RABAT - Seeing Ramadan as an opportunity to revitalize their souls, Moroccan youth await the holy month to get closer to Allah and find serenity and inner peace.
It's a spirit that ought to continue after the end of the month, Hatim Cherif, who is 24, told Magharebia website on Monday, July 15.
"This also encourages people to be kind to the less well-off. They become more inclined to help each other out, he added.
Shunning whatever that might anger Allah, Cherif has taken time off so that he can "strengthen his faith" during the holy fasting month.
For Cherif, Ramadan is an opportunity to revitalize his soul and find serenity and inner peace.
He was critical of people who only change their behavior during Ramadan.
Some young people transform themselves completely. They undergo a total personality change, but for one month only, he said.
I find this attitude hypocritical.
But sociologist Samira Kassimi said the change in behavior should be seen in a positive light.
"Many Moroccans become more altruistic than usual. For some people, it's an opportunity to stop smoking and drinking," she pointed out.
"Of course, we must think about how these positive behavior changes can be made to last beyond Ramadan.
The media has an important role to play in raising awareness, she added.
While many Moroccan youths focus on spiritual development during Ramadan, others see the holy month as an opportunity to boost their income.
"Casual business activities emerge, but they disappear as soon as the month ends," economist Mehdi Ziani said.
For example, Rachid Taki stops selling clothes, his main line of work during the rest of the year, and sells dates, which are consumed in large quantities during Ramadan.
"During Ramadan, I can earn three times what I normally make in a month, Taki, a 32-year-old trader, said.
I would have hoped that this prosperity will last throughout the year," he said.
That view was shared by Hiba Cherrati, a 20-year-old student who uses Ramadan to sell cakes and biscuits, which she makes with the aid of her 18-year-old sister.
"We manage to make an amount that enables us to take a holiday and buy things for the start of the new school term," she said.
That makes things easier for our parents.
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started last Wednesday, July 10.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.
It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur'an.
Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.