Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان, Ramaḍān) is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Qur’an was revealed to Angel Gabriel, who later revealed it to the Prophet Muhammad. It is the Islamic month of fasting (sawm), in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the person patience and humility. Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of God, and to offer even more prayer than usual. In Ramadan Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance into the future, ask for help in refrain from everyday evils and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.
Here’s my list of personal favourite reasons why I love Ramadan:
1. Waking up with my husband for his pre-sunrise meal, sehri. We never have alone time, and I really enjoy our great conversation over toast at 4 in the morning.
2. Sharing the rituals of Ramadan with my kids, who are getting old enough to participate in and understand aspects of their religion.
3. Iftaar (breaking the fast) gatherings with family and friends. I love the social aspect of Ramadan – sharing a meal and one’s spirituality with a community of loved ones is very precious indeed.
4. The sunset ritual at Maghrib. Lighting incense, listening to the Azaan (the call to prayer – directly from Mecca courtesy of Youtube), eating dates and drinking sharbat (rose-flavoured pink milk) with my family.
5. A return to my spiritual roots in a sea of material concerns and mundane worries. For at least a few days each year, I turn inward, seeking to expand my spiritual horizons and focus on my Ibadat (my faith). This year I hope to carry these lessons forward, beyond Ramadan.