Sometimes life can feel purposeless, as if we are just living to get by and not really feeling the moment or appreciating the life we have. Ramadan brings purpose, you wake up for Suhoor every morning and know what challenges and goals the day holds. You know that for the most part of the day you will be hungry, thirsty and probably have a migraine. And the temptations from society to listen to music or involve yourself with gossip will arise but despite this, you exercise determination. Oh and how can I forget the withdrawal symptoms from caffeine. The rewards though, are much greater. The feeling of accomplishment that you receive once you have completed a day of fasting, as you kneel down and pray to Allah and thank the Almighty for everything that, on a normal day you would have taken for granted is an unexplainable feeling of euphoria. No matter how religious a person is, Ramadan accepts all prayers and fasts that come from a person with pure intentions. And that’s the beauty of Islam.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a holy month in which 1.8billions of Muslims all around the world dedicate to prayer, Quran recitation, self-analysis and fasting from dawn to sunset in the hope of self-purification. The Arabic word for fasting is ‘sawn’ which translates to ‘refrain’. Fasting for Muslims includes not only abstinence from food, drink but also having sex, gossip, swearing and all evil thoughts and deeds. In this holy month we break our daily fasts with an evening meal called ‘Iftar’ at sunset and open our fasts with ‘Suhoor’ just before sunrise.
Ramadan is not supposed to be a difficult period for Muslims so children, elderly, pregnant, post-natal, breastfeeding or menstruating women are exempt, as are travellers or people who are physically or mentally ill.
Ramadan is important because it is the month in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). In this month, the gates to heaven are believed to be open and the gates to hell to be closed.
What does Ramadan mean to you?
The interpretation of this blessed month is varied from person to person. To better understand what Ramadan means I asked a few people what Ramadan means to them. These are some responses:
“Ramadan is a month of sharing. Not just our food, but sharing our prayers, our humanity and our compassion with our family and people around the globe”
– Mo, aged 45
“Ramadan is about self-reflection. Looking deep within yourself and acknowledging that there are things that you need to change and improve to be a better person”
– Ayshe, aged 19
“Ramadan is a time where we break from 11 months of routine and patterns and embrace the love and hunger”
– Ibrahim, aged 25
“It’s a month that encourages us to increase our good deeds”
– Azem, aged 67
“Ramadan is the time when people are least judgemental. Despite your past actions you are welcomed to do good deeds”
– Hassan, aged 23
“A time where community is really important. People of all races are gathered for the sake of Allah. Having Iftar with strangers and having them call me brother is what Ramadan is all about”
– Yonis, aged 21
“Discipline. It allows me to reach parts of my inner-self that I could never do in an ordinary month”
– Fatima, aged 24
“Ramadan encompasses all of the characteristics and habits that we Muslims are supposed to convey on a daily basis and pushes us to become, strive and actively work towards becoming better human beings”
– Ikram, aged 21
“I look forward to Ramadan because of the serenity and the spiritually that comes with it”
– Idris, aged 17
“The sense of congregation and unison when you know millions of others are partaking in the same actions is an unexplainable feeling”
– Ali, aged 56
As Ramadan comes to a close for another year, I wish those who are celebrating, Eid Mubarak. For those that aren’t, I hope that this has inspired you to learn more about Islam.
‘Ramadan is like rain. It nourishes the seeds of good deeds’