In a day and age where we are as equally connected by social media, we are disconnected and desensitized to much of what happens world wide. A-Plus Entertainment’s Ittehad Ramzan has introduced audiences to the Islamic world beyond Pakistan’s borders. 30 days took us to 30 cities where we met actual families, saw market places, indulged in beautiful architecture and got to experience, alongside one of our own, the learning of a new culture.
Ittehad Ramzan took us from Malaysia to Turkey, to as far away as Kenya and to neighbouring countries like Azerbaijan and Iran. Pakistan, which was built on the desire of a homeland for Muslims in the Asian subcontinent, at times can feel isolated from the Islamic world at large and for many viewers this series was perhaps even the first time many Pakistanis got the chance to see how people in the Muslim brother and sisterhood live.
The aim of Ittehad Ramzan from the start was to educate and spread coming together through their differences, with ittehad’ literally translating to ‘unity’. Each episode kicked off with an opening prayer and recitation by imams and scholars from all across the globe: from Africa to Far East Asia. The recitations were followed by conversations with the hosts, whether a language barrier existed or not; the imams, from far away places, demonstrated how communicating Islam and the Quran can not be contained by not knowing the language.
The inclusion of the back drop of music and performers from Sounds of Kolachi, who sang Nasheed (songs with religious significance and stories weaved into the lyrics), shared with viewers as well as the international guests an aspect of Islamic culture in Pakistan. Nasheed and naats performed for a number of events in Pakistan was a necessary and beautiful inclusion to include Pakistan itself in the celebration of unity.
Traveling to cities all over the world was to demonstrate to Pakistanis the expansive and impressive diversity that exists within Pakistan. Regardless of race and ethnicity the power of Ramzan bringing people together, as it does at home, was played across screens. Islam across the world is viewed as a religion particular to the middle east and dominated by countries of Arab descent but the religion is far and wide, from China to South East Asia, Africa and even the West, showing Pakistanis how their fellow muslim differed from what they previously thought solidified the idea that Islam brings unity in diversity.
Each country we were taken to the stars – Ali Safina who headed to Nairobi, Ali Azmat who walked Azerbaijan, Junaid Akram who travelled Iraq including the city of Karbala, Nadia Hussain who went to Mombasa (Kenya), Ali Kazmi who explored Malaysia and Omair Rana who saw Oman first hand – took us along to market places bustling with families and sellers, much similar to our own. The markets resembled the ones that pop up along busy streets and city centres throughout Pakistan; we were introduced to what it is people buy in Ramzan and what traditions are brought to the table. And speaking of tables, we were brought to eat alongside families and experience not only breaking bread for iftar with them, but also praying namaz shoulder to shoulder. We got to go inside the most revered and notable mosques in the world and thought they were grand and a sight for sore eyes; it also again demonstrated how similar we all are. The architecture was related across the globe.
Each episode brought the focus on what Ramzan is truly about: family, patience and learning more about yourself and Islam. This show, which broke many barriers, aforementioned language and otherwise, opted to showcase Ramzan and Muslims in a light which not only has made an impact here in Pakistan, but to viewers who have managed to catch the show through online portals. A must-watch for anyone curious about Ramzan and how Islam transcends borders, we can’t wait to see what next Ramzan brings to A-Plus.