SRINAGAR – As the holy month of Ramadan knocked the doors in Kashmir, an army of professional drum beaters were all set to go out in streets to wake up people to get their Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) as they prepare for lengthy day of fasting.
“Though the practice of beating drums is dying a silent death due to on-going turmoil in the disputed territory ‘Kashmir’, however, in villages and some towns the practice is still being practised,” Mohd Sultan Sheikh, a professional Drum beater locally called as ‘Sehar Khan’, told OnIslam.net.
“It is almost after fifteen years I am going out to awake people and hope God will give me credit after my death,” he added.
Sheikh is one among the hundreds of Kashmiris who has adopted this practice and perform his duty during the holy month of Ramadan.
The trend goes back to decades ago in which Muslims in Kashmir have been listening to the beats of drums during the early wee hours even during the difficult times.
“In early times there were no watches and the drum beating was the only way to wake up during Ramadan for taking suhoor,” he said, adding that drums are still seen beating during Ramadan in both villages and towns.
Qadir Kumar, a professional drum beater who turned 70 is enthusiastic and waiting for the moon has different view point about fasting during Ramadan.
“I have been beating drum to awake the villagers on Ramadan days since last forty years but now people make use of Alarm watches and getting habitual to it,” he told OnIslam.net
“I don’t have words to explain the speciality about Ramadan, the month acts like a purifier for Muslim Ummah and the ‘IMAAN’ gets fresh during the month and everybody prays all the five times and remain away from wrong doings,” Khan told OnIslam.net.
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started this year on Monday, June 30 in Kashmir.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those travelling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Around the globe, Muslims observe Ramadan with a set of traditional rituals including family gathering at iftar, religious lessons, special evening prayer and helping the poor.
Ahead of the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the Indian administered Kashmir have started to move to their homes to spend the month with their family members and relatives.
“The month not only keeps us healthy but gives us a chance to adhere to the principles of Islam and to keep ourselves away from all evils,” Moulvi Mohd Imran told OnIslam.net
He added that fasting keeps Muslims away from all bad habits whether it is smoking, drinking or doing unnatural things.
“The month of Ramadan brings us together and even we invite the non-muslims on Iftar so as to draw their attention towards the specialities of Ramadan and its benefits,” Moulvi Imran told OnIslam.net.
During the holy month, special programs are organised at the local mosques to educate Muslims about the significance of Ramadan fasting.
“Fasting gives Muslims power to patience, self-control and spirituality and it is presumed that the month brings one closer to ALLAH,” Moulvi Imran added.
For Irshad Ahmad of Achablal village of south Kashmir, spending Ramadan with family not only strengthens the relations but the faith as well.
“I came here to sped the holy month with my family and friends so that my fasting is not disturbed,” he told OnIslam.net.
“Drum beating was a continuous process during the month but after turmoil erupted in the valley the custom getting vanished in the Kashmir,” he added.
Muslims of Kashmir have been celebrating all the festivals with their Hindu Brothers and special dishes are prepared on the occasions, said Wali Mohd Mir of north Kashmir.
“Special invitations are sent to the neighbours, particularly Hindus, for Iftar parties during the month of Ramadan,” he told OnIslam.net.
“The purpose of the invitation was only to let them to feel as what the fasting is all about,” he added.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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