A few years ago, I wrote an article here about the many benefits of Ramadan. I mentioned that the spiritual focus of the month stands in contrast to the commercialization that surrounds the "holiday season" of other faiths.
In recent years, there seems to be an increased media emphasis on Ramadan sales, Ramadan TV programming, and Ramadan travel. It seems to have become a month of consumption rather than a month of sacrifice.
This is particularly apparent on the Arabic satellite channels, which offer special Ramadan programming. In past years, these shows largely consisted of historical dramas, documentaries, and talk shows. For the past few years I have been watching a daily Ramadan program where a young man travels the Arab world and pointed out vices -- prejudice, dishonesty, even littering -- and encourages people to change bad habits ("Khawater," which is now in its 9th season).
More and more, however, the programming seems largely focused on soap operas and commercials. When I timed it several years ago, one program had over 12 minutes (!) of commercials in a half-hour show: for such items as soda pop, tea, jewelry, clothing, and mobile phone service. The most memorable was a commercial which showed a man breaking his fast with a huge buffet of food around him. He ate so much that he got sick. You can guess -- the commercial was for antacid medicine.
What do you think? Has Ramadan commercialism gone too far?
What do iftar, sadaqah, and i'tikaf mean? Check the glossary for the meanings of these common Ramadan terms.
Where I live, it is over 110 degrees Fahrenheit today (43 C), and it's only going to get hotter as the summer goes along! The fast of Ramadan is rigorous, particularly during long summer days when it may be required to resist all food and drink for as many as 16 hours at a time. This strain may be too much for people with certain health conditions... Read More
Time is running out for those who wish to make up missed Ramadan days from last year. It is recommended that they be made up, a day for a day, before Ramadan begins again. Who must make up fasting days, and when/how is it done? Read More
Today is the first day of Sha'aban, the month directly before Ramadan. The holy month of Ramadan will begin in less than one month! This period of fasting and spiritual renewal is observed by Muslims worldwide. Find out everything you need to know about Ramadan... Read More
This tool will allow you to determine the daily prayer and fasting times for almost any location in the world. Traveling soon? Also check our tips for traveling Muslims to learn how to order halal airline meals, where to locate halal restaurants, and how and when one can shorten or combine prayers during travel, among other tips.
Photo: China Photos / Getty Images
Takbeer! and thumbs up for this opinion piece from CNN, written by international human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar:
"Hey Boko Haram, have you read the Quran lately? Most of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world have, and we're utterly certain that it condemns kidnapping young girls and selling them into slavery -- no matter what you say "Allah" tells you..." Read More
Bring back our girls!
Who was the only Prophet of Islam whose people successfully left polytheism and turned to Allah? Read the story of Prophet Yunus (Jonah).
Islam teaches that after we die, we will be raised up again for judgment by Allah. On the Day of Judgment, all people will either be rewarded with eternity in Heaven, or punished with eternity in Hell. Have you thought about where you will be?
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