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The message of Ramazan: Live a righteous life
There was enough time for sun to set and he had already reached at the other side of the bridge. The light was streaking through the branches and leaves of the tamarind tree. The town was not far away as you could see the tops of minarets and visible silhouette of skyline in the distance. He calculated with his body clock looking at colors of horizon and the eagles floating in the sky that he would reach his home in time.

Rasheed parked his rickshaw at the roadside to stop for breath. There was still an ascent of the bridge and some  effort was required  to reach the crest. Today, he had got a good cargo of cardboard boxes for Rajbpur and was lucky to find a rich load on return. More than two hundred rupees in few hours was the just good reward of the extra sweat.

Today, he would take dates and some bananas and something nice for the Iftar to his house. His kids would be delighted to see the dates. Iftar-break novelties are costly and beyond the reach of a rickshaw puller. The other day his wife was telling about the smells of frying foods and fruits that were wafting through air, reaching their home and offending the senses of poor fasting little family. You could have food or these delicacies. Both couldn’t be in the reach of a poor family together even if it is Ramadan. A few moments of rest rejuvenated him and he was again on paddles to climb. Every round of the wheel began to sap his energy. He tried to remember what Moulana was saying at Friday sermon.

“Islam is a religion where it followers are taught to think others as much as they think of themselves to achieve the society which is just and at peace with itself. He was not learned enough to read the newspaper. However, as the journey was getting tougher he was trying to analyze the daily news of massacres and explosions in the Islamic countries. He was wondering if Islam is such a good religion why the Muslims are fighting with each other.

In the month of Ramdan, good Muslims share food at the Iftar breaks in mosques; in private parties they invite the peers and politicians; in their houses they eat the finest food of the year. Even in this holy month the distance, the lines of demarcation between rich and poor are clearly visible. Even in mosque the elites sit together. Poor masses and kids are kept at a safe distance. Service is accorded according to status.  

He thanked God when he reached the summit and now the time of easy descent began. Fresh breeze was blowing as his rickshaw was speeding down the bridge. In few minutes he was at the foot of bridge. The fruit vendors down the bridge were calling for freshness and declaring names of the special bounties of Ramadan. There was a galore of choice. By Anar, jannat ka mewa Rs 150 / Kg, Golden Apple Rs 180 / Kg and there was also a new fruit from New Zeland like cheeko with stalks. It was beyond reach for the normal man. Only the rich Muslims would afford it. He knew what he wanted and picked up, paid.

He was reaching the house as he saw Jameela, her distant aunty, walking with a limp. She was almost falling and took the support of wall. He felt she was about to collapse.

“Where from are you coming Khala….?”

“Sarkari Haspatal……..”

“What happened….?”

“Fever and weakness…………”

He asked Jameela to board the rickshaw and took her to house.

“Where is Ishaque, not seen for a weak? What is he doing?”

“Gone to Delhi…..looking for a job.”

Rashid looked about the hovel and found no sign of any food activity.

“Are you fasting…….?”

“No I can’t fast, I’m too sick.”

“Did you have your lunch ?”

“No……….” She confessed honestly as at least in Ramadan you can’t lie or pretend.

Rasheed looked at the blue dome without pillars. “Oh Allah, I thank thee for all the bounties you’ve showered upon me.”

“Aunty, I’ve brought some food and would be happy to share with you. Please take it and I’ll take care of you for tomorrow. Don’t worry.”

He left the aunty’s house as his kids were waiting at the chawl’s gate for his arrival.

He told his wife about the plight of Jamila aunty and explained why these packets were open. She gave a million silver smile, took with appreciation the few dates and bananas that he had saved for his family.

He went to the mosque and family broke their fast in the chawl as the cannon fired.

The Holy Quran says : “By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you spend of that which you love………..” (3:92)

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