Religious Affairs Directorate head Mehmet Görmez has warned Muslims in Turkey to be careful not to waste food during the holy month of Ramadan.
Believed to be the most blessed and spiritually beneficial month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a special time of fasting, spiritual reflection and purification during which believers are further encouraged to fulfill their religious duties. For Muslims in Turkey, Ramadan means an increase in worship, social gatherings and community events in addition to the perpetuation of age-old traditions and customs.
Speaking at a press conference before the start of Ramadan, Görmez said many restaurants and hotels in big cities have offered lavish and extravagant iftars (fast-breaking dinners) in recent years.
“Many treat iftar tables as a way to show off, and this goes against the very concept of Ramadan, which is meant to raise awareness about self-restraint and to enable us to sympathize with the less fortunate of the world,” Görmez said, adding that municipalities and government officials should refrain from extravagance and showing off during the holy month.
Besides fasting, Ramadan invites charity and solidarity, Görmez stated, urging Muslims to fulfill their religious duties, such as the fitrah (charitable giving at the end of the month) and the payment of alms in the amount of one-fortieth a person's wealth, and to compete with each other in helping people rather than with luxurious dinners.
“For believers, the advent of Ramadan means an increase in worship and obedience to God. The joy brought by the blessed month shouldn't turn into a form of entertainment or festival,” Görmez noted and added that rather than changing the concept of Ramadan, people should let themselves be changed by the blessed month -- change that positively transforms lifestyle, character, attitude and habits.