With the start of Ramadan this week, this is a good opportunity to provide an insight into what Ramadan is and the importance it plays in all Muslims’ lives.
It may appear as if Ramadan is a period of time when Muslims do not eat during the day but enjoy a nice big meal in the evening. Ramadan is about much more than this. Ramadan is a month of fasting and refraining from anything that may be classed as bad for your mind and body. Ramadan involves abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. This gives those observing Ramadan the opportunity to reconnect with their faith and focus on the daily prayers.
Some people may ask what are the reasons behind starving yourself? Ramadan allows those observing the period of fasting to understand the suffering that many millions of people face on a daily basis due to poverty and famine. The end result of Ramadan is a feeling of being more grateful for everything that you have and being able to understand the pain that others face. If someone is not observing the requirement to fast, this should not be assumed to be due to a lack of commitment to Islam. There are exemptions from this requirement, for example, if you are elderly, taking medication, pregnant or breastfeeding or where it may impact on your ability to do your job (particularly where this might put others at risk). If you are exempt, you can compensate for this by doing good deeds such as donating to charity.
Growing up, I always looked forward to the month of Ramadan as I felt it was an opportunity to improve myself. Each Ramadan, I write a list of what I want to achieve and how I can do this. For example, this Ramadan it is my goal to start wearing a headscarf, which (for me) represents a significant milestone in my commitment to Islam.
My favourite part of Ramadan is seeing how my friends, family and everyone in the community are all trying to better themselves and reconnect spiritually. This really pushes me to achieve the goals I set.
This is the first Ramadan when I will be working in a full-time role. As much as I have worried about whether I will be able to achieve my goals this Ramadan, I am extremely grateful to be working at a firm which is supportive and embraces different cultures, such as the creation of a dedicated space for prayer, and allowing me to structure my day differently for the month.
Join me as I take you along my personal journey during Ramadan. This is a brilliant opportunity for everyone to find out more about Ramadan and ask any questions.
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