While the Holy month of Ramzan promises to bring blessings and reduce the intolerant attitude of the general public, many of us miss the point each year.

A sanitary worker passed away this Friday in Umerkot after doctors refused to treat him because they were fasting and he was “unclean”. To even suggest that Islamic teachings put one’s own physical cleanliness above that of a human life is abhorrent and perversion of a religion of kindness and compassion. The fast itself is a test; a Muslim proving that he can perform his daily duties and tasks while under physical stress.

Doctors are bound by their oath to treat patients and not discriminate in any manner. A case has been registered against the doctors under Sections 319 (punishment for qatl-i-khata or manslaughter) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Last year, a Hindu man was badly beaten for eating out in the public during the month. The victim was said to be around 82 years old, and the attackers were supposedly trying to preserve the sanctity of Ramzan by physical violence against an elderly man.

We seem to have forgotten that the country accommodates multiple faiths and that we have a civic duty to our people. In this harsh weather, several find it difficult to fast, or may be sick. This includes the elderly, children, and people from other faiths. When you ban eating in the public, close off eating places, and make sure that even cold water is not available in the markets; you are indirectly enforcing your religion on every one. Rather than a Muslim testing his own patience and piety, he ends up testing and judging the people around him.

Reports suggest that the month of Ramzan for Muslim countries sees an economic downturn due to fewer work hours, but that people can die from professionals refusing to do their job is just another extreme.