By Qiang Jin
June 7, 2018
THE article is intended to enhance and refine the relationship between China and Islamic world, and for providing contributing ideas to put national strategies, such as the Belt and Road Initiatives into effect in better ways in other words, to make better communication with each other. May 17, 2018, Ramazan 2018 (1439 in Islamic Calendar) started in Mainland China. No matter where you are, the longing and preparing of Ramadan is same in the whole world. It is a real component of the real world, which is in practice for more than one thousand years. In China, the joy and wishes are being improved on the networks like the moments of WeChat. Evidently, following the customs and traditions of Islam, Ramadan is the most valuable month in a year, it must be celebrated devoutly, and also must associate with careful study and serious thinking.
While in China, it is celebrated with a series of aphorisms which includes Chinese characters and humanistic traditions and exhortations from the Quran, thus this month is recognized as a great month! The voice of truth, goodness and beauty is spread to each node where exits Muslims through the Internet, and eventually accesses to most of global net users’ eyes and hearts, this is the meaning which civilization should have and where charm should be at. As social networks are very developed today, Ramadan itself should be returned to a global scene, but not only for the Middle East. If we use the night-lights imagery by NASA’s Earth Observatory, we can feel the beginning and the end of Ramadan look like a relay race all over the world clearly, especially when you see Muslims are preparing for Sehr at 3 or 4 am in their local time.
In the Islamic calendar, the Ramazan is held forward by 11 days per year (12 days in some years), according to the annual calendar, to cycle a year of Ramadan will use more than 30 years. That is to say it takes about 36 years from the summer of this month to itself again. It is a special experience for the areas that have four distinct seasons. Some people have enjoyed the Ramazan both in winter and summer; others have enjoyed the Ramazan in different time zones. For example, recently, there is an online discussion about how do Muslims, living in the vicinity of the North Pole, who are living without nights or with very short nights enjoy Ramadan? Therefore, knowledge concerning religion and society is constantly enriched and improved, keeping up with the times as well. Most Muslims are feeling uncomfortable for this year’s Ramadan which is held in summer. Only those who live in the southern hemisphere may feel better. Ramazan is full of deep religious meaning and cultural connotation, increasingly embodying the global nature, which should be worth studying seriously.
Of course, Muslims remind and encourage each other more. They have to consciously look at themselves and further regulate their own behaviour in the Ramazan, so it can be expected a scene of serenity and positive energy based on faith, which will last at least one month. For Muslim, Ramazan is considered the best time of a year to refresh faith, pure heart, regulate behaviour and serve the community. As for time zone, China enters Ramadan month one day earlier than the United States.
And it is much longer and more lingering for Muslims to friendly exchange with China after setting foot on the land of it than the United States and Western European countries, which makes China has more clout and voice on this issue. Therefore, I think that China should try to prepare for such a significant “international event” as better as possible. At least, China should report Ramadan prior to America, issue a more goodwill and more pure sound than America and timely display a good image of the country.
This is an important opportunity to showcase Chinese mind and Chinese soft power. Whether it is because of “New silk road” and “Asian investment bank” including a variety of regional cooperation (involving many Islamic countries) advocated by China or because of good relationships between China and Islamic civilization exchanges(such as China-Pakistan relation being regarded as a model)having been spread for hundreds of years , or because of 23 million Muslims in China(more than American, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and other developed countries), enough attentions and sincerely polite greetings should be shown by people, varying from government , media to citizens for the largest group activity in the world.
We further believe that this great human activity of Ramazan can show a world-class vision and international mind provided by a media. It is expressing my greetings and blessing to the country and Muslims around the world that can show my attention and respect to Islamic civilization. In fact, I think we should regard this issue with a more relaxed state of mind. We can put this kind of greeting and report as necessary diplomatic etiquette and necessary concern for major issues of sincere friends in the “New Silk Road” strategy. China is seeking for a higher economic status, political discourse and international influence in the 21st century.
The final appearance will be a rise of Chinese civilization once again and a broader mind to carry out various dialogues and cooperation. China is supposed to show its goodwill to the Islamic culture that has already existed for over 1400 years, and includes 1.7 billion believers (number of which is still growing rapidly), and has involved almost every country of the world for a complete month.
Qiang Jin is a Researcher and Assistant Director of the Research Centre for Social Development of Islamic Countries at Hebei University, China.