The holy month is upon us and Muslims all over the world are buzzing over the first week festivities.
While Ramadan surely deserves all the themed decorations and special celebrations and high spirit, it has somehow turned from a holy and spiritual occasion into one of the most wasteful and commercial occasions of the year.
Guilty as charged, we have come to use Ramadan as an excuse for over buying, overeating and over wasting. If you’ve visited any shop during the week leading up to Ramadan, you know exactly what we’re talking about. The shopping carts full of more food than any one family can possibly consume, the endless check out lines, and the general consuming vibe in the air.
Now we are not here to point fingers, we have all been there, and we understand. But, we are hoping to shed light on the issue so we can start to change it together.
It’s that time of the year where everything is Ramadan or “Islamic” themed. From Kaftans and abayas to Ramadan decor, we are all surrounded by beautiful yet franky unnecessary consumables.
Don’t get us started on the food side of things, lotus everything. Red velvet your life. Trays upon trays of food that soon enough will find its way to the trash.
We say it is time to change that! Ramadan in its essence is a month of reflection. A month of self-discipline. Yes, it is essential to connect with your loved ones over delicious foods, but why not keep it within reason?
Next time you’re tempted to splash out on some very instagrammable Ramadan decor, we urge you to reconsider. Sustainability is a hot trend right now all over the world but we believe it is in fact nothing new. Sustainability and moderation are the core of Islamic values. This Ramadan is the perfect opportunity to get back to those values.
We all like our homes to look beautiful but instead of buying those cheap knock off fawanees or that cliche Khayameyah fabric that won’t last you very long. How about buying useful and meaningful items? Choose decor that you can use all year round. Candles that set the mood while reading Quran or praying in the middle of the night. Potted plants that brighten up your space any time of the year.
If you’d like to buy some Ramadan specific decor, opt for locally made high quality items like wooden fawanees and Ramadan themed table lamps or new praying rugs and prayer beads. Things you can use next year and the year after that and the year after that.
Set up a prayer corner that can help you stick to your spiritual goals. Spend time picking out your favorite Quran verses and learn to write them in beautiful calligraphy and use that as your decor. This can be a wonderful family activity to get your kids excited for Ramadan. It also makes a beautiful gift to family and friends. Nothing shows how much you love someone like a handmade gift.
You’re probably not hosting a lot of gatherings this Ramadan (At least we hope so *COVID*) but if you are then take this opportunity to be more organized and plan ahead. Instead of 20 people buying 20 different dessert items, how about you coordinate together and only buy what you can realistically finish in a day or two before it goes bad. Choose a few items depending on the number of people and collect the rest of the money that would otherwise go to waste on desserts that no one will eat and donate that money to a cause or charity that you love. We absolutely love this idea and hope that more and more people start implementing it. This goes for all kinds of food; not just desserts, challenge yourself to try to have as low waste a Ramadan as possible.
If you absolutely must have a large variety of food, then try to give away most of it to family and friends before they leave and to anyone who would appreciate it in your neighbourhood so nothing goes to waste.
Don’t beat yourself up though. If you don’t get it right on your first try, that’s absolutely fine. We are unlearning years of consumerism and it takes a lot of efforts to instill these new habits to become second nature.
Last but definitely not least, give, give, and then give some more. Ramadan is the month of charity. The giving and caring vibe of the month is one of its highlights. How you choose to help out those in need is completely up to you. We also recommend taking this opportunity to involve your kids in any way that is suitable for their age.