The meaning of Ramadan
As Ramadan approaches, 8 individuals share their thoughts on what this holy month means to them and how they celebrate Eid
Maryam Fuad - Singapore
My family and I always look forward to Ramadan. It's the time when our family comes together for iftar, have discussions and talks, walk together to pray at the mosque and read the Holy Quran as a family to complete within the month of Ramadan. It's more than just fasting; it's a month to reflect, grow and learn as a Muslim. I always look forward to the different foods and delicacies that only comes out during Ramadan. Like 'Khallaj' pastry from Al Reef Bakery or the exchange of dishes with our neighbours.
Ramadan is the time where we feel comfort and the sense of community is really felt here especially in a Muslim country. It's also a time for family bonding, we make it a point to prepare and sit at the dinner table every night. It would be incomplete without my family.
Eyad Abdul Azim - Sudan
Well, it [Ramadan] starts with the observing of the moon to watch for the beginning of the month, since Ramadan is the 9th lunar month we watch for the presence of the moon in the sky the night before to confirm the start of the holy month.
Ramadan is also taken as a chance to meet with and spend time with your family. At the very end of the month, we celebrate Eid Al Fitr. I fast all month and I use the time to get as close as I can with Allah and try to develop good habits in myself. I spend time with my family and friends whenever I can to spread joy and have fun.
I also participate in whatever prayers I can and attempt my very best to get as many good deeds under my belt as possible. In Sudan we even have roadside Iftar (the meal at sunset) where we gather any passerbys and invite them to eat with us to break their fast when it is time. The nights get really energetic while the days are more of a silent passing but we still enjoy the quiet comfort. Eid is also filled with visiting the eldest members of the family and gathering the whole family for food and drink and conversation.
Meher Sultana - Bangladesh
Ramadan is the month of forgiveness so I'm sincerely looking forward to that. It's also a month of giving and sharing through which we strengthen our bonds with our neighbours. I celebrate Ramadan with my family by being a helping hand to my mom in the kitchen and we all sit together for breaking our fast. During Eid we also pray together, visit our friends and neighbours and exchange gifts.
Ali Hamid - India
Ramadan to me is the month of opportunity, for spiritual cleansing, growth and giving. We believe it is the month when the gates of hell are closed. I celebrate Ramadan using the opportunity to pray as much as often, and donating as much as we can. We give food, clothes and help for those in need. We also celebrate in a grander way during Eid, the closure of Ramadan.
Hunada Kanbar - Syrian/ Canadian
The things we learn and look forward to this month is firstly, separation between achievement and fulfillment of needs. We may be faced with difficult situations in our lives where our needs are not being entirely fulfilled; many people see these situations as hindering to achievement. However, during those 30 days of fasting, one is faced with one of their needs not being fulfilled during the peak time of their achievement, the day time.
However, I have challenged myself to increase my output rather than give in to the situation and this challenge makes you stronger. An opportunity to test the limits we have set for ourselves and go even further.
Lastly, the most fulfilling achievement is the one that doesn't await recognition or evaluation from those around them. It is a personal achievement, at the end of the holy month one looks back and feels accomplished and satisfied, it is a chance for reflection without waiting for praise, helping you make an honest evaluation and giving you a true sense of freedom. This achievement is celebrated in the three days of Eid.
Mohammed Khawaja - Palestine
During Ramadan I pray, read the Quran and spend more time with my family. Some people take Ramadan as a new fresh start such as dieting or reflecting on ourselves. Then once Iftar comes we visit other family members and we sit and eat together as a family, enjoy each other's company and make delicious sweets such as the Qatayef and Kanafeh. We also exchange food dishes with our neighbours and give food to the poor people in need.
Gazala Parker - India
During Ramadan, we pray together as a family and help people who are most in need by donating and going out of our way to help them. I think the month of Ramadan helps me better understand the less fortunate and so we give donations to the neediest. Finally, after a few days of rest my family and I would celebrate Eid by going out to eat and meeting our relatives.
Hatim Shami - UK/Bahrain
To me, Ramadan is a month of prayer but it has a more spiritual meaning as well. It is a time to reflect on myself and to put myself in another person's shoes who does not have the same luxury as we do. During Eid, we travel to Bahrain to meet our families and friends and we celebrate together.