Almost all religions ,and cultures alike , across the globe ,portray children as godly-perfect beings(metaphorically speaking) and ,as such, handle them carefully .In Mark 10:14;Matthew 18:3 Jesus Christ asserts that the ‘Kingdom of God’ belongs to them.
This is so because their minds are still naïve in the light of the vulgar aspects of life.
Accordingly, the prophet Isaiah, saw in his vision seraphims (youthful angels) surrounding God’s throne (Isaiah 6:1-2). Even an animal of a base instinct such as a dog, no matter how fierce it might be, oftentimes jealously guard and would fight to death in order to protect its youngsters. Every society that seriously considers its self-renewal, perpetuation or sustainable development has a mandate to guard its offspring from danger.
Contrary to the above-mentioned virtues, children have joined the world’s oldest profession, prostitution and our salacious men, some very old, for that matter, are preying on them. Yes tones and tones of paper and volumes of ink have been used to campaign against girl child premature marriages but to date little or nothing at all has been said about girl-child prostitution yet the girl –child is very vulnerable. For example, it is estimated that about 60% of those who are HIV positive or have died of AIDS are the youthful. Or maybe much has been said about the problem in question but little has been done to address it—just a talk-show. Does it imply then that this (child prostitution) is a better evil?.
According to statistics child prostitutes constitute a large percentage of the population. Some, as young as 10, are always seen swarming around beer-halls like bees around a flower and that is a very disturbing trend indeed!. And countries which are leading culprits in this regard include Sri Lanka, Thailand, Brazil and even the US, the so-called paragon of civilized societies. Thailand, for example, registered about 800 000 child prostitutes who were below 16 years in 2004 while UNICEF indications are that there are at least 40 000 recognized child prostitutes in Sri Lanka.
The U.S.A boasts of between 1,4 to 2,4 million children as young as 12 who have joined this risky trade. As if this tragedy were not enough on its own, the desperate toddlers are subjected to sexual exploitation as most are getting as little as 80p per transaction, an amount that is just enough to secure basic needs.
For fear of reviving your wounds let me not venture into the emotive topic of child trafficking by some unscrupulous money-maniacs. These ‘kids’ are used and abused for the purposes of turning them into prostitutes ,for personal gain, by these greedy people who are ,at best ,without a single soft spot on their hearts and ,at worst ,heartless.
The situation is even worse during wartimes when these vulnerable and gullible people are lured or forced to render free sexual services to soldiers. According to Wikipedia globally more than 10 million children, especially in South America and Asia, are forced into prostitution each year and in Third World, developing countries, it is estimated that a significant number of children are on the streets.
A wide range of factors account for this trend but, due to both time and space, this writer will identify only a few:
First, unlike was the case in the yesteryears, nowadays children are being thrust into the world of adulthood at a very tender age. In this age of globalization, in which by merely pressing the knob of a computer, one is exposed to what is happening millions of kilometers away, these youngsters view various obscenities on the internet eg pornographic materials.
This equally applies for modern entertainment, on romance, which the girl-child views daily on the television screen. And all children would want to experiment what they see thereon. Seeing is believing, they say, as opposed to hearsay or town-talk.
Added to this problem is poverty, coupled with child –headed families, as the AIDS pandemic continues to spread its tentacles into the social fabric at alarming proportions.
The child, especially the girl-child, would have the unenviable burden to fend for both herself and her youngsters. This is the traditional role of women, in general. Self-preservation, they say, is a natural instinct in the face of danger, unless one has a disproportionately large sense of endurance or sacrifice, large enough to equal that of Jesus Christ who offered his life in order to save the world. Such rare people are indeed abnormal.
Our law has nothing to do with either the abnormal (above the normal) or the subnormal (below the normal) but the normal, usual or reasonable man (diligens paterfamilias standards) whose conduct we must strive to emulate. Harsh economic times can easily weaken one’s moral stamina .In that context, one hardly thinks of morality while on an empty stomach. This is the case of the proverbial drowning person, who can do anything, even if it means clinging to straw, in a bid to save deal life. The implications are self-evident.
Most Schools of Thought hold the view that the end justifies the means while others contend that the means must justify that end. According to the former group of philosophers what is important is merely getting food on the table and not how that food has been obtained and this is the reasoning of most people, including the girl child herself. But this solution amounts just winning a single battle and not the war or to what Shakespeare describes as merely ‘scotching the snake but not killing it’ as it begets worse problems such as HIVAIDS. To the girl child it never rains but it pours. It would appear as if all the plagues of Egypt and a few more have combined their crushing weight against her.
Over and above that, poverty-related accommodation problems can also contribute to the above tragedy. We shall revisit this issue next week when we explore the concept parental abuse.
Peer pressure (45% of the cases) from deviant girl children, who even come from well-to-do families, and attendant juvenile delinquency is another cancer that has been eating from the heart aspects of the girl-child morality to a point where she is now a bare skeleton of moral decay. This is understandable because children, and practical experience has proved, time without number, are both impressible and impressionable.
The death of the traditional extended family network, which used to allow uncles and aunties to play a crucial role in the upbringing of the child so that shehe would grow up with a sense of moral values, has not helped the situation either. This is the dark side of capitalism and westernization in typical African settings.
Capitalism is also associated with materialism or the urge to get rich at the slightest given opportunity and at whatever cost, even if it means prostitution .The vultures of Westernization have not only killed the animal of African culture but are also picking clean its decomposing carcass. Needless to say, the disintegration of the traditional extended family system has engendered the development of street ‘kidding’ to those orphaned children who have nowhere to go. Apart from begging, these kids tend to supplement their meager alms with money gained from prostitution. This disintegration of the extended family has other implications – the phenomenon of sugar daddies and jelly-mummies.
In the past all elderly persons used to regard every child, even non biological ones, as their own product and would always be indifferent to the girl’s sexual appeal, no matter how appetizing or mouth-watering she might be. Furthermore, the elderly had a right to discipline every child ,anywhere ,but now that is regarded unlawful ,unless one is either in a protective relationship with the child or has another legal duty to perform concerning the child. As a result, the child is now at liberty to misbehave, while away from the watchful eye of her parents. Our governments deserve blame in this regard.
Also, back then one‘s biological product would always be one‘s child no matter how old, till death did them part, and would always be given advice by these parents. All this has been overturned by the so-called Legal Majority Age (18) that has been misconstrued to mean upon the attainment of the above age a child is automatically free to mislead herself, away from the wise advisory words of her parents. The children tend to forget that these parents are tried, tested and trusted in this regard. Perhaps, to sound like John Dewey, the Pragmatist Philosopher, they (parents) have long worn a tight shoe and therefore know where it pinches most, as opposed to ear-witnessing!
Because of modern entertainment, which the girls ape, and the freedom which the latter enjoy at a time when parental advice can easily be mistaken for child abuse, the girls go around naked in the ‘miniskirts’. How seductive!. Of course ,no-one can deny the fact that in some countries the weather is very hot ,and no-one can deny the fact that democracy allows freedom of dressing ,but the girls tend to overstep the mark in this regard and in the process advertise their velvet thighs .Maybe these are fashion issues.
What worsens the above situation is the fact that some countries in the so-called civilized world, such as South Africa, have legalized this contra bonores mores practice under the guise that this promotes individual freedoms, an aspect of the Bill of Rights human rights. This relaxation of such laws also allows the girl-child to peddle her flesh and she may not be spotted since prostitutes do not carry around identity cards to show their ages.
Another significant fraction of these deviant children are victims of rape and other various forms of abuse suffered at the hands of men. Often, rapists are close relatives whose identities will never be disclosed due to the stigma associated with such taboo sexual relations. It is no hyperbole to say victims of rape are usually blamed as having invited the men ,by say, through putting on ‘provocative outfit’, and hence the cautionary rule that is invoked in the law of evidence whenever such cases are facts in issue.
Added to the above plight, the child may fall pregnant and automatically graduate into a mother but without the resources to fend for her child. This child’s child would also need to be fed and in these times of economic hardships if this feat cannot be achieved through fair means it must be by foul ones then——prostitution. And with no jobs available and no extended family network durawall to fall back lean on either the beer-garden or street becomes the next destination. Prostitution thus becomes an escape route-easy route to get money because the ‘job’ needs neither an academic qualification nor capital.
It sounds logical but a cost-benefit analysis is needed in the light of this immediate ‘benefit’ versus associated long-term dangers such as HIVAIDS. But it could also be argued that immediate needs, hunger, by far outweigh unforeseeable ones such as HIVAIDS. She may also seek solace in drug abuse as a way of toning down her misery (Proverbs 31:6-7) or engage in other risky misconducts. Research has proven that there is a cor-relationship between joblessness or idleness and crimemischief: an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
We now come to the end of this article . This writer shall further explore or stretch this topic far and wide in the oncoming series.
(Charles is a Lawyer, political philosopher, historian, sociologist and gender activist)
In recent years, using personal devices in working environments has become so commonplace it now has its own acronym, BOYD (Bring Your Own Device). But as employees skip between corporate tools and personal applications on their own devices, their actions introduce a number of possible risks that should be managed and mitigated with careful consideration. Consider these examples:
Si-lwli, a small family-run business in Wales, is arguably as niche a company as you could find, producing talking toys used to promote the Welsh language. Their potential market is small, with only some 300,000 Welsh language speakers in the world and in reality the business is really more of a hobby for the husband-and-wife team, who both still have day jobs. Yet, despite still managing to be successful in terms of sales, the business is now fighting for survival after recently falling prey to cybercriminals. Emails between Si-Iwli and their Chinese suppliers were intercepted by hackers who altered the banking details in the correspondence, causing Si-Iwli to hand over £18,000 (around P ¼ m) to the thieves. That might not sound much to a large enterprise, but to a small or medium business it can be devastating.
Another recent SMB hacking story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal concerned Innovative Higher Ed Consulting (IHED) Inc, a small New York start-up with a handful of employees. IHED didn’t even have a website, but fraudsters were able to run stolen credit card numbers through the company’s payment system and reverse the charges to the tune of $27,000, around the same loss faced by Si-Iwli. As the WSJ put it, the hackers completely destroyed the company, forcing its owners to fold.
And in May 2019, the city of Baltimore’s computer system was hit by a ransomware attack, with hackers using a variant called RobinHood. The hack, which has lasted more than a month, paralysed the computer system for city employees, with the hackers demanding a payment in Bitcoin to give access back to the city.
Of course, hackers target governments or business giants but small and medium businesses are certainly not immune. In fact, 67% of SMBs reported that they had experienced a cyber attack across a period of 12 months, according to a 2018 survey carried out by security research firm Ponemon Institute. Additionally, Verizon issued a report in May 2019 that small businesses accounted for 43% of its reported data breaches. Once seen as less vulnerable than PCs, smartphone attacks are on the rise, with movements like the Dark Caracal spyware campaign underlining the allure of mobile devices to hackers. Last year, the US Federal Trade Commission released a statement calling for greater education on mobile security, coming at a time when around 42% of all Android devices are believed to not carry the latest security updates.
This is an era when employees increasingly use their smartphones for work-related purposes so is your business doing enough to protect against data breaches on their employees’ phones? The SME Cyber Crime Survey 2018 carried out for risk management specialists AON showed that more than 80% of small businesses did not view this as a threat yet if as shown, 67% of SMBs were said to have been victims of hacking, either the stats are wrong or business owners are underestimating their vulnerability. A 2019 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests the latter, stating that the majority of global businesses are unprepared for cyber attacks.
Consider that a workstation no longer means a desk in an office: It can be a phone in the back of a taxi or Uber; a laptop in a coffee shop, or a tablet in an airport lounge. Wherever the device is used, employees can potentially install applications that could be harmful to your business, even from something as seemingly insignificant as clicking on an accidental download or opening a link on a phishing email. Out of the physical workplace, your employees’ activities might not have the same protections as they would on a company-monitored PC.
Yet many businesses not only encourage their employees to work remotely, but assume working from coffee shops, bookstores, and airports can boost employees’ productivity. Unfortunately, many remote hot spots do not provide secure Wi-Fi so if your employee is accessing their work account on unsecured public Wi-Fi, sensitive business data could be at risk. Furthermore, even if your employee uses a company smartphone or has access to company data through a personal mobile device, there is always a chance data could be in jeopardy with a lost or stolen device, even information as basic as clients’ addresses and phone numbers.
BOYDs are also at risk from malware designed to harm and infect the host system, transmittable to smartphones when downloading malicious third-party apps. Then there is ransomware, a type of malware used by hackers to specifically take control of a system’s data, blocking access or threatening to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid such as the one which affected Baltimore. Ransomware attacks are on the increase, predicted to occur every 14 seconds, potentially costing billions of dollars per year.
Lastly there is phishing – the cyber equivalent of the metaphorical fishing exercise – whereby cybercriminals attempt to obtain sensitive data –usernames, passwords, credit card details –usually through a phoney email designed to look legitimate which directs the user to a fraudulent website or requests the data be emailed back directly. Most of us like to think we could recognize a phishing email when we see it, but these emails have become more sophisticated and can come through other forms of communication such as messaging apps.
Bottom line is to be aware of the potential problems with BOYDs and if in doubt, consult your IT security consultants. You can’t put the own-device genie back in the bottle but you can make data protection one of your three wishes!
About five days before Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed landed in Paris, General Atiku, a certain Edward Williams was taking a walk in a woods in the Welsh town of Mountain Ash. Williams, then 73, was a psychic of some renown. He had in the past foretold assassination attempts on US President Ronald Reagan, which occurred on March 30, 1981, and Pope John Paul II, which came to pass on May 13, 1981.
As he trudged the woods, Williams had a sudden premonition that pointed to Diana’s imminent fate as per Christopher Andersen’s book The Day Diana Died. “When the vision struck me, it was as if everything around me was obscured and replaced by shadowy figures,” Williams was later to reminisce. “In the middle was the face of Princess Diana. Her expression was sad and full of pathos. She was wearing what looked like a floral dress with a short dark cardigan. But it was vague. I went cold with fear and knew it was a sign that she was in danger.”
Williams hastily beat a retreat to his home, which he shared with his wife Mary, and related to her his presentiment, trembling like an aspen leaf as he did so. “I have never seen him so upset,” Mary recounted. “He felt he was given a sign and when he came back from his walk he was deeply shaken.”
The following day, Williams frantically sauntered into a police station to inform the police of his premonition. The officer who attended to him would have dismissed him as no more than a crackpot but he treated him seriously in view of the accuracy of his past predictions. He took a statement and immediately passed it on to the Special Branch Investigative Unit.
The report read as follows:
“On 27 August, at 14:12 hrs, a man by the name of Edward Williams came to Mountain Ash police station. He said he was a psychic and predicted that Princess Diana was going to die. In previous years, he has predicted that the Pope and Ronald Reagan were going to be the victims of assassination attempts. On both occasions he was proved to be correct. Mr Williams appeared to be quite normal.”
Williams, General, was spot-on as usual: four days later, the princess was no more.
Meanwhile, General, even as Dodi and Diana were making their way to the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in central Paris, British newspapers were awash with headlines that suggested Diana was kind of deranged. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana in Pursuit of Love: “In The Independent Diana was described as ‘a woman with fundamentally nothing to say about anything’. She was ‘suffering from a form of arrested development’. ‘Isn’t it time she started using her head?’ asked The Mail on Sunday. The Sunday Mirror printed a special supplement entitled ‘A Story of Love’; The News of the World claimed that William had demanded that Diana should split from Dodi: ‘William can’t help it, he just doesn’t like the man.’ William was reportedly ‘horrified’ and ‘doesn’t think Mr Fayed is good for his mother’ – or was that just the press projecting their own prejudices? The upmarket Sunday Times newspaper, which had first serialised my biography of the princess, now put her in the psychiatrist’s chair for daring to be wooed by a Muslim. The pop-psychologist Oliver James put Diana ‘On the Couch’, asking why she was so ‘depressed’ and desperate for love. Other tabloids piled in with dire prognostications – about Prince Philip’s hostility to the relationship, Diana’s prospect of exile, and the social ostracism she would face if she married Dodi.”
DIANA AND DODI AT THE RITZ
Before Diana and Dodi departed the Villa Windsor sometime after 16 hrs, General, one of Dodi’s bodyguards Trevor Rees-Jones furtively asked Diana as to what the programme for the evening was. This Trevor did out of sheer desperation as Dodi had ceased and desisted from telling members of his security detail, let alone anyone else for that matter, what his onward destination was for fear that that piece of information would be passed on to the paparazzi. Diana kindly obliged Trevor though her response was terse and scarcely revealing. “Well, eventually we will be going out to a restaurant”, that was all Diana said. Without advance knowledge of exactly what restaurant that was, Trevor and his colleagues’ hands were tied: they could not do a recce on it as was standard practice for the security team of a VIP principal. Dodi certainly, General, was being recklessly by throwing such caution to the winds.
At about 16:30, Diana and Dodi drew up at the Ritz Hotel, where they were received by acting hotel manager Claude Roulet. The front entrance of the hotel was already crawling with paparazzi, as a result of which the couple took the precaution of using the rear entrance, where hopefully they would make their entry unperturbed and unmolested. The first thing they did when they were ensconced in the now $10,000 a night Imperial Suite was to spend some time on their mobiles and set about touching base with friends, relations, and associates. Diana called at least two people, her clairvoyant friend Rita Rogers and her favourite journalist Richard Kay of The Daily Mail.
Rita, General, was alarmed that Diana had proceeded to venture to Paris notwithstanding the warning she had given Dodi and herself in relation to what she had seen of him in the crystal ball when the couple had consulted her. When quizzed as to what the hell she indeed was doing in Paris at that juncture, Diana replied that she and Dodi had simply come to do some shopping, which though partially true was not the material reason they were there. “But Diana, remember what I told Dodi,” Rita said somewhat reprovingly. Diana a bit apprehensively replied, “Yes I remember. I will be careful. I promise.” Well, she did not live up to her promise as we shall soon unpack General.
As for Richard Kay, Diana made known to him that, “I have decided I am going to radically change my life. I am going to complete my obligations to charities and to the anti-personnel land mines cause, but in November I want to completely withdraw from formal public life.”
Once she was done with her round of calls, Diana went down to the hair saloon by the hotel swimming pool to have her hair washed and blow-dried ahead of the scheduled evening dinner.
THE“TELL ME YES” RING IS DELIVERED
Since the main object of their Paris trip was to pick up the “Tell Me Yes” engagement ring Dodi had ordered in Monte Carlo a week earlier, Dodi decided to check on Repossi Jewellery, which was right within the Ritz prencincts, known as the Place Vendome. It could have taken less than a minute for Dodi to get to the store on foot but he decided to use a car to outsmart the paparazzi invasion. He was driven there by Trevor Rees-Jones, with Alexander Kez Wingfield and Claude Roulet following on foot, though he entered the shop alone.
The Repossi store had closed for the holiday season but Alberto Repossi, accompanied by his wife and brother-in-law, had decided to travel all the way from his home in Monaco and momentarily open it for the sake of the potentially highly lucrative Dodi transaction. Alberto, however, disappointed Dodi as the ring he had chosen was not the one he produced. The one he showed Dodi was pricier and perhaps more exquisite but Dodi was adamant that he wanted the exact one he had ordered as that was what Diana herself had picked. It was a ploy on the part of Repossi to make a real killing on the sale, his excuse to that effect being that Diana deserved a ring tha was well worthy of her social pedigree. With Dodi having expressed disaffection, Repossi rendered his apologies and assured Dodi he would make the right ring available shortly, whereupon Dodi repaired back to the hotel to await its delivery. But Dodi did insist nonetheless that the pricier ring be delivered too in case it appealed to Diana anyway.
Repossi delivered the two rings an hour later. They were collected by Roulet. On inspecting them, Dodi chose the very one he had seen in Monte Carlo, apparently at the insistence of Diana. There is a possibility that Diana, who was very much aware of her public image and was not comfortable with ostentatious displays of wealth, may have deliberately shown an interest in a less expensive engagement ring. It may have been a purely romantic as opposed to a prestigious choice for her.
The value of the ring, which was found on a wardrobe shelf in Dodi’s apartment after the crash, has been estimated to be between $20,000 and $250,000 as Repossi has always refused to be drawn into revealing how much Dodi paid for it. The sum, which enjoyed a 25 percent discount, was in truth paid for not by Dodi himself but by his father as was the usual practice.
Dodi was also shown Repossi’s sketches for a bracelet, a watch, and earrings which he proposed to create if Diana approved of them.
DIANA AND DODI GUSH OVER IMMINENT NUPTIALS
At about 7 pm, Dodi and Diana left the Ritz and headed for Dodi’s apartment at a place known as the Arc de Trompe. They went there to properly tog themselves out for the scheduled evening dinner. They spent two hours at the luxurious apartment. As usual, the ubiquitous paparazzi were patiently waiting for them there.
As they lingered in the apartment, Dodi beckoned over to his butler Rene Delorm and showed him the engagement ring. “Dodi came into my kitchen,” Delorm relates. “He looked into the hallway to check that Diana couldn’t hear and reached into his pocket and pulled out the box … He said, ‘Rene, I’m going to propose to the princess tonight. Make sure that we have champagne on ice when we come back from dinner’.” Rene described the ring as “a spectacular diamond encrusted ring, a massive emerald surrounded by a cluster of diamonds, set on a yellow and white gold band sitting in a small light-grey velvet box”.
Just before 9 pm, Dodi called the brother of his step-father, Hassan Yassen, who also was staying at the Ritz that night, and told him that he hoped to get married to Diana by the end of the year.
Later that same evening, both Dodi and Diana would talk to Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s dad, and make known to him their pre-nuptial intentions. “They called me and said we’re coming back (to London) on Sunday (August 31) and on Monday (September 1) they are
Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims, where over one billion Muslims throughout the world fast from dawn to sunset, and pray additional prayers at night. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah, and self-control. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. As you read this Muslims the world over have already begun fasting as the month of Ramadan has commenced (depending on the sighting of the new moon).
‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for people, in it are clear signs of guidance and Criterion, therefore whoever of you who witnesses this month, it is obligatory on him to fast it. But whoever is ill or traveling let him fast the same number of other days, God desires ease for you and not hardship, and He desires that you complete the ordained period and glorify God for His guidance to you, that you may be grateful”. Holy Qur’an (2 : 185)
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are: the declaration of one’s belief in Allah’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (PBUH); regular attendance to prayer; payment of zakaat (obligatory charity); and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
As explained in an earlier article, fasting includes total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, refraining from obscenity, avoiding getting into arguments and including abstaining from marital relations, from sunrise to sunset. While fasting may appear to some as difficult Muslims see it as an opportunity to get closer to their Lord, a chance to develop spiritually and at the same time the act of fasting builds character, discipline and self-restraint.
Just as our cars require servicing at regular intervals, so do Muslims consider Ramadan as a month in which the body and spirit undergoes as it were a ‘full service’. This ‘service’ includes heightened spiritual awareness both the mental and physical aspects and also the body undergoing a process of detoxification and some of the organs get to ‘rest’ through fasting.
Because of the intensive devotional activity fasting, Ramadan has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship but there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating Allah’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so by claiming to be fasting yet eating on the sly. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan.
The reward Allah gives for proper fasting is very generous. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) quotes Allah as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I will reward it accordingly.” We are also told by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.
Fasting earns great reward when it is done in a ‘proper’ manner. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. For example perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting!’”
This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is considered as an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in our physical desires. The purpose of fasting helps man to attain a high degree of sublimity, discipline and self-restraint. In other words, this standard CAN BE achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.
Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich one’s conscience nearer to needs of the poor. A Muslim is encouraged to be more charitable and learns to give generously for a good cause.
Fasting also has a universal or communal aspect to it. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins willingly in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. This is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn Allah’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature.
The month of Ramadan can aptly be described as a “season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, because people are more attentive to their prayers, read the Qur’an more frequently and also strive to improve on their inner and outer character. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel much happier in Ramadan because they feel themselves to be closer to their Creator.