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This year, Ramadan will be different. Even though we can't gather together, let’s make Ramadan the best month we can in this crucial time.

Ramadan

By Sabah Siddiqui, Donor & Program Associate

April 28, 2020

As we all know India is a country of many religions and celebrations. In all the festivals, we show respect to all religions and care for each other. During a festival, we are closer to each other and get the chance to learn more about other cultures and religions.

The Ramadan month

This year, Ramadan begins April 25th through May 24th, 2020. Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture. Muslims observe Ramadan during the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Most people are aware that Muslims fast during Ramadan. Fasting is the fourth of the five pillars of the Islam. These pillars, or duties, form the basis for how Muslims practice religion. According to Islam guide, the pillars of Islam are:

  1. – Shahada: faith in the Islam religion
  2. – Salat: pray five times per day facing the direction of Mecca
  3. – Zakat: give support to the needy
  4. – Sawm: fast during Ramadan
  5. – Hajj: make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime

The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God, and to help the faithful focus on good things. During Ramadan, the observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. In the whole month of Ramadan, we avoid everything, including food and water for 14 hours. Apart from food, we also refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol, and as well as fighting, lying and gossiping. My experience of fasting during Ramadan is that it strengthens my soul. I have observed that we all behave very calm when we fast. The age of fasting is anyone older than 8 years. However, the pregnant, ill, elderly, menstruating, and traveling don’t need to fast.

During Ramadan, we also pray five times every day. This is a very special and holy month for Muslims because the month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran (The Holy book) was revealed. We believe the Quran is a guidance for mankind. The Quran has 30 sections; during Ramadan we read, practice, and fulfill our knowledge with family or at a mosque each day. Ramadan is time for us to connect more deeply with Allah (God), and try to become more God-conscious, acquire self-control and become aware of the problems of the poor, sick, and hungry of the world.

For the month of Ramadan, we wake up before sunrise and having a light meal followed by prayer in which we make an intention and commitment to ourself that we will keep the fast for today and follow all good things. From that time we don’t have any food. With our regular household work and office work, we keep fasting with prayers five times in a day. At sunset, we break the fast with a few dates and a glass of water and then pray. After prayers, we have “Iftari” (The Meal) which my mother prepares. Most people make delicious foods. The best part of Iftari is the abundance of fruit. During Ramadan, we have all the fruits and food like a buffet and we can have what ever we want to eat. We also make extra food so we can share with our neighbors and at the mosque. We share at the mosque with anyone who doesn’t have enough food to break their fast. Sometimes, people are stuck in a college class, tutoring or at their job when sunset happens. They too can break the fast at a mosque or a special road side stall without any cost. I love seeing these things. We say giving is the best practice in this month, and try to continue giving after Ramadan.

After 30 days of fasting, we celebrate Eid on the next day. Everyone wears new clothing and eats the traditional Muslim “Sheerkhurma” (a sweet dessert), as well as Chicken Biryani. We invite our relatives, friends and neighbors and have the best time with them. I always invite my friends, especially to my non-Muslim friends, so they can taste the food and enjoy with me. My friends love to join on this occasion, and I also go to their festivals and I really loved it too.

This year’s Ramadan is different from the previous years. As we all know the current situation all over world with Covid-19. India is under lockdown until May 3rd, or even longer if this order is extended. Each day people are at high risk of infection. We hear of so many people dying every day. When we would normally be gathering as an extended family, community and at mosques in the Ramadan month, the best thing we have to do this year is avoid the social gathering.

This Ramadan we have a bigger responsibility.

– Iftar, the sunset meal, is usually a party with family, relatives, and friends. But this year, we must not have parties. Instead of this, we can eat at our home without inviting anyone. We must all take responsibility for people in need by sharing food, but we must take the correct precautions too.

– In Ramadan, “zakat” or charity, is compulsory so we have to make sure we give charity as much as we can and help to each one of them who needed help in this critical time.

– Praying is important. Men would normally pray at the mosque, but mosques are closed, so we all need to pray at home with our families to prevent spreading the virus. Prayer is dependent on our intention. If our intention is pure, Allah will be accepting from anywhere.

– For this Ramadan, we will also need to avoid Eid shopping. We learn from our holy book that we have to wear clean cloth for the Eid celebration. So, in this, we have to wear our old and clean clothing to celebrate Eid, and everyone needs to stay at home on Eid. Our best wear is intention, positivity, behavior, and respect.

Let’s think in this way and make Ramadan the best month we can in this crucial time.


A note from the author: I was very happy for the opportunity to write about Ramadan and share with my non-Muslim friends why I love this time of year

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