Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar, is a time to introspect, ponder and look deep within oneself.
It is a time to put aside our normal indulgences- be they food, drink or smoking- and overcome our vices, like gossiping, backbiting or impatience. It is, of sorts, an annual spiritual training camp, when our focus shifts from mere worldly pursuits and fulfilment of our bane desires to a higher, metaphysical level. Abstinence and reflection- accompanied by more prayers, repentance and gratitude- all serve towards fortifying our souls and enhancing an awareness of our spiritual realm.
Contrary to popular belief, fasting is not just staying away from food or drink for several hours a day. In actual fact, it is an intensive exercise in ‘self control’ in all aspects of our existence; from watching our manners, speech, conduct, to managing our time and prioritising worship as most important. Additional prayers -both individually and in congregation (known as ‘Tarawih’)- make Ramadan a month of intensive meditation.
Pride of place, throughout this blessed month, is the recitation, reading and contemplation of the Holy Quran, the sacred text Muslims unanimously believe is the direct Word of God. In actual fact, Ramadan is a celebration of the Holy Quran, which is a Guidebook and manual on how to live a pious and successful life. As stated in the Quran: “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong. So those of you who witness the month must fast in it” (2: 185).
Contrary to popular belief, fasting is not just staying away from food or drink for several hours a day. In actual fact, it is an intensive exercise in ‘self control’ in all aspects of our existence; from watching our manners, speech, conduct, to managing our time and prioritising worship as most important.
Eid al-Fitr is the culmination of the month-long spiritual training we know as Ramadan. Quite like a graduation ceremony, the Eid festival is a happy celebration of our hard work and efforts. Celebrated with social gatherings, festive food, new clothes and exchange of gifts, it marks the first day of the new (10th) month in the Islamic calendar.
Eid Mubarak everyone!
Mobeena Inam is a freelance writer and member of the Bahrain Writers’ Circle. An Education & Training specialist, she has a special passion in intercultural issues and cross- cultural communication. She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org