The culture is also practised by expatriate Bangladeshi businesses who perhaps would have hiked the prices if they were in Bangladesh
Although Ramadan is supposed to be a period of restraint in almost all activities for practising Muslims, the reckless market price of essentials in Bangladesh tells a different story. Regulatory authorities attempt to rein in the prices in vain. But that is not the condition in other countries.
In Qatar and UK, Ramadan is a time for widespread discounts on almost all Ramadan essentials, unlike Bangladesh.
Piety trumps profit
For example, Qatari authorities require all shops selling essentials, regardless of size, to display a price list of 500 items in the storefront. The prices are far lower in Ramadan than any other time of the year, and they are fixed by the Qatar Ministry of Economy of Commerce and monitored by city corporation officers. The essentials include rice, pulse, oil, fish, meat, spices, etc.
The culture is also practised by expatriate Bangladeshi businesses who perhaps would have hiked the prices if they were in Bangladesh.
Imran Hasan, who works as a cashier at a grocery store in Qatar, said: “No matter how much we charge for a product the year round, we ensure it gets a price cut in Ramadan. We generally sell basmati rice at QAR36 (Qatari Riyal), but we are selling it for QAR26 now.”
Another Bangladeshi, Babul Islam Bhuiyan, who has opened his own business in Qatar, said: “We sell to make profits 11 months a year. Ramadan is a special month. It is a special time of the year. Out of respect to this month, I have decided to cut down on my profits. If Allah wills, my actions will be rewarded.”
Holiday offers in Britain
In the United Kingdom, the Muslim community, be they from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, or the Middle East, Ramadan gets a similar treatment to holidays like Christmas. There are discounts on more or less everything, and even superstore chains like Tesco and Asda also take part.
Ramadan essential prices are slashed by most retailers. There are also great offers like buy one get one free. The resemblance to other major holiday sales is quite evident.
Mohammad Khan, who owns a grocery store in South London, said: “We want to provide all our buyers with a satisfactory shopping experience so they come back.”