Ramazan is on the horizon once again. Being the most sacred month of the Islamic calendar, it brings countless blessings along with itself for Muslims all around the world. Islam attaches great importance to this period of the year. The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) reportedly said that Allah identified fasting for Himself from amongst the deeds of the Muslims and He (Himself) would reward for it. Yet it’s not only about hunger, thirst and perks after death, fasting has also proven worldly benefits. Only an unenlightened person would let this month passed sans compliance.

According to medical researches fasting helps in whipping our physical conditions into shape. It tends to lower blood pressure and decrease level of low-density lipoprotein in our bodies. With a good effect on lipid profile, chances of suffering from heart diseases and stroke etc. are greatly reduced. The level of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor is increased due to fasting which boosts our mental wellbeing. Improving many aspects of our brain’s functions, it reduces stress both during and after Ramazan.

As per modern researches in biomedicines, starvation helps in stimulation of autophagy which in turn control many physiological functions including degradation and recycling of cellular components. Improper autophagy has been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and type 2 diabetes. This does not mean starvation should be promoted as its harmful effects may outweigh the positive ones. The point is that during Ramazan we get a golden opportunity to moderately experience hunger which certainly improves our health. In a nutshell, those who fast would most likely live healthy lives as compared to others.

However, it is a religious obligation to observe fasting which is very important for the promotion of our spiritual welfare. It helps in purification and energizing of our souls and empowers us inwardly. One feels closed to Allah while abstaining from food, water, and evil acts, among the other things, solely for the pleasure of the Almighty. Self-control is strengthened and willpower increases for the obvious reasons. Hunger and thirst stimulate us to put ourselves in shoes of those who are deprived of luxury of three square meals. Thus, we are inspired to be considerate, tolerant and sympathetic to others.

But at the same time, for some people this holy month serves as a season to bandy words, utter vehement invectives, and exchange blows with others. Failing to withstand the ordeal of hunger and thirst, they lose patience over petty things, hurl a gamut of abuses and even become physical in many cases. Bazar squabbles and road rage becomes a routine thing during these prayerful days. People have been observed venting their angers on those who eat in public without knowing if they were sick, travellers, or belong to minority.

Even a Hindu octogenarian was beaten by a police official in Sindh during Ramazan 2016 for eating outside his home in fasting hours. Is it fair to fast at the cost of harming others? The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) is believed to have said that whoever does not stop lying and doing evil actions, Allah is not in need of their refraining from food and drinking.

Moreover, where other nations of the world try to keep control on prices of special items during their festivals, in our country prices of basic commodities soar with the advent of Ramazan. Many make capital out of these days, and hoarding and profiteering seem to become part of their personal code of ethics. As a result poor are deprived of fresh fruits and vegetables because purchasing of these go beyond the limit of their household budget. But shouldn’t it be a month when one must feel and extend sympathies, and everyday items are available on considerable lower prices in the market with the support of both government and business community. With new government having pro-poor agenda installed now, one hopes people don’t endure such miseries this Ramazan.

Also, this blessed time should be utilized to discover one’s true self and purpose of life. We must work for purification of our hearts and deeds, repent our sins, and seek forgiveness of Allah to maximize favours of these 30 days. We should make new resolutions regarding contribution to our homeland, Islam, and humanity at large in the best possible way. A positive lifestyle adopted during this span of time ought to be retained and continued.

Lying, cheating, jealousy, backbiting, and such other negative attitudes should be overcome and personal righteousness must be pursued. One may keep patience, behave with integrity, show generosity and mercy, and motivate others to goodness to make the most of this holy month. We must also accept our mistakes, speak well of others, be cooperative, end enmities and forgive people, and should try our best not fall into old bad habits again with the departure of Ramazan.