Known for countless attributes and blessings, Ramazan is the holy month when Muslims from across the world show exceptional endurance and empathy besides seeking forgiveness and mercy that keep them modest and disciplined in life. From dawn to dusk, Ramazan’s 30-day fasts abstain Muslims from all kinds of sinful actions, negative behaviors, and smoking. It teaches compassion and tolerance besides helping the needy, vulnerable and oppressed segments of society. “In Islam, patience means to endure or persevere in the face of any difficulty or hardship for Allah only. It requires us to tolerate any trial realizing that whatever we are going through is according to Allah’s divine will, and He is the One to take us out from all difficult circumstances and challenging situations,” said Qibla Ayaz, Chairman, Pakistan Islamic Ideology (PIC) while talking to APP. He said Allah Almighty has repeated the word, ‘Sabr’ (patience) almost 75 times in the Holy Quran which indicates its significance for humanity. The Holy Qur’an says, “O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). The Holy Qur’an said, “Truly! Allah is with As-Saabireen (the patient ones, etc). “As devoted servants of Allah Almighty, we have an obligation to be grateful when we earn Allah’s bounties. Similarly, we should deal with all calamities and difficult situations with forbearance, self-control and humbleness,” he added. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had also laid great emphasis on compassion and sympathies with the needy and poor people besides persons with different abilities during Ramazan and declared that the rewards of enduring patience in hard times are manifold in this world and in the hereafter. The PIC Chairman said, “Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, illness, grief or mental worry but Allah will expiate his sins on the account of patience and compassion.” Qibla Ayaz said a believer, who socializes with people and tolerates their mistakes with sympathy and kindness would have greater rewards than the other believers, who do not do so. In another Hadith on the reward of fasting, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whosoever fasts during Ramazan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.” He said the first Ashra of Ramazan was to seek mercy of Allah, the middle one for forgiveness and the last one to get liberation from the hellfire. He said in Ramazan there was a night of Laylaltul Qadar (the Night of Power) and according to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), “Every Muslim who prays on Laylatul Qadar with faith and sincerity, all his/her past sins would be forgiven.” Abdul Ghafoor, former director of Sheikh Zayad Islamic Centre Peshawar and Member of the Central Reut-e-Hilal Committee told APP that Ramazan was the month when people could earn maximum virtues by contributing generously to the poor and deserving persons. “Ramazan promotes interfaith harmony and national cohesion besides cementing bonds of brotherhoods, fraternity and friendship among Muslims and minorities by bringing them closer through Iftar parties,” he added. Shahid Khan alias Lala, who was holding Iftar Dastarkhwan at historic Qissa Khawani bazaar especially for fasting Muslims and poor and deserving minorities community told that he was holding this noble practice for the last 10 years that gives him inner peace and satisfaction. “The Iftar Dastarkhwan would continue till Chand Raat,” he said. Jatinder Singh, Chairman KP chapter of the National Peace Council for Interfaith Harmony told that big Iftar parties were planned by the Sikh community members for their Muslim brothers in the last 10-day of the holy month besides distribution of edible packages among fasting people at their doorsteps. “Without winning hearts and minds, we can’t come closer to each other and develop a society whose inhabitants enjoy equal rights and respect for each other’s beliefs,” he noted. He said arranging iftar parties and Ramazan camps for Muslims were not a new practice for them. “Our forefathers did the same thing to express warmth, love and friendship to our Muslims brothers of Peshawar during Ramazan.” he added. Haroon Sarbdayal, a representative of Hindu community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a founding member of Pakistan Council of World Religions said that all prophets and founders of all religions had promoted peace, forgiveness, patience, love and tolerance through their universal teachings, actions and deeds. He opined the establishment of a common study centre at Peshawar for followers of all religions where they could interact and understand each other’s beliefs and organise iftar parties to bring people of all faith closer. Eminent psychiatrist, Prof. Dr Khalid Mufti who also served as Principal of Khyber Medical College Peshawar said that research studies had shown that Ramazan has immense medical and psychological benefits for a ‘Roazadar’ (fasting persons) including tolerance and empathy which last for the rest of the year. He said Ramazan helps Muslims to overcome their anxiety, depression and hypertension, besides getting rid of worldly desires. Dr Khalid said impatience, anger and rash behaviors can adversely affect an individual’s social life and physical well-being while compassion and tolerance increase the self-esteem of people and leads to better outcomes in one’s life.