Ramzan beyond fasting

Published in Pakistan Today on the 2nd of September, 2011.

Driving in Lahore or any other big city in Pakistan is a challenge, especially if you have this ‘unreasonable’ urge to follow traffic rules. It is like entering a war zone where everyone is everyone else’s enemy with a whole lot of contempt for others and their ‘demonic vehicles’. The piercing looks, boiling tempers, profane language and gestures are all a common sight for you if you regularly drive 10 to 15 km. However, these temperaments, uncontrollable urges to break all and every traffic rule and ethical norm, intolerance and contempt towards every other driver is at its peak in Ramzan, especially close to iftar times. It is sad and disturbing to see the highest levels of intolerance and impatience among a Muslim people in a month which has in its essence to inculcate patience among the followers of Islam.
For me Ramzan is less about staying hungry and more about learning to be patient and tolerant. It is less about having all your well-to-do friends over for iftar parties and more about learning to bear with all your fellowmen and co-exist in harmony. I pray one of these Ramzans manages to teach us to be patient and tolerant, and that learning will not only serve the purpose of Islam but also do a whole lot of good for us as a nation.

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