Muslims around the world are currently participating in the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the holy month in the Islamic calendar and is a spiritual journey as well as a physical and mental/emotional one. It’s when millions of people fast for long periods of the day and try to be the best Muslims they can be.
From sunrise to sunset, Muslims of all ages refrain from eating, drinking, gossiping, backbiting, arguing/fighting, sex, and anything else negative. On the East Coast, we wake up at (or stay awake until) 3:30am, eat something for breakfast, and do not eat for the next 16-17 hours. We break our fast at around 8:30pm. The time ranges differ from region to region, from country to country, because there are different sunrise and sunset times.
The month of Ramadan is a spiritual journey. It’s a lot more than just not eating all day. It’s more of a mental cleanse where we push ourselves to our limits and try our best to be the best versions of ourselves. We eat big dinners with our families, pray extra prayers, and rejoice as a community. I feel a spiritual connection with people all around the world and that feels good – it feels like I am a part of something way bigger than just myself.
There are exceptions to fasting – those who are young, too old, traveling, ill, pregnant, and those who are on their periods are exempt from fasting, but are still asked to be the best and holiest versions of themselves.
It’s amazing because during this month, we all understand what it is to be poor, to not have food or water, like those who are less fortunate. No matter how rich or poor, no matter where you live, and no matter what the color of your skin is, during the month of Ramadan, we come together and partake in a grueling spiritual journey that essentially makes us better and more grateful people.
As the 29-30 days go on, the fasts get easier. That’s not to say that they get easy because not eating or drinking for long hours of day never really gets easy. But you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride for getting stronger throughout the month.
At the end of the month, we have a huge day of celebrations called Eid Al-Fitr – it is one of the 2 biggest celebrations in the Islamic calendar. It is one of the happiest days when we all celebrate with our family and friends, we eat lots of food, and we wear extravagant clothes.
We are about a week or so into Ramadan and it’s going to be over by July 17 I think. So happy Ramadan to all those who are partaking in this holy month, and to the rest of you all, I wish you a holy and happy month. If you see a Muslim who is fasting, wish them a happy month and tell them you’re rooting for them and they can get through the long day and it might make their day, who knows!