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Why Ramadan?

Apr 18, 2023 | Islam, Personal

Listening to the bird chirps on a clear Sunday morning, I am blessed to having been a part of yet another Ramadan with my family. Time has a way of running past you, especially if you cherish those moments. It slows down for the ones you dread. I’ve grown to appreciate the beauty in both. One thing is for sure- time does not rewind itself. This Ramadan, just like any other I have experienced in my life will not come back.

The sparrow that rested on the rail of our balcony just took a dive, in search of its next meal. Achieving simplicity in one’s life makes it easier to remember God. This in turn makes Ramadan more worthwhile. Having maintained my life’s complexities and running behind a vast vision of non-spiritual goals for the most part of this month, I grieve to see three weeks pass by in a flash. Life takes you forward but Ramadan pulls you back. I am now slowing down. Breathing slow. Typing slow. Be it early mornings or late nights, Ramadan is about bringing a change in your life- in your words, thoughts and actions.

Is there a need for Ramadan? The lifestyle coaches and gurus talk about benefits of intermittent fasting. But not one goes to the lengths of cutting off water from dawn to dusk like Muslims do. Of course, Ramadan is not just about food and water. Most of our dietary needs are maintained by the heavy iftar (breakfast at dusk) and suhoor (dinner at dawn) that most of us are accustomed to. The essence of Ramadan lies in abstinence, as in depriving your base desires to focus on the reality of our being- our destiny and the one who determines it.

Ramadan is all the more impactful in a world with less distractions, without social media. The attention-seeking technology takes away from us precious time that may be spent elsewhere in the pursuit of deep spiritual thinking, problem-solving and building relations. Any activity is more fulfilling without it. While performing a minor pilgrimage in Mecca last week, my partner wanted to capture the moment, it was as obligatory upon the individual as the dressing up in Ihram, the seven circumambulations around the holy Ka’abah and the seven walks between the hills of Safa and Marwah.

Modernity makes man a cyborg, with his symbiotic (sometimes parasitic) nature of relationship to his phone, demanding his attention with casino-themed chimes and notification bells. Ramadan makes us believe that if we can live without water from dawn to dusk, we can starve from social media surely.