Ramadan, also called the ‘month of Quran’, is when the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet (P.B.U.H). Muslims fast for the entire month, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. The essence of the month may differ for everyone, but it is a time of the year when the daily routines change completely. Muslims have an early breakfast (Sehri) and then are not allowed to eat or drink anything until the sunset, breaking the fast with the Maghrib prayers. In some countries, the fast is as long as 19 hours. Ramadan is a month of reflection and cleansing (both physical and mental) for Muslims. The month is divided into three sections, where the first 10 days are for asking for forgiveness, the next 10 days are for asking for blessings from God, and the last 10 days are about finding the night – ‘LailatulQadr’, when the Quran was revealed. Praying on the special night is equal to praying for a thousand nights.
We were curious, as to how after staying hungry for the entire day, Muslims can aspire to have a spiritual experience instead of getting cranky, and asked around our Muslim friends to describe their feelings during Ramadan.
“I fight with my wife all day during the beginning of the month, because we are not used to the routine. Ramadan changes our sleeping and eating patterns entirely. But when you read about religion and Quran more, you realize how important patience and tolerance is in the religion and I behave better during the second half of the month. So much so, when Ramadan is about to end a sad feeling prevails, because you have had felt so nice, healthy and cleansed.”
-Hasan, 29 years
“I do not feel hungry at all. It is as if by the help of some unknown power in me, I have defeated all human weaknesses. I love fasting, it makes me feel at peace in my heart. Maybe because you actually make an effort to connect to your spiritual side, when during the rest of the year you are really busy in your life”
-Shaina, 18 years
“Ramadan brings the family together in a special way. In normal days, we are never having dinner at the same time. During Ramadan, my mother ensures that we are there during iftari (when breaking the fast)”
-Ali, 22 years
“I do not feel like working in Ramadan, I just want to sleep and pray.”
-Waqas, 34 years
“I feel like my body has been cleansed of everything. It is a very pure feeling. I feel thinner, mostly because the stomach is empty during the day. But somehow you become a better person in Ramadan, you try to be nice to people, never swear, and you control your anger as much as you can. On Eid though, don’t ask, I get stuffed with food like anything!”
-Nael, 17 years
“I feel closer to God, and it feels like He is listening. I never feel lonely in Ramadan, it is like God is always there, waiting to hear my prayers. I really wish this feeling continues during the rest of the year, when I am stronger as a person, better and spiritually satisfied. But after Ramadan, when you go back to the same routine and life, you start forgetting what you had achieved during Ramadan, and somehow negativity creeps in. I really wish Ramadan was all year long”
-Naina, 25 years
“Being away from home, it is difficult for me to fast. It is a long fast in my country, and nobody around me is fasting. Office is also as usual, so it feels like any other month, except the guilt that I can do more but don’t find the time to. I miss my family, it was a different feeling when everyone used to do it together”
-Bills a.k.a Bilal, 28 years
“My favorite part is during the prayers. I usually go to the mosque at least twice a day for Fajr and Maghrib prayers. It is so peaceful. Listening to the call to prayer, and then sitting in the mosque, just being. I love the feeling”
-Hamza, 24 years
“I am not a muslim, but i have a lot of Muslim friends. I tried fasting with one of my friends last year. I sometimes went to the mosque with her, and it was a mesmerizing experience watching everyone in the hall totally in sync. You really feel peaceful, you cannot define it until you experience it yourself. It is not for me though, I cannot survive without water all day, leaving out food I don’t mind”
-Paulina, 32 years
Ramadan is a month of tolerance and love. Muslims around the world also give Zakat (obligatory religious alms) during the month of Ramadan. The concept is to give back to society and celebrate love with everyone. Even the fast is to remind people of the torment poor go through who cannot even afford to have proper meals.