For Muslims, Ramadhan is the month with plenty of blessings. In addition to observing the fast during the day, the nights of Ramadhan provide opportunities to the faithfuls to be closer to Allah through prayers, reciting the Quran and performing other deeds such as donating to the poor, etc. Given the promised multiple blessings and forgiveness, Ramadhan as a whole is a moth where Muslims have the vast opportunities possible to submit themselves to Allah. Blessings for sale, sort of.
Some may wonder why Muslims get excited during a month where they are required to abstain from eating and other worldly things such as sex during the day? I suppose the abstention reflects one's beliefs and his submission to Allah Almighty although throughout the day one has all the opportunities to fake his action. Faith flows from within the hearts and externalised through actions.
However, like many other places, local customs and norms could influence the behaviours of Muslims which may contradict the spirit of Ramadhan. In Malaysia, Ramadhan is synonymous with expensive Buka Puasa rituals in hotels and Muslims spending without thinking on food when breaking their fast. Towards the middle of Ramadhan, focus will shift to how to celebrate Aidil Fitri and people start to worry about the food to be served and clothing to be worn. In these excitements, the principles behind the fasting, praying and other deeds may be forgotten.
Those with commercial interests would certainly see Ramadhan as a month of opportunity as well, not that different from Christmas and New Year. We can't fault these commercial entities from exerting their influence through the media, turning Ramadhan into the month of holy spending and eating. How ironic!
Once we lost the meaning of things, we will be stuck at the ritual stage. Ritual is visible and people tend to focus more on what they could see rather than the essence.
Knowledge and education are certainly important for us in ensuring we really understand why we do what we do. Unfortunately, seeking knowledge on a continuing basis is not something that many people would be keen to do, Muslim included although seeking knowledge was the first command that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.
On a personal basis, I am hoping this Ramadhan would be better than the last for me and each and every Muslims out there.