Every year, I patiently anticipate the month of Ramadan, my favorite month of the year. For my non-Muslim friends wondering what Ramadan is, Ramadan is like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but more like 30 days of Christmas. Everyday, during the month of Ramadan about 1.6 billion Muslims around the world spend their daylight hours fasting. From sunrise to sunset, from dawn to dusk, we abstain from food, water, any sort of beverage, and other physical needs.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims often donate to charities and feed the hungry. Fasting is intended to remind us of the suffering of those less fortunate. However, the month of Ramadan is not about suffering, it’s a month filled with gratitude, forgiveness, compassion and countless blessings. It’s about something so much greater than I could describe or put into words. Just imagine 1.6 billion people around the world united for one cause ,imagine everyone in your hemisphere breaking their fast at the exact same moment, regardless of their location . Ramadan is about oneness and unity.
Fasting isn’t just a disconnection between the human body and food, it’s about the purification of your soul, it’s about building a connection between you and your spirit and ultimately God, a connection so strong that you feel an outer body experience. The best way I could describe it, as though your soul is being nourished and cleansed while your stomach is on empty. You are preventing your mind from becoming a slave to your desires. Everyday you awake, as though you are a newborn, forgiven of your sins and shortcomings.
Ramadan is much more than not eating and drinking, it’s about self-sacrifice, it’s about strengthening your relationship with your creator, it’s about cleansing in every way possible, it’s about mending relations, asking for forgiveness, it’s about restraining from bad thoughts or words, it’s about detaching from worldly pleasures, it’s about reflection.
This year Ramadan fell in the middle of the year, despite the heat and the long hours of fasting, I’m glad that Ramadan started in June, since June is the half mark till the end of the year. The month of Ramadan is a good way to slow us down in our tracks and let us reflect on what we have done since the beginning of the year and to prepare for what’s ahead of us. It’s a time where we can re-evaluate our lives, a time for peace and spiritual rejuvenation.
I urge my non-Muslim friends to partake in one day of fasting. Trust me, it will be an experience you won’t forget, whatever religion you follow, just try it out for a day, and if you want to break your fast with some company you’re always welcome to come to my house. My door is always open.
For my Muslim friends, please reach out to anyone who’s spending Ramadan without their family, or anyone who wants to know about the culture of Ramadan, invite them over for iftar. Inviting someone during the month of Ramadan is one of the noblest deeds.
I wish you all a peaceful, spiritual, enlightening, enriching experience during Ramadan. Ramadan Kareem!!!