Nothing tastes as incredible as the first bite of a date when breaking your fast. It’s a time when relief fills the body, the vexing hunger fades away, and the mind is at ease.
Ramadan: a time when the body is weary, but the soul feels vibrant.
Ramadan is the holy month in Islam when Muslims celebrate the Quran, the holy text, being revealed to humanity. During this month, we fast from sunrise to sunset. Muslims do not eat or drink anything — no, not even water. The purpose of fasting is to reflect on the blessings we have in our daily life that we may not normally pay attention to. But Ramadan is more than just fasting — it’s a time to be more spiritual, to focus on charity, and to pick up better habits.
For instance, this Ramadan I’ve made it a point to take fewer naps. To put things in perspective here, when you can’t eat or drink all day, you get tired, right? Well, if time is spent sleeping, there’s precious time wasted that could be used instead to be more immersed in the spirit of Ramadan. During this extra time, I listen to podcasts, recitations of the Quran, and reading the Quran in Arabic alongside the English translation. It’s a routine I try to create so that it can continue long after Ramadan has passed.
Many tend to ask, “Why are some people so religious only during this time of the year? Why can’t they be this spiritual all the time?” and I have to stop and really think about these questions. If I am trying to better myself in Ramadan, why can’t I do it all year round? I am no scholar by any means, but the way I see it, there is a certain aura that I feel during Ramadan. Everyone around me is fasting, praying, and reading the Quran — this warm sense of community brings forth a personal drive to immerse myself into this divine month. And I don’t see anything wrong with that: for someone to enter Ramadan wanting to be the best version of themselves. Even if that person leaves Ramadan with one strong habit, it has already made a positive difference in their lives.
Another notable aspect of Ramadan is the thoughtfulness of non-Muslims in our communities. This year, on the first day of Ramadan, I walked into my class weary because I was still getting used to the new Ramadan schedule. When I sat down, my teacher came up to me and said, “Happy Ramadan!” This gesture warmed my heart. A few days later, a friend of mine asked me if I could chew gum while I was fasting. I shook my head and explained that besides gargling water, Muslim don’t really intake anything while fasting. She then explained that she wanted to know because she planned on buying lots of gum for me since I wouldn’t be able to eat. Both gestures continue to make me smile every time I think about it. These simple acts showed me how much they really cared — that they spent time thinking about Ramadan, and wanted to celebrate with me.
If you know anyone who is Muslim, whether it be a teacher, student, co-worker, or a neighbor, I encourage you to just say Ramadan Mubarak. Especially in a time where there is so much division in our world, a simple acknowledgement will surely make their day.