The ninth holy month of Islam came to a borderline on Friday as more than a billion Muslims across the world and approximately five million Kenyan Muslims observed the “month of blessing” marked by prayers, fasting and charity. As Ramadan comes to an end, what values did non-Muslims learn from this holy month?
“Unity is strength, division is weakness.” Popular Swahili proverb affirms. In various ways, the holy month of Ramadan has laid out that even the weak become strong when they are united. In Ramadan, Muslims join hands in doing most of the daily basis activities to make them a success. For instance, most sumptuous and delicious “Iftar” (Meals taken by Muslims after breaking the fast). A group of people coming together to contribute towards its making.
“In the evening, Muslims eat on the same table and share food together. That is something we Christians should borrow as it symbolizes togetherness which in the postmodern world, we have been oblivious of this value,” noted Felistus Oduor.
Speaking on several Iftar luncheons, political leaders in the spirit of the famous handshake led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Hon Raila Odinga back peddled their message for unity to help in nation building.
Muslims have been more charitable in this fasting. This has been exhibited through generosity and good will towards othe less fortunate in the society. The experience of hunger and thirst makes them empathize with those around them who have little or nothing to eat. As a result, the haves are obligated to share their blessings by feeding the have nots’ and making contributions in mosques.
Emmanuel Terer, a motivational speaker says, “As a Christian, the month of Ramadan motivates us to help the poor and literally gives us thirty ways of changing the lives of the less fortunate and the helpless.”
Refinement of manners
During Ramadan, Muslims get the opportunity to review and give their somber social behaviors a second thought in view of ‘cleansing’ them. Objectively, some habits die hard but manners related to truthfulness and discharging of trust are mainly refined in this fasting period. Apart from prayers, Muslims abstain from vices that tend to taint their fast like lying, smoking, drinking and proscribed sexual relations.
Dennis Bundi, a catholic relates this refinement of manners with the wave of corruption that has been the subject of discussion in the past few days. “Truthfulness and integrity are values that every public servant should uphold to prevent cases of corruption in the country.”
Abstaining from vices forbidden in the Holy Scripture for 30 days also means that we can live in chastity for as long as it takes, Sheila reinstates.
Despite experiencing hunger and thirst, Muslims master their desires and impulses to avoid eating or drinking until dusk. Any temptations capable of tainting their fasts are stoutly evaded in order to fulfill their fasting intentions. Controlling your temper is a form of self-control mostly witnessed in the month of Ramadan
Ekila Mwihaki says “In this period I found out that when Muslims are wronged, the short tempered try their best to avoid conflicts and forgive their transgressors. I think each one of us should embrace such to resolve our differences without turning physical.”
According to Eugine Kabasa, self-control helps one to live up to social and ethnic standards.
Values Consistency “Muslims tend to be more pious in the holy month than other times,” narrates Dennis Saina but is this what it should be?
Even supposing Ramadan only lasts for 30 days, its true essence is in applying the philosophy of Ramadan in Muslims’ daily lives, and maintaining the restraints and devotion acquired during the holy month throughout their existence.