By Mudassir Raja
Ramadan is a month full of blessings. The spirit of Ramadan is felt and followed by many non-Muslims in the Muslim majority countries.
Qatar is no exception to it. The non-Muslim expatriate community is present in large numbers in Qatar, and they tend to respect and show solidarity with their Muslim friends and colleagues during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Nepali expatriates are the second largest community in Qatar after the Indians. Nepali expatriates show great respect for Ramadan and experience the month with their Muslim friends and colleagues.
Sagher Nepal is a businessman. He has been living in Qatar for 24 years. He started working with a private company but some 15 years ago he started his own business. He is also an active social worker working for the welfare of his community. He is the founder of Nepal Welfare Society and Non-Resident Nepali around the world.
He has religiously been observing fasting for many years to express respect for Ramadan and solidarity with the Muslims. Community recently spoke to him about his experience so far.
Introducing himself, Sagher said: “I have been involved in founding different social and welfare organisations in Qatar. In fact, I am getting involved in social activities more and more. I am happy that I have been living in Qatar. It is my second home. I respect the religion and traditions of the Qatari people.”
When asked that why he has been fasting during Ramadan, Sagher said: “I have been observing fasting in Ramadan purposefully. When I came to Qatar from Nepal, I was quite oblivious of Islam. There were not many Muslims in my area in Nepal. I did not know much about Islam and Ramadan. Once I moved to Qatar, I studied about Islam. I got the real sense of the holy month. I have been observing fasting for few days during Ramadan for last 22 years.
“During my initial days in Qatar, I was not much involved in social welfare activities. With the passage of time, I started taking part in different welfare activities especially during Ramadan. It made me understand the true essence of Islam and the way the Muslims are fasting.”
In response to a question on what inspired him to fast during Ramadan, Sagher said: “We in Hindu religion also have the concept of fasting. It is, however, different from the concept of Ramadan. Muslims follow stricter rules while fasting. I found it amazing to see that all the Muslims observe fast for one month every year. When I came to know that the Muslims fast only for self-purification, it really inspired me. When you do something for your inner self, I believe you cannot be dishonest to yourself. Self-purification is the most important thing that humans have to do.
“The idea that the Muslims keep themselves hungry and thirsty just to realise how the poor and the needy feel really inspired me. Further, I am in a Muslim country. I have to respect the religion and culture. I observe fasting during the first and the last day of Ramadan. In any case, I will fast on these two days every year. I do this just for my own satisfaction. Nobody asks me to do this and nobody asks me why I am doing it. I regularly invite my Muslim brothers and sisters in my home for Iftar every year. The day I host Iftar, I observe fasting.”
About his living in Qatar, Sagher said: “I think that all communities living in Qatar have to respect Ramadan. We need to respect each other’s religions. We need to dress properly. We should not eat in public places during Ramadan to show respect to our fellow beings. We all need to make lots of prayers during this holy month. I feel myself lucky to be living in Qatar.”
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