Ramadan, the holy month…

Ramadan, a month considered full of passionate spiritual meaning, a month of reflection and devotion is always anticipated and welcomed by all Muslims around the world. The Holy Prophet Muhammad S.A.W once said Ramadan is the month whose beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness, and its end is emancipation from the fire of hell. There is Laylatul Qadr stated too, to earn more bountiful rewards for our good deeds.

It is known to Muslims that in this holy fasting month, there are quite several things that can be done to make the most of this blessed month. Tarawih, be it in the mosque, or at home, be it 8, or 20, along with the Witr, is one of the most awaited deeds by all. The Imam of the nearby mosque will lead the prayer and finish the whole 30 juz of the Quran by the end of the month of Ramadan. Some places will have imported huffaz to lead, just to listen to the calming beautiful verses recitation.

Some Muslims will take the opportunity to heighten their goodness cultivation by reading the Quran daily, giving alms to the needy, holding iftars for the orphans, increasing their zikr and prayers as well as restricting themselves from doing anything bad or evil. They would focus on polishing themselves to be better, be it physically, mentally, or spiritually.

Ramadan and the inseparable bazaar temptations…

The normal Ramadan day would routinely start with a suhoor, a full day of fasting, iftar, and then tarawih, for the whole 29 or 30 days depending on the moon sightings. Among other things that would also be usually associated with Ramadan, here in Malaysia are always the bazaar across the whole nation. Be it the food bazaar or others selling clothing and preparation for Eid-ul Fitr – which will come right after Ramadan, it is one of the most awaited joys, especially by business owners.

This would be the perfect time to sell their products, and eventually gain better profits across the year. All sorts of cookies for Eid, traditional or modern, will be sold. Clothing lines with various designs, household necessities, accessories, and others, just mention it, will be there as Ramadan and Eid-ul Fitr come once a year and these festive seasons are definitely, not to be missed.

This is where Muslims are believed to be tested. Are we going to focus on collecting the good deeds during the days and nights of Ramadan filling them in with Quran recitation, zikr, and prayers, or are we going to focus on the heavenly bazaar happening throughout the month for Eid-ul Fitr preparation? Or are we going to manage to have both? A worldly desire or the hereafter? Both come once a year but will the blessings we longed for be there every year?

The trials begin…

For instance, Ramadan is supposed to teach us the meaning of modesty, humility, and simplicity. However, are we able to be modest when purchasing foods or goods at the bazaar? Buying things that we truly need, and food that we can and actually eat and not waste seems to be quite impossible for certain people. Some tend to buy all the food they see at the bazaar, but in the end, can eat only a portion of it and waste the remaining. Some spend more than enough for Eid-ul Fitr preparation but spare spiritually nothing for Ramadan. Some others just feel that they will have another day another year to meet again with this holy month and just casually let Ramadan pass with not much of beneficial things. Some others are too busy reaching for KPIs or sales thus occupying most times over-working and feeling lethargic to even take the chance of tarawih at night. Some are so busy doing last-minute shopping at the bazaar during the last 10 nights of Ramadan and totally ignore the opportunity for Laylatul Qadr. Aren’t we supposed to focus a little bit more on our ibadah and spiritual strengthening during the blessed month? Pause for a moment and think again about which decision should be made.

Among a few business owners or vendors, sadly, integrity sometimes is lost along the way. Selling tainted or contaminated food due to unhygienic handling, unreasonable price tags for goods, and worse, neglecting the need to make full use of Ramadan with good deeds, taking advantage of the month at their best. Some food vendors at the bazaar simply did not care about the hygiene of the food. Lack of hand washing between handling raw and cooked foods, unclean surfaces, and wearing dirty uniforms while some did not even care whether the food had turned bad, that could eventually lead to sickness and food poisoning. Not to mention unreasonable price points just by using the excuse of an increase in the price of goods. Though there are smart moves of not hiking up the price by going for portion control, however, the amount or the size of food served can be ridiculously small. The same goes for clothing lines and other Eid-ul Fitr preparations, the tags sometimes do not match the quality offered. Even sadder, some negligent vendors do not even care to fast during the holy month itself, using the excuse of being “too tired to fast”, let alone attending the tarawih prayers, yet busy chasing sales and revenues at the bazaar and Ramadan Festivals. The irony of requesting something (the rizq) from The Almighty but in return, none is given back as a sign of gratitude.

Some irresponsible individuals or even syndicates would play the sympathy card and actively beg for alms in the bazaar or even the streets, just because it is Ramadan. Posing as someone from madrasah, people of the waqf board for certain institutions, pretending to be handicapped, or having serious illness or injury are among the popular schemes to scam innocent people into giving money in the name of charity. We are not restricting people from giving out charity, or even asking for aid, assistance, or donations, especially this Ramadan; however, these particular moves have been making people have doubts, and bad perceptions and even misjudge every time the real, in-need individuals or organizations ask for donations. Let’s hope that there will be Taufiq and Hidayah given to irresponsible individuals or organizations to stop scamming people, and for the givers, to be granted clear thoughts and minds without any doubts when helping those in need.

It is not easy to get blessings, but it is not impossible…

Those might be the simplest and most common trials and tests we could see. Unquestionably, there are more. Guessed which is why Ramadan is full of blessing in the midst of trials. Ramadan surely is testing our patience, discipline, values, principles, and integrity, teaching empathy, generosity, and love. Only true devotees will pass with flying colors, uncover, and receive the blessings they truly need in life. We might be living through Ramadan but not benefitting from it. Trials are never bigger than blessings. Though it’s not easy, each one serves a specific purpose in our lives. Only with open hearts will we unveil the hidden ones of what The Almighty has prepared for us. Prayers to all that Ramadan this time shall be fruitful and better than what we had last time and may we be able to meet another Ramadan again next time. May the spirit of Ramadan stay with us throughout the year. Ramadan Kareem.






Raihana Ahmad Jalaluddin

Language Teacher

Centre for Language Studies,

Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)


This article was published in:

1. Bernama.com (bernama.com), 29 March 2024: RAMADAN, BLESSINGS IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS