Let us be honest with ourselves. When the month of Ramadan is mentioned, what do we picture in our minds?
While many would be thinking about refraining from food and other undesired behaviours, many others would be looking forward to the verity of food and desserts, sold at Ramadan bazaars as well as at hotels and restaurants which offer special fast-breaking deals.
While many would expect to eat less as Ramadan is about submission to Allah and appreciating the sufferings of those who are not that fortunate, surprisingly it is also a period where many Muslims would be consuming more food than other months. What could happen is the timing for breakfast, lunch and dinner are re-arranged? On top of that, people are naturally attracted to buy more than what they need when preparing for the fast-breaking.
To Muslims, Ramadan is a month full with blessings. The fast performed during the days will rewarded with blessings, forgiveness and salvation from the hellfire, if the fasting is performed honestly with the sole purpose of attaining the pleasure of the Creator of the Heavens and Earth. During night time, special prayers are offered and other specific deeds would earn multiple rewards compared to normal months. This is the reason why extended fast-breaking events may deter Muslims from exploiting opportunities available during Ramadan.
As what happen to other major activities in our society, slowly simple and meaningful events are turned into commercial opportunities. Once corporates start to turn Ramadan into a commercial exploitation opportunity, its meaning and values are slowly eroded. That is why to some of us, Ramadan is more about having more food rather that the opposite!
Things will be more commercialised towards the end of Ramadan when Muslims are starting their preparation to welcome Aidil Fitri. Ironically, the last ten nights of Ramadan is when Lailatul Qadar will occur. This is a night where any deed is rewarded as if it is performed over 1,000 months. Given the commercial attractions, many may not be able to concentrate of their prayers but busy shopping for cloths and other necessities for the forthcoming festivities. A miss opportunity?
At the end of the day, how we approach Ramadan is dependent on our honesty to seek the pleasure of Allah and using all the opportunities during Ramadan to be closer to Him and obtain his forgiveness. Once this is lost, Ramadan is all about hungry, food and shopping. The choice is with you and me.