– RAMADAN –
“And be true to every promise – for, verily you will be called to account for every promise which you have made” – The Holy Quran, Al-Israa’ 17:34
With Ramadan just around the corner once again, I prepare a list of things I wish to do during this Holy Month. To us Muslims, Ramadan is not just considered as the Holiest Month of the year but also a retreat to replenish our souls and reassess our actions throughout the previous year.
During Ramadan, we fast from dawn to dusk. We strive to do more good deeds and pray to God to forgive our sins. However, what most people seem to overlook is the true purpose of Ramadan; it is not to just prevent ourselves from eating, drinking and committing sins. The purpose is to also feel the spirit of Ramadan and share it with others. It should be a joyous experience for everyone.
Here are some tips on understanding the true meaning of Ramadan and turning it into a lifestyle:
Definitely one of the most controversial topics without a real solution. This also acts as a huge contradiction in our society; wastage is actually a huge sin. When I say ‘wastage’, I also say: food, water, money and resources. I say that lives can benefit from what we carelessly leave behind.
In happy occasions like weddings, ridiculous amount of food is being thrown out. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to generalize and say that everyone does this. What we can do is ensure that the extra food isn’t being thrown in the dump when it is in a perfect condition to consume.
Another example of wastage is water – that is, when we keep the tap running while brushing our teeth or washing the dishes. Clean water is a blessing and is not accessible in many countries around the world. We should be determined to not only prevent ourselves from overindulgence but to also prevent wastage.
This is one quality that I might never be able to attain. Patience is a trait that for many, is an illusion.
Muslims believe in an afterlife and that all our deeds in this lifetime are being sowed. In physics, we acknowledge that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” but this theory doesn’t seem to apply to our own actions.
In Islam we believe that we are accounted for our own doings. Despite this, we seem to rush into things without standing back and contemplating the consequences or results of our choices. Ramadan teaches us to be patient with our decisions as well as the people around us. I still have a lot to learn from this.
I’ve seen people display the exact opposite manners they are supposed to. This includes road rage, bad business ethics and gossip. This doesn’t stop in Ramadan – and while no one is perfect or can refrain from doing such things, we are supposed to respect others in their presence or without it.
Monitor your actions and think before you speak – will what you say or do affect someone else? Is it really worth it?
People often preach about the importance of charity – but of course; by giving, you are also receiving! Charity isn’t just limited to money or materialistic things. It definitely isn’t just restricted to the Holy Month of Ramadan. Charity or generosity should not be a virtuous deed but a quality in all of us.
Be generous. Give away things that are in perfect condition, offer a smile or a helping hand. Leave out water and food for stray animals and go around your neighborhood with water and food for workers and neighbors. When you give, you create a space in the universe for those things to come back to you. If they don’t, you are at least left with the feeling of being blessed: being able to give something to someone.
It’s easy to do a good deed but less so to continue doing them. We often (well, I) forget the great things we’ve achieved, the good deeds we’ve done and every great thing we’ve gone through. Before sleeping, think about the things that you’re grateful for. Maybe you’re not extraordinary in your opinion, but you are an individual and you are an existing being and you can read this right now (thanks for reading, by the way). Revise your actions and hope to become better in the days to come.
Are you the person you dream of being? You have days and months and years, not just Ramadan to do this.
Ramadan is the Month of Giving and it is for everyone.
On another note: Think about how you would feel if you left this journey tomorrow – are you happy with how you treated yourself, the people around you and the planet?
Disclaimer: Featured image is by Georg Nietsch and is used for illustrative purposes only.