Ramadan Quake

People eat more in “Ramadan”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan. To be specific, I mean people in Muslim majority countries – well I mean Pakistan actually. It is possible that Muslims in places like Canada also eat more than their norm, but probably not to the same extent.

Every year without fail in this country the prices of all food stuffs go “up”:http://www.dawn.com/2005/10/28/local6.htm drastically come Ramadan. Every year the newspapers decry this and blame the moon, the government, UFO’s and just about everything else which they can think of. In drawing rooms around the country, people are doing the same thing as they eat and eat and eat…

One of the more illogical arguments advanced over iftars is that those damned shopkeepers know ramzan is here so they jack up the prices *becasuse people have to buy food for iftar!* Oh goodness gracious!! Good thing ramzan only lasts for a month, and people no longer *need* to buy food afterwards. Heads nod sagely over the iftar feast, mouths to full to speak.

Well, that was last ramzan. Another ramadan comes to an end – but this one was “different”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Kashmir_earthquake.

Every Ramadan, there are reports of hoodlums harressing people eathing before iftar. Someone, just back from the Northen Areas, told me of how some maulvis tried to stop them from preparing food for people who had gone without a -decent- meal for days. The maulvis had to be driven off by force of arms. Yet others, on national TV, including the leaders ofthe MMA (the ruling party in the NWFP) proclaimed that the earthquake was brought on by the wrath of God because of a gay marriage held a few days before the earthquake. Not to be outdone by the men, another mad woman, Dr. Farhat Hashmi proclaimed that every single victim of the quake was a sinner and deserved to die. So the madness continues, but from what I’ve heard such people have been sidelined by those actually doing work – no one has time for such inanities.

For example, Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, Secretary General of the MMA wants foreign relief workers, including pilots etc. kicked out of the country. Before the quake, going by the government’s track record, they would have at least paid lip service to this – they’ve given in to practically all his demands. Now, he’s been told to get lost in no uncertain words by the govt. In the good Maulana’s world helicopters can fly themselves and wounds can heal on their own. Perhaps he was just following his good friend Mushies example, who wanted Indian helicopters without pilots. It logically follows that all other helicopters should also be without pilots, along with scalpels and sutures without doctors – trained personnel are overrated in the big M’s world.

Traditionally, the weeks before eid are shoppers paradise, where people pull out all the stops and buy buy buy! The quake changed -everything- somethings. No shopping and no eating out by most. The newspapers have done a number of articles on how “people are just not shopping”:http://www.dawn.com/2005/10/28/local13.htm. Some shopkeepers are upset – Ramadan is their busiest month. Three guesses as to where that money is going. Karachi is the economic capital of the country – somewhere b/w 50-70 percent of the entire country’s economic activity takes place here. A decent portion of that is being put to good use. The whole country is astir.

!http://static.flickr.com/25/56862288_7032a3317f_m.jpg! In other news, “intensive negotiations” are taking place b/w India and Pakistan about “opening the borders”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4357006.stm to facilitate relief efforts and movement of desperately needed supplies. These negotiations should be taking place in Muzaffrabad, istead of Islamabad and Delhi – that just might speed them up. Practically, every family in the belt along the Line of Control has been divided. Thousands of families on either side of the LoC await final information about their relatives – as the Indian and Pakistani govts. continue wasting time politicking. Note the word *governments* – polls in both countries show that the majority of people want joint releif operations. Ironically, while both armies put together can’t stop militants crossing over, they are doing a great job of stopping aid workers and the victims of the earthquake. After all, people pose a far great danger to the status quo between the two nations than any militant group.

Still, on November 7, 2005 the “LOC”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_of_Control is slated to open at one point, with 2 more to follow. Hopefully they’ll make the visa process simpler, as refugees and aid workers will need to go through one of the most convoluted visa processes in the world to cross over. For most Pakistanis/Indians it is still impossible to get a visa for India/Pakistan.

The cogs grind slowly in Islamabad and Delhi, and one can hear them squeaking all the way down in Karachi.

Update: “BBC:Kashmir civilian crossing delayed”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4412004.stm

bq.. The deal struck between India and Pakistan a week ago was intended to allow Kashmiris divided by years of conflict to help each other following the 8 October quake.

The BBC’s Chris Morris in Islamabad says it now looks more like a symbolic gesture than a historic breakthrough. Both sides blame a range of logistical problems, as well as each other, for the setbacks.

6 thoughts on “Ramadan Quake”

  1. Don’t know where did u read the comments from Dr Hashimi but here are her comments after the quake. please quote the source before calling anyone mad just b/c you don’t like their religious views or thoughts.

    But I agree about galloping lots of foods. but on the other hand. Its govt responsibility to check profiteering, hoarding and gouging. People in US gouged Gas after 9/11 they gouged after Katrina. But the law can catch them and punish them. Nobody told the american citizen’s to stop driving to cure for gouging.


    After the Trauma – What next?


    Respected sisters and brothers,

    Assalaam O’Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.

    Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

    ‘We shall surely test you with fear and famine, with loss of property, life and produce. Give good news to those who endure with patience. Who, when afflicted with calamity say : We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return’. (Al Baqarah:155-6)

    One such calamity was the earthquake that shook Pakistan last week. It was indeed an overwhelming and traumatic period for the entire nation. Now, we find ourselves confused and swamped with questions, wondering as to how and why it happened?

    The fact is, behind Allah’s every decision is His great wisdom, the reasons for which cannot always be fully comprehended. The believer, however, should be certain that Allah (swt) has intended betterment for him in whatever has been inflicted on him. He should, therefore, never remain indifferent but rather strive for improvement on every level. At this critical point in time, when we, as individuals as well as a nation, have been shaken, we must search for some line of action. Instead of reflecting and questioning ‘why’, we must consider ‘what next’?

    For oneself:

    Sudden calamities remind us of the unpredictability of our fragile lives. They remind us about the fact that anything can happen any where, any time and we could be the possible victims. How can a believer, whose aim is seeking Allah’s pleasure and attaining Paradise, not take life seriously and avail of its every moment? We never know when our life’s countdown will tick its last. We must reassess ourselves and see the level of our obedience to Allah, the commitment if any, that we have with our deen, and our efforts in seeking Allah’s pleasure. We should also do tawbah and a lot of istighfar for all our sins and shortcomings.

    At the same time we must not forget our responsibility of taking others along with us. A hadeeth explains that we must command good and forbid evil in order to be worthy of Allah’s help. The time and opportunity that we have now been left with must be availed. Life is too short for regrets.

    For the lost victims:

    Those whom we have lost in this calamity are indeed in need of our prayers. We must keep positive hopes for those victims who passed away in a state of fasting, that Allah The Merciful will resurrect them on the Day of Judgment on their faith, as martyrs.

    May Allah recompense them with goodness in the Hereafter for what they have suffered in this world. Indeed, it is a sorry state; but we as believers should be more concerned for their eternal and much intense Akhirah. What helps the deceased most is prayers. So, pray for their forgiveness and success. (Masnoon Duas for the dead are given on page 6, 7 of the book “Akhri Safar ki Tayyari”)

    For the survivors:

    People of all ages, from various walks of life – who were playing different roles until the day fate struck them – students, shopkeepers, housewives – every imaginable individual! These are the people who may now still be under the rubble crying for help, severely injured, orphaned and the homeless – who have nothing left except what is in their stomachs and what covers their bodies.

    They are in need of our care and concern – both financial and moral. A hadeeth explains that on the day of judgement, Allah will remove the hardships of those who, in the dunya, removed hardships of others. It becomes incumbent upon us as believers to extend our helping hands to the ones who have been affected.

    With Allah’s help Al-Huda relief team has formulated a two-step rehabilitation program, details of the relief effort can be viewed on the official website:



    Dr. Farhat Hashmi

    5th Nov. 2005


  2. The Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail interviewed Hashmi, and published it on Oct 29, 2005. Unfortunately, the interview is no longer online – you have to pay to access it. Also see:

    * Daily Times: “Quake God’s punishment for immoral activities: Farhat Hashmi”:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2005%5C11%5C01%5Cstory_1-11-2005_pg7_43

    * Globe and Mail: “Earth-shaking statement”:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20051101/LETTERS01-4/TPEducation/

  3. As I do agree that Pakistanis do buy, buy, and buy, when Eid arrives, but the fact is that Pakistanis do buy even further more when it comes to christmas because we are forgeting our ways and following other communitys celebrations.

  4. Dr. Farhat Hashmi’s comments are usually twisted by those who oppose her. Read her message carefully (or even bettter email her to clarify, if you care) and ask different ulema (try online on: sunnipath.com, askimam.com, or islamonline.net for instance) about what the Quran says in this regard (about calamities, etc) and then seek to know what the conditions of those who lived in that place of earthquake were before you come to such a judgement. Many matters were related about that place – of its current “trends” and sins, which could have been the source of this calamity. Don’t try to be too apologetic about the truth.

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