Dubai – I must admit that having lived in the Middle East now for the last five years, I’ve picked up the bad habit of associating Ramadan with sluggish laziness. However, this has all changed fifteen days into the holy month. The discipline of rigid routine and divine spiritual motivation, are a potent medicine to a stark change in productivity.
Hailing from the imperial tea drinking isles, one can guess my colleagues background depending on the beverage in hand. I’d start the day with the ‘Sulaimani’ folk, meet with ‘Karrak’ fellows, gossip with the ‘Twinings’ crew, and banter with the ‘Shay Koshari’ lads. However, Ramadan had come to dramatically curb tea drinking as a meeting and conversation necessity, and abolish it all together helping clear weeks long backlog of admin work in the mere first days.
Forever talking about health and wellbeing, and the social elevation of looking sharper and fitter would grant us; the office guys had betted on various strategies to deliver them the envy of others. New year resolutions had deserted us; gym memberships had gotten stuck in the sand; and the 40C heat had trapped us in malls and shisha cafes. With this scenario in mind, I had the upper hand with Ramadan. I had taken the Quran’ic teaching ‘Children of Adam! Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals’ (Chapter 7- Verse 31) by the letter, taking seriously what goes into my evening meal and fighting all the ‘Iftar’ invites to not over indulge. One month is all I have!
Away from the food and drink, Ramadan has been a real catalyst to making my immediate circle of connections into better overall citizens. Contrary to the common misperception that people get short tempered throughout the fasting month; I’ve seen an extraordinary amount of smiles and a general eagerness to helping one another. Being a time of outreach and rekindling old relationships, it’s been heartwarming especially for hose around me experiencing Ramadan away from family and familiar surroundings. The thought of possibly being forgotten is a funny, distant mirage.
Nineteen days into Ramadan, I pray that we observe it to the end, as it has been a gentle yet very structured program of change. Not only stopping at changing behavior, the condition of the body and soul; I think it frees up the mind to have a think about where we are and how long we can continue the positive change or how to change for the good if we’ve yet to take the first step. If you’ve done it for a month, surly you can do it for another. And another.
This article is written by El-Zafarani Osman