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EditorialThe spirit of Ramazan

The spirit of Ramazan

The arrival of Ramazan brings about an atmosphere of festivity and celebration. Muslims strive to become closer to Almighty Allah by serving His beings, being patient, having empathy for the have-nots and sacrificing their desires. The basic idea behind fasting during this month is that Muslims purify themselves spiritually and physically and focus on their faith and relationship with Almighty Allah. Moreover, fasting allows one to learn patience and develop compassion for those who are not privileged enough to have three meals per day on ordinary days as well. Ramazan teaches us the importance of brotherhood and sharing what Almighty Allah has bestowed upon people. With respect to the economy, Ramazan brings certain benefits and challenges to society. In Pakistan, it is observed that prices of commodities such as fruits and vegetables significantly increase as soon as the moon of Ramazan is sighted. Although some blame it on the increase in the demand for such commodities, it is actually an artificial increase just to earn more profits. People treat these items as necessities during this season which is why vendors are able to charge as much as they want to. In retrospect, when the sales of such farm items increase it benefits the farmers and those in the agriculture business. Since small scale farmers do not earn well during other times, the month of Ramazan brings about blessings for them in the form of higher profits. However, sometimes this profit is eaten up by the middlemen who blame it on the transport costs. Although the month of Ramazan encourages people to be more just and honest in their dealings, the opposite happens in Pakistan. People here hoard commodities so that prices are increased and greater profits are earned. This must stop as it makes it extremely difficult for many to afford basic meals with whatever they earn.

This time around, the fuel costs are already high and if hoarding is done then an exponential increase in the prices of basic commodities will be witnessed. It is already unfortunate that Pakistan is facing high levels of inflation and with the arrival of Ramadan, there is another surge in prices. The increase in food prices is still understandable as it benefits small scale farmers, however, the increase in prices of other commodities is completely unacceptable. The top economic decision-making body of Pakistan approved a Rs.8 billion Ramadan Relief Package which will provide relief to people facing high inflation rates. With this package, at least 19 essential items will be available at subsidized rates at utility stores. Moreover, Ramadan bazaars set up by the government also provide items at subsidized rates so that people can have proper meals after long fasts in the summer heat. Ramadan comes to test believers on their faith and ability to keep away from worldly desires. However, it is made arduous by the difficult economic situation that people are put in. Sellers must not only think about their profits but also about being honest and just in their dealings as instructed in the scriptures and make Ramadan easy for people.

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