What Ramadan Means to Me – Guardian

What Ramadan Means to Me – Guardian

Ramadan means ‘to burn’. And it really does feel like it. Having to avoid food and drink (amongst other things) from break of dawn through sunset means I feel the burn in my stomach, at several points throughout the day. Sometimes in my throat as well, when I am required to talk a lot.

To me, Ramadan is a means of submitting willingly to the command of Allah. Islam tells me I have to avoid all these things for this period of time, but it also says I have to guard my conduct, my thoughts, manners. Arguing, obscenities, evil and ignorant speech have all been mentioned specifically. If I don’t, all I stand to gain from fasting would be hunger and thirst, and that’s a heavy price to pay, if you ask me. Thankfully this year, with the Covid restrictions, it’s easier to achieve this since I have no choice but to dissociate with some persons in my social circle for a while, and I am driving less, so the interaction with errant drivers is reduced.

As such, generally I use this time to reset – physically, mentally and spiritually. It helps me to in part be more aware of my behaviour and ‘burn away’ petty comforts and irritants; build a stronger relationship with Allah; and be reminded of those less fortunate who have to face this involuntarily throughout the year. I am required to wake up at 4 am to have a meal before I start the fast. That is a discipline in itself and requires some reconditioning. I strive to schedule my day more in times with the 5 daily prayer, so that I can perform these on time. I usually find myself having to power through whatever is required to be done at work, regardless of how hungry or thirsty (or sleepy) I am. And of course, because I am doing this to obey the command of Almighty Allah, I am encouraged in Islam to not complain about it – it’s something I should be doing willingly.

My 2 daughters, aged 9 and ‘nearly 6’, are usually spared during the week – on weekends they have a go, and fast for shorter periods during the day. So they break the fast at 10 am, and then 2 pm (in theory), but with a short recess at 12 noon (which can continue for maybe an hour, depending on what they are eating). They get most excited at the time to break the fast each day. They help set the table, maybe help me with some cooking (my wife doesn’t like me cooking nor the girls helping me, because it means she has a bigger mess to clean – we are limited to making pholouries only at this point), and of course not wanting to eating a single thing when it’s time to eat, because… kids.

From this experience, I would like others to know that something as simple as fasting in the way we do can helps to not only strengthen our resolve and willpower, and boost our spirituality or relationship with God directly, but also helps take stock of our behaviour and train of thought, and give a better understanding and appreciation of those less fortunate.

Maybe persons don’t have to fast exactly as we do, but should find any means that works for them to boost those areas in themselves – so they too can enjoy the resulting feeling of contentment and absolute peace.

Faheem Mohammed

Comments Are Closed!!!