Ramadan in Bangladesh
Sharmin Ruba, che lavora per Islamic Relief in Bangladesh, racconta come la sincerità è alla base del sostegno fornito alle persone vulnerabili questo Ramadan.
For me Ramadan, it is special, as fasting is a way to get closer to Allah. The Quran clearly states: “Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those who were before you, in the hope that you may become Allah-fearing.”
All year round, I am looking forward to experiencing the blessed month, which is completely different in Bangladesh than at any other time of the year. It is full of unique events, special flavors and smells. The government cuts working hours by one hour, which allows people to go home earlier and prepare for the evening. Me, I read the Koran and prepare one or two special dishes for the iftar.
Sometimes I am invited for iftar, but I politely refuse because I prefer to stay at home and break the fast with my family.
I have two children, aged 13 and 19. They both started fasting at the age of nine – when fast food was an incentive for their fasting. Now, they avoid fast food restaurants being aware that they are not healthy.
This is the month in which sincerity – one of the founding values of Islamic Relief – particularly stands out, in my opinion. I try to keep this principle alive in my daily life, because I know that my prayers and repentance will be accepted by Allah.
Sincerity became even more important to me during the Covid pandemic. Last they, we experienced a Ramadan that no one had ever experienced. Our government imposed a national lockdown and we stayed home. We were all stuck in our homes.
There was no hustle and bustle in the streets, caused by people buying food. All the shops and supermarkets were closed. People could not go to mosques for jumuah and Eid prayers, and for the first time there was no Eid shopping. We are missing the precious and small encounters with close family and friends.
This Ramadan will not be very different. Covid is spreading very quickly in Bangladesh, more intensely than last year. So, I think we should be very cautious and we should respect social distancing. My in-laws – both elderly and vulnerable – live with us, so I strongly avoid any kind of meeting, because I think of them.
I learned from my parents that whatever you do, you have to do it in the best way possible – and when a person does a good job like fasting and prayer, he feels a great deal of satisfaction. I believe that without sincerity, one cannot achieve success in life. And my sincerity is manifested in finding myself assigned important tasks. And there are few more important tasks than the work we do here at Islamic Relief.
The organization quickly responded to the outbreak of the Covid emergency. The entire staff in Bangladesh worked tirelessly to try to counter the pandemic by providing support to the most vulnerable communities. My colleagues abandoned their families to help evacuate people in the coastal area and provided them with vital assistance.
Islamic Relief continued to be a lifeline as the country faced an economic crisis in addition to the health emergency. Many have lost their livelihoods, leaving them unable to provide basic food and hygiene needs, such as soap, face masks and hand sanitizer.
We have remained at the forefront of providing necessary information to the poorest communities, showing them how social distancing and good hygiene can help protect them from the Coronavirus.
I am fully aware that this Ramadan will be difficult for many of us. The worries caused by the virus add to an ever deeper poverty, together with the uncertainty of the next meal. Islamic Relief will always stand by their side, putting sincerity into practice, as we work to relieve their hunger and provide them with relief. For this, I am grateful to our big-hearted global donors during and beyond Ramadan.