Ramadan: it’s party time!

Once, two Americans found themselves lost in the Arabian desert without food or water. They came across a mosque and one of them suggested they change their names to pretend they are Muslims to avoid not being helped. But the other refused, saying, "You go ahead being Muhammad while I remain Joe".

At the mosque, a bearded man greeted them with a smile offering how to help.

"Hello, I'm Muhammad and this is Joe. We were wondering if we could have something to eat and drink," asked Roger.

"Why, of course. Joe, we will bring you some food, and for you, Muhammad, we can share a meal at sundown when we break our fast," replied the man. The experience taught the Americans how embracing Islam is and the true spirit of camaraderie and sharing of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic faith, a time when Muslims try to purify their souls in their attempt to draw closer to Allah. The act of fasting is not only refraining from food and drink but also exercising self-control in our worldly desires.

But how much of this spirit do we see around us today?

Ramadan is increasingly becoming a month of feasting and festivities instead of charity, where profiteering in business, fun, and frolic are the mantra. Far from prioritising worship, a certain section of our society is busy with elaborate iftar parties, many hosted at restaurants.

Iftar parties have turned into iftar-cum-dinners, and, as if that is not satiating their spirit of fun, the innovative minds have started the trend of Sehri parties.

Our corporate houses are not lagging in sporting the "Ramadan spirit" either. Most five-star ballrooms and restaurants are booked in advance by them, where the cost of a meal is enough to feed an entire family for a month.

This lavish feasting shouts bad taste, especially during the current local and international economic crises where the cost of living has increased exponentially with no increase in salary. The hardest hit is the poor, many of whom turn to mosques for free meals. The mayhem gets even crazier with our corporate chanting: "the bigger the crisis, the bigger the opportunity".

It goes without saying that big corporates reap the maximum benefit in a crisis, as was observed during the coronavirus pandemic. A crisis makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, 131 billionaires more than doubled their net worth during the pandemic. In the case of Bangladesh, I couldn't manage any official data to share, but undoubtedly, our wealthy individuals and corporates have had their share of the bounty too.

For corporates that deal with essentials, Ramadan is also a party time, a busy month of counting profits. These same corporate houses are seen racing to outdo each other in boasting their CSR. In reality, such spending is a mere fraction of their massive profit in a crisis, not to mention the artificial crisis they create at such times.

This month, the fashion and food industries are also fraught with a mindless extravaganza. Far from the spirit of Ramadan, a month of moderation, we see people chasing their material desires with greater gusto, bringing city traffic to a pathetic state. The recent launch of Tk 20,000 per kg jalebi with gold targeting the insensitive group is another great example.

Ramadan is only halfway through and it is still not too late to wake up. We can still reap the benefits of this blessed month by practising moderation in all phases of life. I humbly request that all individuals and corporate houses cancel gala iftar events and channel the funds to charity to make others' life easier.

The author is founder and managing director of BuildCon Consultancies Ltd 


ওবায়দুল কাদের
২ ঘণ্টা আগে|রাজনীতি

সমাবেশ ঘিরে আওয়ামী লীগের পক্ষ থেকে সংঘাতের আশঙ্কা নেই: কাদের

আওয়ামী লীগের সাধারণ সম্পাদক এবং সড়ক পরিবহন ও সেতুমন্ত্রী ওবায়দুল কাদের বলেছেন, আগামী ২৭ তারিখের সমাবেশ ঘিরে আওয়ামী লীগের পক্ষ থেকে কোনো সংঘাতের আশঙ্কা নেই। কোনো উসকানি আওয়ামী লীগ দেবে না।