Shaming Ramadan: attacks blight the Holy Month

By Asma Chaudhry

No matter their differences, Muslims around the world unite to abandon food and drink from dawn to sunset during Ramadan. Unfortunately, even with this common to most sects of Islam, that unity is quickly being replaced by contradiction and Muslims are left to face the consequences of blunders resulting from a disconnect between what is preached– or should be preached– and what is practised. In these instances, the peaceful message of Islam is thwarted and replaced by fanatical actions aimed at cultural, political and religious issues.

Whenever you turn on the news or open the newspaper, there always seems to be one story or another with the words “terrorism” and “Islam” in the same headline. But the word Islam itself means peace and the teachings of the religion can be understood by reading the book of Islam, the Qu’ran, which states in Chapter 5, verse 33 that to kill one man is to kill all of humanity. After considering this, the violent actions of some Muslim groups simply are not justified by Islam.

Violence and hate conflict with the purpose of Ramadan. The month entails more than just physical food sacrifices and requires the restraining of all emotional anger and irrational behaviour to attain spiritual enhancement. The main objective of fasting is to establish a relationship with God and acquire qualities of grace, fortitude, simplicity and humility. Charity is boundless and extra care is given to the needs of the poor and the wishes of orphans. Considering this, preaching cruelty, hostility and bloodshed under the name of Islam, especially in the month of Ramadan, does not make sense.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, famous for its motto, “Love for all, hatred for none,” is feeling the impact of erring Muslims, as it has been targeted due to the difference in its beliefs. On Sept. 7, the GEO Television Channel– which broadcasts in Pakistan and in the United Kingdom– aired Aalim Online, a program in which extremely hateful and inflammatory language was used against Ahmadi Muslims. Members of the discussion panel repeatedly alleged that Ahmadi Muslims were “Wajb-ul-Qatl,” that is, “Liable to death,” because of their beliefs. During the following two days, two Ahmadi Muslim leaders were killed in Pakistan. Others are in critical condition while many are receiving death threats.

Even though Muslims may be somewhat united by Ramadan, the actions of some Muslim extremists ruin the chance for at least one month of peace. The purpose of Ramadan is spiritual enhancement and in no way can you achieve that by murdering or provoking the murder of innocent people. Fasting is pointless if you promote hate, so why bother starving yourself?

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