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Human compassion

Mass prayers and iftars to break the fast cultivate a sense of brotherhood Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Mass prayers and iftars to break the fast cultivate a sense of brotherhood Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

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The holy month of Ramzan is not just a religious practice but significant for several layers of hidden meaning

Ramzan, the holy month for Muslims across the world, is characterised by spirituality, prayers, fasting, sharing, caring, charity, etc. It is, in fact, a month-long behavioural workshop for Muslims to refrain from mundane and materialistic pleasures, keep themselves away from the sins, steadfastly pray and consistently fast to invoke the divine grace of the Allah, the most beneficent and merciful!

During this period a lot of “unlearning” takes place in the behaviour of the faithful leading to formation of new and healthy habits. Habits are easier to make than to break. It is believed that if we consciously and continuously practice something with feeling for 21 days, we can either learn a new habit or unlearn some old undesirable one. If we repeat behaviour often enough, those synaptic pathways will be formed in the human brain. In the holy month, one is not supposed to harbour any negative feelings like envy, resentment, suspicion towards their fellow beings and instead show kindness, compassion and benevolence. This enables shedding negative feelings and developing positive thinking – vital for a successful life.

Self awareness and reflection are the key to enrich our life. The dawn to dusk fast gives an opportunity to empathise with the poor by realising the hunger pangs they undergo and prompting us to be charitable. It also enhances our respect for things we normally take for granted like food, clothing, housing, etc. By withstanding temptations of daily life, emotional intelligence is developed which leads to self-assessment and correction.

Research has proved the immense health benefits of fasting. It fosters good physical and mental health by getting rid of accumulated toxins in the body. A sense of moderation in consumption of food also comes into being.

Attending mass prayers and iftars to break the fast cultivate a sense of brotherhood which in turn makes us more caring. In fact as per Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam, it is incumbent upon every Muslim to give a certain percentage of his wealth to the poor, thus establishing an egalitarian society.

This yearly practice is akin to a workshop on health and human behaviour and the only difference is that it is free.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 8:47:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/human-compassion/article6229011.ece

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