April 2nd saw the start of the most important month in the Islamic Calendar and for Muslims everywhere around the World. The month of Ramadan (pronounced Ramadhan or also known as ‘Ramzan’) is when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. The start of Ramadan is determined from the sighting of the new moon, likewise Eid the festival after Ramadan is also determined in the same way – once the new moon is sighted.
Fasting means not eating or drinking for many hours a day for 30 days. Contrary to popular belief and to the surprise of my colleagues that means consuming “absolutely nothing”. I have many times been asked if I can drink water, eat fruit etc. The answer is “No, not a morsel must enter the lips!” This may sit funny or surprising to some, but who knew that fasting would be popular now (the intermittent kind).
Fasting (abstaining from eating) may seem hard and this year it is somewhat than most. This year due to being spring, the timings for fasting this year starts between (now) 4.35am to after 8pm. The time however, increases as the month goes by, for example the last fast finished at 9pm (Still long but less than it was).
The important reason for fasting is not only just to abstain from eating, but also to be the best that you can be, with a cleansed mind and soul and praying as much as you can. It is a time to reflect and have empathy with the poor. You can feel this through not eating and by giving charity in this month. This month means abstaining from bad deeds and being spiritual and knowing how the hungry must feel.
What this means to me?
Ramadan is a great time to cleanse, reflect and be soothed through prayer, the reading of the holy (book) Quran and being close to God (Allah). This year the fasts are going well and it’s strange how the body can adapt. The first few fasts are always the most difficult, but after a few they become easier and the body and mind feels more secure. Nearly half way there now!
It is not only a time to reflect but also to come together with your loved ones and fellow Muslims to open the fast and pray together.
This month it is also important to give to the less unfortunate or if for any reason the fast can’t be kept due to illness then one can donate or feed the poor.
It is a beautiful month where prayers can be answered and any prayers and alms are rewarded more than in any other month. This makes this month very beautiful and special!
It’s a time when you contemplate on what you have and reflect on the blessings that we take for granted. The best thing about it is that you have an inner peace and strength that is sometimes hidden. It is also a time of empathy where it allows you to appreciate that you will get food after dusk but there are people out there who still may not have anything to eat even after dusk. And this is the sad fact and is why it is also vital to give charity, always and especially in this month, so that we can help others who are under privileged.
I have a lot to be thankful for and I thank Allah (God) for the food (barkat) and other blessings that I have.
Happy Ramadan to all those fasting!
The last day of Ramadan as stated before is when the moon is sited, therefore the day of Eid cannot be predicted. This year could be 29 days or 30 days. I have taken a few days off and so has my husband and I am so looking forward to it!
We will celebrate the festival of Eid after the 30 days of fasting – which is a great day of celebration. It is particularly great and fun for children, who not only get presents, money, but also get to wear their new clothes. Eid is a time of celebration, new clothes, wearing colourful bangles and nice finery. For men, new clothes and going to the mosque and offering prayers in the morning. A little sweet eaten for breakfast called “seviyan” is also a tradition.
One should follow Eid by keeping up the good deeds, keep praying and contemplating. It is ideal to carry on with the good deeds…. I will certainly try!