Even though Ramadan is a time committed to fasting, the consumption and distribution of goods and services in general and food articles in particular offer substantial implication during this pious month. Ramadan carries many leitmotifs or strands that mostly have moral insights.During this pious month we ought to control our Nafs and do away with our negative thoughts. According to Nurdeen Deuraseh and Mansor Talib (2005) Self or Nafs has been interpreted in many ways such as ego, soul, consciousness or psyche. Our holy book Quran in verse 4:1 has used the term Nafs in both micro (individual) and macro(collective) sense. It is representativeof that even thoughpeople areintegrated intoowning and enjoying the progressivepotentials of a Nafs, at an individual level they are in chargeof working out the interventions of the open will that it offers them.Holy Quran relates to everything in this universe from the minima to the maxima and Ramadan is no exception. It comes into renown the moment we control our Nafs, give up our egocentricity, and connect ourselves to our creator through our devotion.
Economics tells us that development and reassurance of individuality orself-interest by way of welfare encompasses the allocation of resources in a manner which is rational. According to Lionel Robins (1945) , wants are unlimited but means are limited having alternative uses and for that matter we face economic problems in the society: What to produce? How to produce? For whom to produce? We must control our wants and desires. If we allocate resources properly, we can maximize human welfare.
Ramadan promotes collectivism (eating in particular) but at the same time control of self-importance and negative vibrations and therefore collective wellbeing. Ramadan if followed in true letter and spirit will go a long way in controlling our so-called unlimited wants which are the root cause for our moral degradation.The dominant subject matter of Ramadan is the regulator of needs, aspirations, and Nafs. We need to google ou rphilosophies,thoughts, and accepted wisdom about needs and desires as governed through the brightness of Islam and its fundamentals.
If we wish to comprehendand appreciate the consumption pattern of the month of Ramadan, we must interrogate the fundamentals of Islam on the one hand and the Muslim way of living on another hand. According to Jorgen Hellman (2008), the month of Ramadan displays a sharp disparity to ordinary practices of life in certain ways, particularlywith reference to the nature of eating which is typicallywell thought-outas a private affair. The consumption pattern of oursbecome a group or collective action during the holy month of Ramadan which invites Barkat in our activities (socio-economic) when people are stimulated to break the fast in an orderly and collective manner in the evening and to share the dawn meal that is a sign of the commencement of every single day’s fast. In order to understand the consumption side of Ramadan, we need to understand the interface between our normal consumption patternand the consumption pattern during the month of Ramadan. It is necessary to demarcate a line between production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services in our ordinary business of life and Ramadan. While doing so we get conceptual clarity of consumption pattern.
As per the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is the ninth month celebrated by the Muslim community to honor and reminisce about the first Divine revelation of the Holy Quran to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).Since, man cannot accurately be directedon his own to the Divine paths and truths, henceforward there is a need for Deific solutions and revelations. And there is no denying the fact that Ramadan offer number of divinely answers to our queries that range from micro to macro level having broad social implications. We Muslims need to understand our religion and its fundamentals by letter and spirit. By doing so, we will actually get to know the nitty-gritty of Ramadan and its anticipated outcomes for the society.
Robins, L. (1945). An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science. Macmillan
and Co., Limited ST. Martin Street, London.
Hellman, J. (2008). The significance of eating during Ramadan: Consumption and Exchange of food in a village in West Java. Food and Foodways, 16:201–226.
—The author is an ICSSR Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir and Guest Faculty at NIFT, Srinagar. She can be reached at: email@example.com