KAZAKHSTAN is a Muslim dominated country and therefore، like any other Muslim country، it welcomes the holy month of Ramadan with much fervor and enthusiasm. There are a number of events and activities during the month. Mosques are often crowded both during nights as well as in daytime. People in general are more than willing to do something good for others; people become more humble and caring during Ramadan، here. Besides، several charity events for the benefit of the society in general are organized. Kazakhstan was part of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Ramadan in those days was not observed openly، as this was forbidden then. All has changed since we achieved our independence. The nation has refocused on the worship of God freely. Kazakhstan is a secular state today. Therefore there is no holiday or shortening of work time in Islamic holidays. People work as usual، go to Taraweeh، eat their suhoor، sleep about 3-4 hours and go to their job again. They are not tired or lazy in following Islamic principles. Rather they are vigorous and active in their worship and faith.
In most of the Arab countries، markets don’t open in Ramadan; there is ban on eating and drinking in public places، even for a tourist. In Kazakhstan، the stores don’t close; and there is no ban on eating. We don’t cook special foods in Ramadan، but one can have traditional foods like beshbarmak، kouyrdak، beverages like kumys، shubat، airan، delicacies like kazi، karta، zhal، zhaya، baursak، irimshik، kurt and so on. I am living far from my parents now. But every year when I am there I go to mosque with my family، each of my family member observes the basic tenets of Islam; even the youngest one، who is just three-year-old. I think they are exemplary family in the nowadays modern life for the Muslim society. Also I meet an array of people in the mosque، of every age group. That pleases me. There are two main mosques where people gather mostly for prayer. The older one is the Nur Astana mosque، which was built in 2005. And the second one is considered as the largest mosque in Central Asia called Hazrat Sultan، which was opened in 2012. The mosque can accommodate up to 10،000 people. In 2005، the population of Astana was about 520،000. Nowadays it has increased to approximately one million people، which means the mosque is visited by a greater number of people now. And the population became more religiously literate compared with the past. The people in Saudi Arabia are law-abiding and they adhere to universally recognized rules in Ramadan. People don’t eat، drink، smoke in public، they don’t display affection like hugging or kissing، aggressive behavior، don’t dance and play music، don’t wear inappropriate clothing etc. Also we know that in Saudi Arabia standard work day reduced by two hours for all employees. People organize more charities and generosities. Really، countries differ from each other. Each of them has its traditional cuisine and has features in wearing. If the Arabs wear hijab، in Kazakhstan people prefer casual clothes. Also while in Kazakhstan women have an array of obligations at home، women in Arabia are free from that. I’ve never been to other place in any other Arab country. But I’ve heard that in Arab world people are quite God-fearing and devote much of their time in worshipping God; and they comply with all pillars of Islam. I am sure that people of my country will also become similar to them in near future thanks to Supreme Mufti of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Kazhi Malgazhiuli who endeavor to spread and develop Islam in Kazakhstan. We in Kazakhstan really respect Saudi Arabia. We like Arabs، their exemplary roles in the past and for acquisition of knowledge and because of their devotion to God. It has a great history. I dream to learn and speak in Arabian language fluently soon، as it gives me opportunity to read the Holy Qur’an and learn it by heart. You are so happy to have Qur’an’s language and you should be proud of it. Children are so happy in Ramadan even if they don’t fast. Because they go with adults to iftar and receive gifts. Usually in Eid children walk to neighbors and congratulate them by special rhymes called ‘Zharapazan aitu’ which they learned by heart before. In their turn، the neighbors give them gifts، sweets or money.