Today, millions of Muslims around the world will mark the start of Ramadan, a month of prayer, fasting from dawn to dusk and a time for reflection, spiritual renewal and peace. The word ‘Ramadan’ derived from the Arabic word ‘Ramadaa’ means intense scorching heat and dryness. Ramadan is a month that is considered to burn away sins with prayer and fast. Fasting, in general, is a means to humble oneself and help increase one’s moral discipline as well as serve as a reminder of the plight of the needy and the lesser fortunate. The spirit of Ramadan encourages people to get the meal had after breaking the fast, Iftar, as a communal meal shared with family and friends.
Back in India, Ramadan went unnoticed with just a few of my Muslim classmates keeping the fast.
However, it is during my days working at a Government facility amongst the UAE locals who strictly adhered to the principles of the holy month continuing to function normally like they would on any other day, that the weight of their efforts and dedication came to my notice. Peace seems to surround the people and everyone is friendlier. They kept up their fast and functioned normally during days when the desert sun mercilessly scorched the land beneath, stretching the periods of fast from anywhere between twelve to fifteen hours.
Being non-Muslim, it was a delight to get invitations to ‘Iftars’ where friends from all communities were invited to share the spirit of the month with a sumptuous evening meal.
As serenity and calm take over during this month of fast and prayer, here is wishing the Muslims of the world, Ramadan Kareem.