The Rational Way of Welcoming Ramadan

Muhammad Abdullah Javed
April 12, 2021

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With the advent of Ramadan a glittering change all around can be witnessed, as if darkness in the ambiance has experienced a precipitous illumination. Ramadan is a spring month that nourishes virtues in the heart as rain helps vegetation grows from the earth.

It’s a month of the Quran, a Book that leads human kind from the depth of darkness (ظلمات) to the light of guidance (نور), beyond that….rejuvenates the human life itself. It’s the month of fasting that helps realize the bounties (نعمہ) of the Creator and overcome the weaknesses. It’s the month of awards and rewards, the fasting, the prayers, the remembrance of Allah, the alms and charity…all have their own multifold rewards as compared to what one gets in normal days. It’s the month of mercy, love, and feeling ones’ pain, as fasting demands abstinence from food, water and sexual desires. 

Being conscious of pains and problems, the Muslims form a versatile relationship with the human beings. It becomes moral and religious responsibility of each and every one to fulfill the need of any person who experiences hunger and thirst. If one goes with this spirit of Ramadan, the progress can be seen both at individual and societal planes.

The blessed month Ramadan revolves around the dignity and reverence of the Quran. Just look at the sequence, the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan (Surah Al-Baqarah: 183), it’s a month of fastings, the fastings have been prescribed to cultivate piety (تقوی) and piety has been made obligatory to understand and get acquaint with Quranic guidance.

The one, who gets to depth of its spirit, tries for self-purification and understanding of the Quran is truly blessed. Just ponder, is it possible to reach to desired levels of understanding the Quran through prayers, fastings (صیام), standing in the night (قیام اللیل) and recitation of the Quran (تلاوت) ? For a fair understanding of the Book, try and find perfect answers for the following: 

(1) How the Quran deals with its subject “man” - and what is its view point about the society?

(2) How the Quran formulates the tenets of faith along with expressing the ideas and views that are essential for a man?

(3) How this Holy Book explains the principles of moral and ethical values for the purpose of social and familial existence?

(4) What is the message for humanity that the Quran conveys?

(5) What is the outlook of the Quran regarding the world, universe, life and death?

(6) How it elaborates the concepts of success and failure?

(7) How it elucidates the conceptual details pertaining to virtues and vices?

(8) What criteria and standards should be used to judge the authenticity and genuineness of the Quran?

(9) What are the Quranic ideas of propagation of virtues and eradication of evils?

(10) How Quran can be a Book of Guidance for the entire humanity?

If given serious thought to these queries and ensure a regular sitting for individual and collective studies of the Quran, a vibrant and lively relation with the Book is bound to happen. Recitation, memorization and application of the verses help understand the distinguished features of the Quran. With its unique style of proclamation, admiration, negation and addressing the human intellect, the Quran stands tall as the only source of guidance for the humanity. Its teachings help understand that the Quran:

• Introduces the Creator through His creatures.
• Describes the Blessings of God.
• Cultivates both fear and love of the Creator in the heart.
• Introduces those whom God loves.
• Introduces those whom God does not like
• Presents the words of God that help understand the forms of worship.
• Provides means to obey the Creator with intense love.
• Refreshes thoughts and keeps the hopes alive.
• Inspires to be good and do good.
• Develops personality with a balanced approach for nourishment of the traits.
• Offers guidance for the business and transactions.
• Tells how to behave with parents, children, and neighbors.
• Unveils the secrets of happy married life.
• Helps society scale heights of peace and progress.
• Inculcates a burning desire for promotion of virtues and eradication of evils from the society.
• Presents solutions for the burning issues.
• Suggests methods for fulfilling the necessities of life.
• Teaches the secrets of success and failure.
• Reveals hard realities of life.
• Carries the readers along with the discussion to be its part.
• Puts analytical discussion to distinguish between true and false god.
• Poses questions.
• Develops a sense of superior being in every individual.
• Invites to think over the self and the entire universe.
• Discusses the lives of the Prophets with emphasis on the behavioral attitudes of their followers.
• Takes on a journey of the past.
• Explains the rise and fall of the nations.
• Prepares for the next life.
• Explains the ways of admission in paradise.
• Suggests ways for protection from hell.

Gear up for an absolute understanding of the Quran this Ramadan. Ensure that the queries and the distinguished features accompany you and become a part of your intellect, should create interest while reading the Book and inspire to be an ardent follower of its teachings, all the way, all the time.

 

The author is the Director of AJ Academy For Research and Development, Raichur, Karnataka. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 5,2021

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There have been several claims of undercounting the number of COVID deaths on the part of the government. This is a result of several factors, but most significantly, the number of corpses piling up in crematoriums and burial grounds. According to those who run crematoriums, the number of deaths due to COVID sent for cremation is much higher than what is disclosed by the government.
 
This issue isn’t limited to any one state, as there have been reports of the same in several states, including Karnataka, UP and the capital, Delhi. The crisis of having too many bodies and insufficient means to dispose of them is making people notice. NGOs are helping with cremations outside crematoriums, in parks etc. The crematoriums themselves are working towards building more cremation platforms. 

People running burial grounds and crematoriums are not turning people away. This has led to long queues for the same. In an interview with NDTV, a man who had lost his father to COVID said, “Earlier we were struggling to get oxygen, now we are struggling for cremation. The Government is useless.”

The owners of certain crematoriums state that those who die at home are not reported as COVID deaths in an official capacity, despite having succumbed to COVID. Several people are at home due to a lack of hospital beds and oxygen. They are being turned away from the hospitals. 

There have been mixed reactions to these claims. Most state governments are paying it no heed, and continuing to report deaths as they did prior to it. Adithyanath, however, has reacted with having the open sides of Rajghat covered up with cloth and plastic banners. This blocks the view to the cremation grounds and any bodies that might be piling up there. The banners claim that photography and videography of the cremations within the grounds would be considered criminal activity. It cites religious sanctity as its reason. 

The situation is dire. Overwhelming evidence states that the number of deaths of people diagnosed with COVID may be much higher than that being reported. This does not even begin to count the fact that there are plenty of people unable to get tested. This paints a truly grim picture of the COVID situation in India. 

The Madras HC on Monday severely reprimanded the Election Commission for allowing campaign rallies to take place during the pandemic. They went as far to say “Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19. Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably.”

The Co-Win portal and the announcement of vaccines for those aged 18-44 followed by the lack of production is another factor causing people to raise their voice. There are far too many accusations of improper administration for it to be brushed off without address. 

A report in the Financial Times stated that the, “numbers of Covid victims who have been cremated are 10x larger than official Covid death counts in same areas.” The state India is in is capturing global attention. 

The situation right now calls for many questions. What are the true numbers? How many decisions, like the EC’s decision to give parties the go ahead, were promoted by political reasons? How many were financially motivated? Where does public welfare stand among the list of reasons?

The glaring question, of course, is why?

Why is the government underreporting the COVID deaths all over the country?

The number of deaths, the state of the hospitals, the lack of vaccines, and the political rallies etc. all point towards one thing. Inefficient administration. The possibility that the underreporting is a ploy by the government to seem like they have a better handle on the situation is becoming more and more likely. 

It isn’t a new concept for governments to cover up things leading up to the election. There are thousands of cartoons that just speak about deceit before the election. 

It is an insidious idea, but that does not make it less likely. This is a matter of national and global importance. Underreporting the deaths due to COVID could skew research studying the fatality of this wave of the virus. It is also vital that the citizen see the gravity of the situation. The government must address the disparity in the numbers and provide clarity to the citizens.

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Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 4,2021

The IPL is being suspended now in the wake of several players testing positive for COVID. This occurred despite the prior claims of the bio bubbles being an effective way to prevent transmission. 

Despite many accusation of insensitivity, the BCCI were content to let the IPL go on until this development. This is despite the massive COVID crisis India is suffering through.

As Indians on social media clamored for help due to the lack of beds and oxygen in the hospitals in the middle of the pandemic, names of cricketers fill the headlines. The IPL has always been a massive event in India. However, in the wake of a global health crisis that required the 2020 Olympics to be postponed, the fact that the IPL was conducted comes as a shock. 

Several cricketers withdrew from playing this year. Their reasons ranged from having relatives who have tested positive, being wary of putting their vulnerable loved ones at risk, fear of being unable to return home as international airport ban travelers from India etc. However, several big names still lent their support to the IPL being conducted mid-pandemic among players and patrons alike. Notably, there is Jay Shah, BCCI Secretary and son of the Home Minister, Amit Shah. A senior Indian cricket board official had told Reuters that the IPL must go on as it lifts spirits in times of such negativity. 

This of course, is a gross oversimplification as cricket does give entertainment, it is also a group sport. Despite claims of being extensive in taking precautionary measures, multiple players are now infected, and everyone who has interacted with the players have been exposed to the virus. 

This raises the question whether the BCCI will rethink its statements regarding T20. The BCCI had priorly stated that T20 would be conducted. They added that in case they are unable to conduct T20 in India due to COVID, their plan B is to have it hosted in UAE, rather than cancelling the event.

While the BCCI’s move to conduct the IPL can be considered disgraceful, the reactions to the same were not much better. Media houses, too, rushed at the opportunity of giving news coverage to the IPL. Several people like Faye Dsouza and Rana Ayyub are using social media to shed light on the severity of the COVID situation in India. This includes posting videos of crematoriums etc. that are not getting covered by mainstream media. Amidst this, big media houses seemed to be content in highlighting cricket. 

The New Indian Express stood out among other reputed media houses in India.  They posted an announcement from the Editor stating that they will not be covering the IPL as they disagree with it being held in the midst of such a tragic time. 

Each match so far has been extensively covered by several media houses. Meanwhile, the SC had to give specific orders to stop booking people for asking for help finding oxygen, beds or medicine in the wake of scores of cases of the same occurring in UP, Maharashtra and Haryana. 

There is no doubt that the move to suspend the IPL was a wise one, but the timing of it is still questionable. It seems as though to the IPL organizers and player, the issue that is causing people to die in thousands in the country did not matter until it reached their arena. It is also dubious to the ethics of news to have media houses covering cricket at this time. 

While ‘to entertain’ may be one of the functions of the news, it seems as though ‘to inform’ and ‘to educate’ have taken a backseat.

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News Network
May 4,2021

Bengaluru, May 4: A startling fact that emerged out of the Chamarajanagar tragedy is the absence of an oxygen bottling plant in several districts. As many as nine districts of Karnataka - Gadag, Chikkaballapur, Chitradurga, Bidar, Yadgir, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, Mandya and Udupi rely on neighbouring districts for oxygen in the absence of a dedicated plant.

This increased dependency on neighbouring districts has led to uncertainty in supply as logistical issues like distance, time, condition of oxygen tankers and breakdowns have affected the timely delivery of oxygen. 

Chitradurga, for example, relies on oxygen supply on Davangere. Chitradurga DHO Dr Palaksha C L, said, "We have a storage capacity of 6,200 litres at the district hospital. Even then we need oxygen refilling every alternate day from Southern Gases in Davangere. We've got 60 jumbo cylinders and another 90 donated by NGOs."

Surprisingly, Yadgir district hospital gets 2,500 litres of oxygen all the way from Chennai. The oxygen is transported from Praxair company in Chennai to Ballari and then to Yadgir, said district health officer Dr Indumati Kamshetty. "The entire district needs 5,000 litres per day. While private hospitals get it from the Kalaburagi district, we get it twice a week from Chennai via Ballari. We do not have the luxury of waiting till some hours of oxygen is left so we get a refill when there's a buffer stock of two to three days as it takes days to travel and reach here," she said.

Mandya District Health Officer Dr Manche Gowda said they rely on Mysuru for the supply. While Mandya Medical College has a 13 kilolitres capacity, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences has another 13 kilolitres, Sanjo Hospital has two kilolitres storage. "We get a refill three to four times a day if there's a requirement. While the government hospitals alone require 350 jumbo cylinders, we need 500 per day," Gowda said.

Karnataka's oxygen allocation has been increased from 802 metric tonnes per day to 865 metric tonnes per day. But the state requires 1,471 tonnes of oxygen. A total of 675 metric tonnes of oxygen out of 815 produced in the state go to the consumers in the state, the rest 140 tonnes are sent to other states. Karnataka also procures 130 tonnes from other states.

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