Written by: Shereen Gaber

Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims. It’s a month where people tend to become more spiritual and more in touch with God, whether through performing prayers or doing good deeds. Recently, however, Ramadan has become a month where companies can cash in through commercials and TV advertisements. Where people brag about where they went for Sohour on social media. Where restaurants and cafes use Ramadan to promote their “Ramadanic” events and offers.

It feels like Ramadan is being used for everything BUT piety. It’s now being exploited to promote TV series, products and outings. TV doesn’t take a break from all the commercials where a TV show that’s supposed to be an hour long, is in fact only 30 minutes long.

Then comes the emotional blackmail. Charity commercials that show how the poor are hardly maintaining a humane life. You’ll see celebrities in some of those commercials showing us just how hard some people have it and asking us to donate because it’s Ramadan. It burdens you with the feeling that those underprivileged people can only be saved by you. Charity has to stem from the individual donating, not because they felt compelled by a commercial.

The hype built over Ramadan TV series throughout the whole year is insane and yet when they air in Ramadan, we find that most of the plots are either inappropriate for Ramadan or they’re so meaningless that they’re basically mind-dumbing. Not to mention the staggering amount of series. Some people will not move from their couches in order to catch a lot of those shows.

Isn’t time supposed to be spent, praying, helping others and generally improving yourself? Yet most people seem to forget that. At the end, the whole day is wasted between watching TV and finding a hip new spot to go have Sohour. And before you know it, Ramadan is over and no one actually did anything of value.

Ramadan used to be about family. A family would gather together for Iftar and then perhaps watch a funny show on TV like those old harmless prank shows. Now people would rather go out for Iftar with friends. While this isn’t an issue, but a lot of people don’t make the effort to see the rest of the family anymore.

People should try and remember what Ramadan is really about. If you haven’t spent much time with your family, now would be the time. If you’ve done a good friend wrong, now would be the time to make it up to them. If you haven’t been praying regularly or even at all, now would the time to try and pray. Try to remember that Ramadan is about you becoming a better version of yourself and to work on your relationship with God and people around you. It is, after all, the holiest month of the year.