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Guest Blog: Ramadan Reflection

Aug 24, 2011 — Categories: ,

Ramadan is a time for Muslims to improve themselves and strengthen their relationships with God. Muslims are asked to abstain not only from food, drink and sexual relations from dawn to dusk, but more importantly, to refrain from any immoral or harmful behaviors.

Ramadan is a time for Muslims to improve themselves and strengthen their relationships with God. Muslims are asked to abstain not only from food, drink and sexual relations from dawn to dusk, but more importantly, to refrain from any immoral or harmful behaviors. It is a time when Muslims often go out of their way to be more generous, give more charity, and be more helpful to others. It is a time when Muslims often strive to be the best they can be, to be self-disciplined as they seek to reach a higher level of spirituality. In Islam, faith in God must be translated into good deeds; it is not enough simply to believe in God and be spiritual without acting on what God has asked from us in terms of serving humanity and caring for His creation.

The Prophet Muhammad said that a Muslim is one from whom others are safe from his or her tongue or hand. In these last few days of Ramadan, as Muslims double up their efforts to obtain the most out of this holy month, it seems appropriate to engage in deep self-reflection and assessment. Have we hurt anyone with a word or a touch? Have we used our privilege or power to make someone else feel bad? Have we used our authority to take advantage of someone in a lesser position? Have we made sure that our intentions in our actions are purely to serve God and not our own interest at the expense of someone else?

It is extremely disturbing that in this holy month of self-purification and mercy towards others, a Muslim man could have his wife murdered within hours of breaking the fast. The tragic death of Nazish Noorani, mother of two young children, was reportedly not a surprise to her family. Her husband, Kashif Parvaiz, had apparently been abusive and had threatened to kill her. Not unlike other tragedies of this nature, murder was the culmination of other forms of domestic violence. To make matters worse, the murder was set up to look like a hate crime, with Parvaiz’s friend Antoinette Stephens carrying out the role of the shooter.  What benefit did Parvaiz derive from his fasting during this month when he was planning and plotting to kill his wife? How much damage has this one man caused, not only by killing an innocent soul, but in depriving his own children of their mother, depriving Nazish’s family and friends of her presence, and harming the entire Muslim community by faking a hate crime during a period in which many Muslims are already suffering from Islamophobia?

This deeply disturbing incident is another motivator to work harder in preventing domestic violence from occurring in the first place. It is too late to intervene after a life has been lost. It is important to recognize that threats, insults, beatings and other forms of abuse can be precursors to murder. At the first sign of red flags, it is imperative to seek some form of intervention (which at the very least could be assessment of risk). While most of us are not guilty of egregious forms of abuse, many of us have been guilty of using our tongue or our hands to hurt someone. These last few days of Ramadan provide an excellent opportunity to repent and seek forgiveness not only from God, but from the person(s) we have hurt. This is an opportunity to atone for our sins by being more proactive in doing good towards others, educating others about healthy relationships, and serving as role models for respectful and compassionate interactions with our fellow human beings. When each individual works on him or herself to treat everyone with dignity, then we can create communities and cultures in which domestic violence cannot survive.

Salma Abugideiri
Co-Director of Peaceful Families Project

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Posted by Tony Robertson at Aug 26, 2011 02:27 PM
This is a wonderful reflection for this time of the year. Here in the Southern Hemisphere we are preparing for Spring and my hope is that we can see a new companionship across the religious and cultural divide as we move from the chill of winter to the warmth and colours of a new season. I have tweeted this on my account http://twitter.com/#!/Cultureboy