I think it’s safe to say that nearly every Muslim who has fasted during the month of Ramadan in a Western country has, no doubt, come across someone who insists that we Muslims are accomplishing the impossible.
“No food from dawn until dusk?! How many hours is that? And no water!? I could never do that!”
I know that some people get annoyed when they hear this, but for me it’s a classic that I live for every time Ramadan comes around. On the surface, I humbly reply with, “No, really, it’s not that bad,” but in my head, I’m so pumped up from hearing this that I can’t help but think, “Yeah, I know! I am pretty incredible, after all. I mean really, they should cast me as Superwoman already.” (*Flips hijab*)
Jokes aside, in my opinion, the best part about Ramadan is that it’s so much more than what’s presented at the surface level. I liken it to how I feel about wearing the hijab: It’s more than placing a simple cloth around your head; it’s the actual act of wearing it that breathes life into me.
Ramadan is not just about the food and drink we abstain from (and for some, the bad breath that subsequently follows). It is a necessary action that inserts itself into our lives as a reminder that the temporary hunger that we subject ourselves to is nothing when compared to the true hunger of the poor and the tribulations they endlessly endure.
Ramadan is not just a month that inspires our appreciation for every drop of water we sip; it is also a month of action. There is this thread of logic that weaves itself throughout the days of Ramadan, and the logic stipulates that now that 1.6 billion plus Muslims have experienced hunger, it’s time for us to give to those who are truly hungry. The act of charity, if it is within your means, is mandatory, giving Ramadan a level of importance that expands beyond the individual. There is awareness and action allowing us to strive for a better self and community. When we become better, the world benefits.
There is a sense of hope that one gets when they go to their local mosque and see other Muslims gathered in one location, wanting to actively participate in this global event. It is this feeling of awe as you place yourself in a beautiful building crammed with people who, for their own unique personal reasons, are inspired to become the best versions of themselves.
And I know that fasting and giving to the poor sounds serious and stark, but for those who have completed this experience, there is this general consensus that the feelings accompanying these actions are anything but. Because along with the fasting and the charity, there is also this sudden surge of unity that can really only be described as sensational. There is a sense of hope that one gets when they go to their local mosque and see other Muslims gathered in one location, wanting to actively participate in this global event. It is this feeling of awe as you place yourself in a beautiful building crammed with people who, for their own unique personal reasons, are inspired to become the best versions of themselves.
When thinking about all the rewards I get through my own personal growth in fasting, I still smile every time I hear those questions asked or comments made about Ramadan. Anyone who has accomplished fasting the month of Ramadan, knows my secret – It’s never about the price we pay in short term sacrifices; it’s about the reward that Ramadan generously disperses to all those who are truly seeking enlightenment. It’s about the reward of community, the reward of spiritual rejuvenation, the reward of being reminded about how lucky you truly are to experience all of this.
And, because I appreciate the little things in life, there’s also the reward of truly great memes that perfectly capture the various feelings felt during Ramadan.
Yes. The reward vastly outweighs the price, making each day of Ramadan precious to a Muslim. And in the end, there is a quality of self determination that is achieved. If we allow it to grow, it can shape a vision for ourselves illustrating who we want to be for the rest of the year.
No matter how far we stray from who we want to be, no matter how distracted we become, the promise of Ramadan arriving every year is a beacon of hope for every Muslims. That’s the magic of this special time of the year – the constant guarantee that it is never too late to reach your full potential mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
So to all my fellow Muslims, take advantage of Ramadan while Ramadan is still here, because Ramadan – and the growth that comes with it – is worth every second of the time we pass throughout the day, as we wait to eat and drink.