Ramadan is a time for piety, introspection

Fasting teaches patience, helps control impulses and desires, makes one aware of short comings, makes one a more disciplined human being.

By Nasif Kayed (Open Minds)

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Published: Tue 15 May 2018, 10:12 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 May 2018, 12:13 AM

Ramadan is the name of the ninth lunar calendar month. As the lunar year is 10 days shorter than the seasonal calendar, Ramadan falls at the same time every 33 years. What takes place during this month is a spiritual practice called fasting, prescribed by the Lord Almighty, and finds mention in Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism.
Fasting is a part of Islam which literally means to submit and surrender. Those who practice this submission are called Muslims. A fasting person must abstain from eating, drinking, ill feelings, wrongful acts, intimate relation with one's spouse, and should not smoke and no chew gum. Many people ask, what is the purpose of Ramadan?
For Muslims, it is a path to achieve piety and a way to become more conscientious; keeping your behaviour in check from how you speak to how you think, feel, and treat others. The aim is to become aware or mindful of all aspects of your daily life, your values and actions and to think about the choices you make. Additionally, fasting teaches patience, helps control impulses and desires, makes one aware of short comings, makes one a more disciplined human being.
For those who are not part of the Ramadan experience, here are a few suggestions: Enjoy a disruption from the usual.
> While you can still eat and drink during the day in private, hold off as best as you can and join an Iftar meal at the break of the fast at sunset. It's a great time to gather as families, friends, and colleagues.
> Be less driven to impress or attract attention. Choose modest, loose fitting clothes while maintaining a fresh and clean appearance
> Talk less, reflect more and go zero on foul language, gossip and backbiting; watch your body language and attitude, be peaceful and kind.
> Capitalise on the spirit of giving and caring for others, be more charitable and observant of those who are less fortunate around you.
> Try to fast on a Friday or a Saturday, just to get the hang of it.
> Adjust and modify your standard meeting and event schedules, travel plans and driving habits, timings, and places you go. Avoid driving just before Iftar time if possible.
Furthermore, you may want to:
> Get closer to a fasting friend, join your neighbours and be part of the Ramadan days and nights.
> Enquire about Iftar gatherings for the poor, either at a nearby Mosque, or an Iftar Tent, and offer them fruits, juice or a sweet. Do this as a family and involve kids - an exercise of sharing is caring.
> Invite friends or neighbours to your home for Iftar. It's spiritually uplifting.
> Join your Muslim friends in going to the Mosque to experience the prayer, where people from all walks of life gather as one.
Nasif Kayed is Founder and CEO of The Arab Culturalist

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