Ramadan means something different for everyone. As a time of self-reflection, those of us observing it have very personal responses to Islam’s holy month of fasting.
“Allah said ‘Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me. I give the reward for it.”
There’s a silent pact with fasting. With the last drop of water at dawn, to the first taste of dates at dusk, it’s between you and God. That’s what I like about this month of patience. Unlike other acts of worship which are more community-based, your roza is more a state of mind, in my opinion.
As a kid, I remember an air of festivity during the month; the excitement of waking up for sehri in the wee hours of the night in cold winters; “half-rozay” for days when I was too young to understand fasting, but wanted to participate; playing out in the sun and running home as soon as the sun started to set; Aloo-walay parathay with the grandparents; a loud siren at fajr before a sound of a firecracker; iftar tv transmissions and waiting patiently (and not so patiently) for the maghrib azaan…
One of my earliest memories of the month is as an 8-year old. My cousins were visiting us during Ramadan and my grandfather took us to Japanese park (the children’s park at the Margalla foothills). The older kids, 8 and 10 respectively had decided to fast. Of course, we’d forgotten all about that in the excitement of going to the park. After running around in the sandy grounds, trying out every slide, swing and balance beam, we were exhausted. The younger kids decided to get cotton candy at this point — which soon resulted in one of the biggest tests of patience I’ve experienced =p.
Since then, Ramadan has meant a lot of different things for me. My own relationship with the month has seen fluctuations, with spiritual highs and lows. But if I had to identify one element that has been consistent, it’s gratitude (shukr). I’m grateful for having a month of reflection – whether it is to think about past actions, life changes, or self-improvement. I’m glad that I get the chance to break away from a routine in which I often lose myself to rediscover my goals in life; perhaps to strengthen connections that are lost, both worldly and spiritual. And most of all, I’m thankful for things I usually take for granted the rest of the year; Ramadan makes me think of my blessings in life.
What does Ramadan mean for you?