For the soul that’s ever lasting,
for protection against devils doubt casting,
the Prophet said
“Allah has prescribed fasting”
Now ramadhan is almost over, in fact it will be over within a couple of days. I have heard a lot about the spirit of ramadhan, so much so that my vessel has overflowed with knowledge! Ramadhan is a month when we need to lock our tummies, our mouths too for that matter. Tummies are locked so that we may feel the hunger of the hungry and mouth are shut lest we would speak evil. We are told what the Sahaba used to do in ramadhan and how they used to be. That was the way of the pious, a noble way indeed. But if this was the only way then why have I never seen it anywhere, I wondered.
Bewildered, I asked Jhelum about what he thought regarding this matter and he really enlightened me. He said that although the way of our pious predecessors was the right one, it sure wasn’t the only one. “Haven’t you lived by what is called the koushur way of fasting?”, he asked me. Now that was news for me. Seeing me confused, he educated me regarding this way of fasting. He told me the definition saying that it was coined the day a Kashmiri first fasted. It says, “ When you wake up at sehri and eat so much baete (rice) that your tummy is about to explode and drink so much water that your stomach is swollen, so that you may not feel thirst or hunger for days to come, know that you are ready for fasting. And at the time of iftaar pounce on food as if you are taking revenge for your days hunger.” The definition further states that, “For your fasts to be accepted, it is a prerequisite that your weight at the end of ramadhan must be a few kilos more than what it was before.” And certainly this definition will be incomplete without the mention of meat (otherwise the author would be chopped and eaten by meat lovers). About meat the definition says, “Meat must accompany the baete every time, for fasting will be rendered invalid without it.”(A butcher must have added that part). Now finally huh, I had been enlightened.
After becoming the Buddha (gaining enlightenment) I was on top of the small world I lived in. Suddenly when I turned the globe I could see Somalia in Africa, where people do not eat sehri or do iftaar because they just don’t have anything to eat. Scores of children die every day and many others suffer from malnutrition. Having one meal a day is a luxury. The region is facing one of the worst famines of this century and coupled with the political unrest, the situation has worsened.
The imam in the masjid and all of us too, daily pray for more of this and that and fret about our wishes and desires. But not even once do we hear a prayer for these souls, who at this time when we are feasting, oops fasting, are struggling to survive.
Now however is not the time to think about them, because Eid is fast approaching and we need to decide which cake and what variety of biscuits we need to buy? How many types of sweets and how many kilos of meat is the “koun banega crorepati” question. People die all the time but this Eid will come just once!
The sun has burned their faces red,
The wind is blowing over the dead
we don't care and neither we share
that life saving, loaf of bread
A glimpse of the current famine in Somalia