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What Does Ramadan Mean for Me?

A month of prayer, community, and fasting.
Lena White ’25

Since I was younger, when I heard the word Ramadan, a small part of me jumped a little from excitement. The smell of home cooked meals on an empty stomach always made me feel warm while imagining the feelings of iftar. 

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar and is a month of prayer, reflection, community, and fasting. 

This time is so special to us because it was when our holy book, the Quran, was revealed to our prophet. To us Muslims, this is one of the most important times of the year encouraging us to fully immerse ourselves into the Islamic culture. 

We try our best to sacrifice all bad habits and work towards bettering ourselves as a whole both spiritually and mentally. 

Fasting is when a person does not eat or drink water until permissible. Muslims begin their fast at sunrise with a meal called suhoor, eating and fueling them for the day, and when the sun sets Muslims break their fast with a big feast called iftar. 

While fasting we refrain from things like cursing, lying, and judging others but we increase the amount of patience and grace that we grant to people. 

It is also very impartial that we give sadaqah which is providing for the less fortunate and people that need it.

Ramadan means different things to each Muslim. For example, I work on being kinder and sitting in silence more allowing myself to meditate and calm down in times of ease, frustration, or happiness.

Not eating during Ramadan helps me empathize with what it feels like to go through a state of forced and consistent hunger, and although I have the opportunity to eat at the end of the day, it is always very humbling knowing that some people do not.

Every Muslim can participate in the holy month, but some people are not obliged to fast. Anyone who is struggling with severe health problems both mentally and physically should not partake. Pregnant mothers, breastfeeding women, children, and people traveling do not have to, but if they feel inclined then they can.

This unique month is followed by one of the two major Islamic holidays called Eid Al-Fitr. Eid is celebrated by Muslims wearing their best, most formal clothing and all gathering together to participate in a morning prayer. It is customary to give gifts rewarding and showing appreciation for the hard work done during the month. 

As tradition, my family and I go out to a formal breakfast and travel around the city visiting different mosques and engaging with the community and planning activities. 

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  • W

    Will HaleApr 2, 2024 at 10:57 am

    I chose this article because this year is my first year of Ramadan and first year of being a Muslim. I feel as though during this period of fasting, I’ve learned to let go bad habits, connect myself with god, and find peace and solutions within situations. This time has been very special to me. Learning all of the new things I never knew, and contributing in activities I’ve never participated in before. A couple of things I took from this period was how many things have changed, humbling experiences, and finding a deeper relationship with my Muslim family and god. Reading this article was touching and relatable because of the connection of feelings l felt reading this.

  • J

    JamesMar 21, 2024 at 10:29 am

    Me personally I do not observe in Ramadan nor am I part to the Islamic faith but I still do try myself try and make a closer relationship with God. Holidays like that and Lent are very special to me because not only is fasting so important food wise, but bettering your habits and the things you do to me just as important. I feel like not a lot of people get that, they think that Ramadan is just about not eating when in reality you are also in a way fasting from the unholy things of this world and even your regular everyday life. Now since I am older and more aware of the things that are going on around me try and partake by becoming closer with God and leaving behind habits and things that are deemed as unholy or unnecessary to my everyday life. That feels special to me.

  • T

    TiyeMar 21, 2024 at 8:58 am

    I do not observe Ramadan but I observe Lent which is similar to Ramadan. Right now is a period called Lent where you are supposed to give up something or a habit to represent Jesus fasting in the desert for 40 days. In previous Lent times I’ve given up watching Youtube, or chocolate. Other people give up eating red meats. I believe some people do participate in fasting during the days in lent, but it is not as common as fasting is with Ramadan. Lent is also a time period to give up bad habits and do some reflection on your actions. At the end of Lent is Good Friday and normally people go to church for mass that day and in Barbados, and I’m sure some other places, it is the norm to eat fish on that day.