Big shukran/thanks to my friend Nada Sager who showed me the beauty behind the month of Ramadan. Initially I assumed, like many, that Ramadan is simply fasting from food and drink. I had no idea why it was celebrated, how long it lasted, and the details within the holiday. But thanks to Nada, I have gained a better understanding of Ramadan and am truly excited to share this information with you. And Ramadan Mubarak to all who celebrate!
According to Islamic scripture, Ramadan is the month where the Quran, the Holy Book for Muslims, came down to Earth with Angel Gabriel. Although the Quran was not delivered until the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan, the entire month is significant to the Muslim community as these 29-30 days provide Muslims an opportunity to repent for sins and reconnect with God.
“Ramadan is a time of self reflection and self control,” says Nada. who has taken personal steps to prepare for Ramadan.
I have an addiction to coffee so I have been on a coffee detox for 7 days to prepare. I also am writing lessons to teach at the Masjed (mosque) and planning how many pages of the Quran I want to read daily and which verses I want to memorize.
(ironically enough, we met up at a coffee shop, but she swore it was her first coffee in days.)
Before Ramadan, Muslims can prepare by “detoxing” from addictions that they cannot have as often,. In Nada’s case, she is detoxing from coffee because the only time she can drink it is after sunset…. but the caffeine will keep her up at night .
Smart move, Nada.
When Ramadan starts, people greet each other with “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak” which means “have a generous Ramadan” or “happy Ramadan.”
Ramadan fasting is one that affects multiple aspects of the Muslim lifestyle. Muslims fast with their mouth, their eyes, their ears, their hands, their feet, and their heart.
What does this mean?
Fast with your mouth: Literal fasting as well as refraining from using bad language
Fast with your eyes: Abstaining from things from you shouldn’t look at and watching something unjust and not doing anything
Fast with ears: Don't listen to cursing from peers or from music
Fast with hands: Avoid commiting actions that would displease God such as hurting others
Fast with feet: Do not walk to places you're not supposed to ex.) bar (Muslims typically do not drink although some do)
Fast with heart: Rid yourself of grudges against people, practice self control and be the bigger person
Fasting with your heart in essence is praying for those you dislike, those who betrayed you, or those who hurt you to rid yourself of anger and replace that frustration with content. Nada follows suit and prays for everyone
I once has a friend who disrespected me and every time I see them I do the bare minimum and say “hello”. Before Ramadan, I came to the conclusion that this bickering was not worth it. I would include them in prayers. I include my friends in my prayers and the person I didn't like.
Nada emphasizes that Ramadan is not simply about empty stomachs and parched mouths, but about “recharging” with God and recommitting yourself. It offers a new beginning for Muslims who feel they have swayed away from God’s path.
The purpose of Ramadan is attaining self control with the entire body, bettering yourself with God and with people in general. It helps put things in perspective. You may have lost a job, broke up with a spouse, or received a failing mark. But these things don’t control your life.
You were created for a higher purpose. You have the right to be upset but it's part of God's plan and if you are true to God know that He will not forsake you.
She then quotes the Quran verse 93:4
"What is to come is better than what has passed by."
End of Ramadan:
The last 10 nights of Ramadan are the most important. This is because this is when the Quran came down to Earth. And during one of these 10 days is Laylat-Al-Qadr or the night of power. The date changes annually but it often falls on an odd day and many believe it is the 27th. According to Islam, this is the night when the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad by God. it’s the most important day to pray as good deeds done on this day hold more significance than any other day in Islam. During Laylat-Al-Qadr, the sun will not have rays so you can look straight at it. Islamic Scholars believe the sun is weak on this particular day because angels are blocking the sun’s beams.
After Ramadan is Eid Al- Fitar which means “Festival of Breaking Fast”. Muslims come to masjid and pray and EAT FINALLY.
They then swap the phrase Ramadan Mubarak with "Eid Mubarak" which translates to “blessed holiday” and signifies the end of fasting and the end of Ramadan
Ramadan is a beautiful holiday celebrated by Muslims across the globe. It emphasizes the importance of self control and self reflection and allows Muslims to recommit themselves to God. Although fasting from food and drink is one of the main acts discussed, Ramadan is about fasting from worldly distractions and improving yourself to be a servant of God.