy?

“Momin roza tau rakh leta hai, par aisa ihsaan karta hai na Islam par k phr kha kha k apna ihsaan chukata hai” quipped a friend of mine yielding tandem smirks from everyone around the table.

The smirks symbolised two important yet sad resignations. Firstly, while it may not have been backed by stats (albiet, stats inhabit the same camp as studies have shown a 71% rise in grocery and 47% spike in clothes shopping during ramadhan), yet the reality stands in grim contrast to one of the purposes / purports of Ramadhan i.e. of sacrificing our regular eating habits to empathise with the lesser privileged citizens of our world who don’t enjoy the security of indefinitely having food on the table.

And while the number of people engaging in different forms of worship certainly spikes during the holy month (though cynics question the intent given the immediate decline following the end of the month, though that a messy separate debate), the more important and lesser culturally, intentionally or spiritually embodied trait i.e. empathy continues remains in obscurity.

The important questions (albeit, admittedly they’ve probably become cliche’s), is charity about giving money alone? Does a ritualistic spike in going to the mosque constitute equate to increase in worship?

Let there be no drama here. The answer to most of those questions is ‘it depends…’ and ‘…mostly on each individual’s intentions’. Religion nor logic gave anyone the tools to judge intentions (though that doesn’t stop us from making ‘educated’ guesses *wink* *wink*).

Then, 251 words and 3.5 minutes later, we come to the purpose of this post. Empathy. The purpose of Ramadhan we, arguably, engage with the least. Whether its for the lesser privileged fellows of our society (as is written about popularly) or, for good measure, lets broaden the prescription (even if it isn’t entirely from a religious angle), with your family. And perhaps, more importantly, yourself.

The fate of the not-haves has been told through ‘aesthetic’ professionality over the ages. How about the struggles of the ‘self’? Are we spending a third of a our life’s hours on what we actually want to do? If not, what effect is that having on the ‘self’. How is that effecting our relationships. Our ability to take time our and sympathise / empathise. How are the people closest to us feeling?

Life demands a balance. Not just the one we want to radiate while putting on a suit in the morning. The balance inside that allows us to empathise with the ones around us. Our families. Friends. And most importantly, ourselves. The balance to identify and deal with the chaos within. And perhaps that *fingers and toes crossed* would enable us to sustainably extend our circle of empathy and generosity.