quotes TheSpace: The lofty goals of Ramadan

23 March 2023
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Updated 23 March 2023

TheSpace: The lofty goals of Ramadan

Ramadan, the fourth pillar of Islam, corresponds to the ninth month of the lunar calendar, during which 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide fast from dusk until dawn.

Apart from the spiritual significance of the holy month, it provides fasters with numerous religious, health, economic and social benefits.

Among the religious benefits of Ramadan is that it draws Muslims closer to God and helps them achieve piety through worship, paying the compulsory zakat and reciting the Qur’an.

On the health front, it may assist in preventing diseases associated with excessive and irregular eating habits, such as obesity and diabetes.

Socially, Ramadan encourages unity and brings family members and friends closer together. Also, it allows one to empathize with poor and needy people worldwide.

Finally, Ramadan can have a positive financial impact on families’ spending habits by directing their attention to the food and drink needs of the holy month.

Despite the many noble benefits of the holy month, it is unfortunate that we often fail to capitalize on them.

Due to unwise spending, Ramadan has become a heavy financial burden on many Muslim families worldwide.

For example, according to Ogilvy Noor, it is estimated that Ramadan spending in the UK alone exceeds £200 million ($245 million) annually.

In Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world, the situation is not much different.

A recent study by the Saudi Family Affairs Council showed that, compared to last year, there was an increase of 44 percent in spending during this Ramadan season in the Kingdom, with over 50 percent of consumers influenced by deals and promotions during the month.

This is believed to be owing to an absence of consumer awareness and unjustified purchasing power, which ultimately reflects in price hikes in the market.

To avoid such unjustifiable spending and market price hikes, one must treat Ramadan as a normal month of the year by focusing on the religious aspects.

This will reduce the financial burden on families’ income and will minimize the amount of food wastage in the Kingdom. Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has estimated that the amount of food wastage at 466 million tons with total costs reaching approximately SR40.5 billion annually.

Talat Zaki Hafiz is an economist and financial analyst. Twitter: @TalatHafiz