Millions of Muslims across the world will observe fasting during the month of Ramadan. Fasting from dawn to sunset each day will coincide with some of the longest days in the year for those living in northern hemisphere as Ramadan falls in mid June and July. For those fasting in the UK this will result in approximately 18-19 hours without food and water.
Despite the long hours, it is considered as a time of great blessings and importance, cherished by Muslims around the globe.
Fasting is prescribed in the Qur’an for those who are fit and able: “God has prescribed fasting for you, as was prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain God-consciousness (2:183).” Those who are travelling, the elderly, children, and sick, are not required to fast.
What do individuals learn/experience from Ramadan? The Muslim News reports.
Mahdi Abbas Juma, 22, London, said: “The month of Ramadan is one that presents us with the opportunity to immense in reflection and spiritually; rejuvenate our soul and faith. The physical challenge of fasting from dawn to dusk, especially in the longer hours in North Europe, enables us to experience the pangs of hunger and hardship felt by many across the world, thereby promoting a sense of compassion and humanity to waken and uplift our character.”
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, aims to focus on physical and spiritual characteristics by exercising self restraint and developing God consciences.
Halima Khan, 42, Manchester, explains: “Besides having many health benefits, fasting helps us to control our desire for food, teaching us patience and the need to control our greed. This also makes us think about those less fortunate than ourselves, who don’t readily have access to luxury foods.”
Those fasting are encouraged to focus their attention on good actions and avoid bad habits. Halima adds: “It is a blessed and rewarding month so we should devote as much time as possible to praying, reading the Qur’an, giving charity, and refrain from bad habits such as swearing, gossiping and arguing.”
Rabia Ali, 21, student, said: “Ramadan is a blessed month for Muslims because through the long hours of fasting as well as experiencing the physical hardship of hunger and thirst, we are also reminded of our spiritual stance and are thus able to refocus ore efforts on improving our worship to Allah. Ramadan drives me to donate to charity more than any other time of the year as my compassion for those without food, water, shelter is increased. I endeavour to keep this up throughout the rest of the year.”
Kalsum Akhtar, 38, Wolverhampton, said: “This Ramadan I intend to take time out and reflect within and find a better me. Ramadan is the best opportunity to do this and also to ponder over the many signs around us to appreciate the wonders of Allah. I also think this is an unmissable opportunity to connect with the variety of families and cultures within the community on reviving the Sunnah in joining ties and building bridges. Iftaar is brilliant for this. I pray Allah accepts my Du’as.”
Saffiyah Ali, 16, student, said: “The purpose of the blessed month is simply dedication and worship to Allah. I enjoy the atmosphere as there is a strong sense of family and community unity. Ramadan teaches us important qualities such as sacrifice, self-discipline, and tolerance.”
Mesam Ali, 22, student, London, said: “Ramadan is a month of striving for the hereafter and becoming a better person by putting aside worldly desires. It’s not just about not eating, it’s about controlling yourself from wrongdoings. When I stop eating I become aware of the more important things in life and therefore I am able to increase my worship to Allah and better my deen.”
Fahima Khan, 29, teacher, Birmingham, said: “Ramadan is a spiritual retreat for me even though I am still in my usual surrounding and living my day to day life. It’s the time of the year when I reflect on life and my relationship with God. I try to limit my social interactions and spend more moments with my Creator through supplication, recitation and understanding of God’s words in the hope I come out of Ramadan better in my faith.”
Faeeza Vaid, Executive Director of MWNUK, said that Ramadan “guides us to truly believe that only Allah is Almighty, and all human beings are equal and entitled to justice. Women who are suffering domestic violence, forced marriage, FGM, mental health issues and all other struggles find ease. Ramadan brings respect, goodwill, peace, and compassion for all of humanity.”