Ramadan Mubarak: celebrating religious past and tradition

Dania Nasreldeen

With the many forms of worship around this county, I’m sure that you’ve at least once heard about the religion Islam and its affiliation with Ramadan. Many are practically clueless, so in honor of Ramadan and it’s arrival, and as a Muslim myself, I’m here to share the facts on the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, or more specifically the Sunni Muslim version.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar calendar. For Muslims every year, it is a holy month of fasting, praying, charity, and reflection of oneself. It’s a month of mercy and revelation, as well as redemption. This year, 2022, Ramadan will start on April 2 and end May 1. Muslims all around the world are excited and ready to begin.

For the 1.8 billion Muslims, it is very spiritual and sacred as it acts as a cleansing of the mind and body. Fasting during this month is one of the five pillars of Islam, so after a certain age, it is required for Muslims to fast the entire month, with few exemptions for the sick, travelling, and females during their menstrual cycle.

Fasting is defined as abstaining from all or some kinds of food and drinks, especially due to religious purposes. In Islam, Muslims give up all food and drinks from sunrise to sunset, releasing themselves from even water. No food, no drinks, no gum, nothing at all for those hours between sunrise and sunset. It’s almost like skipping lunch as there is a ritual breakfast before sunrise and a traditional dinner after sunset. 

Although that might sound crazy and difficult, from firsthand experience, I can honestly say it’s not as bad as you think. It’s not that difficult and the deeper into the month it gets, the easier it is to fast every day. Muslims may get hungry or thirsty, but it’s easy to forget about. Time flies pretty fast. 

It also may seem unhealthy, but studies have shown that fasting is beneficial for the body. You’re basically just eating at night so during the day, your body takes a break and focuses on other processes. As research grows in this area of health, fasting is becoming more widely accepted as a legitimate means of managing weight and preventing disease. Fasting promotes blood sugar control, boosts brain function, improves blood pressure and cholesterol, fights inflammation, and so much more. Muslims are very happy when fasting, even if they do miss eating food for a couple hours.

As for the mind, Ramadan is extremely valuable for Muslims. The month is for redemption and cleaning yourself up to get ready for the rest of the year. Before Ramadan, Muslims must release any intense grudges and let go of any hate lingering in the mind so they can focus on the good in themselves, others, and life itself. This forgiving mindset helps cleanse the souls and then reflect on past behaviors. It is a time to better yourself and then find your way back to God and religion as well as reevaluate who you’ve become to emerge as a person. 

Make sure to be mindful of your Muslims friends as they fast, as food temptations tend to be pretty strong. And I wish everyone, Muslim or not, a happy Ramadan or as we Muslims say, Ramadan Mubarak!