Ramadan, Patience and Appreciation
Our virtual weekly meeting - like any business - is a time to catch up, share agendas, create ideas, gather feedback, make decisions, and plan for future events.
But this week our usual discussion began slightly differently. As Rachael asked me how everything was, I shared with her all about Ramadan and what it meant for me.
Rachael was so fascinated with what I had to say, it was natural she asked me to share with our Aligned family.
What is Ramadan ?
Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar, and marks one of the holiest months for Muslims. The month begins and ends with the sight of the moon, as the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, hence why it begins 10 to 12 days earlier each year according to the Gregorian calendar. It is believed that during this month the Quran (holy book) was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.
During this month, Muslims observe a fast, when we are not allowed to eat or drink from sunrise until sunset for the entire month. Not only do we abstain from food and drink, but also impure thoughts and deeds; allowing this time to practise self-control, and self improvement as we focus on faith and devotion to Allah or God. After sunset, we end the fast with a feast, called ‘iftar’, a daily celebration often accompanied with family and friends.
What Ramadan Means to Me and Teaches Me
Patience Humility and Appreciation
During the fasting period, it's all about having self control and patience. Patience is the driving force for everything we do this month; especially in the hope that our prayers will be fulfilled. Initially it seems difficult, not having to eat or drink all day but as time progresses and when it's time to break the fast, I am overwhelmed with such a rewarding feeling of accomplishment.
Fasting isn’t easy but it’s not designed to be or otherwise there’d be no lessons to learn!
Fasting makes me appreciate the things I am blessed with. Having no food or drink, or even engaging in other pleasures all day really puts it in perspective when it comes to people who aren’t fortunate - suffering from poverty or do not have food to eat. I feel more grateful for the things I do have in life and have more compassion for people who don’t have such a comfortable lifestyle.
Cleansing and Self-Reflection
Not only is this the time we refrain from food, but also bad deeds and thoughts. It's a time to cleanse not just the body, but the mind and soul. During Ramadan, we seek forgiveness from God as well as with our relationships with others. This month, we forgive and apologise to those we had arguments with, and let go of any resentment we have.
Personally. I feel this action of letting go of negativity and focusing on a positive future whether it's with our relationships or just bad choices is really powerful; easing feelings of burden and bringing more content.
Good Deeds and Habits
As we seek forgiveness, Ramadan is a time where one is encouraged to do good deeds. During Ramadan, it is common practice to donate money to charity and the poor. We also take the time to help others with acts of kindness.
It's also a time to create good habits through self-discipline that I start in Ramadan, and I hope to carry forward throughout the rest of the year.
Ramadan is really more than just a month to me. It shows we can always embrace change and accomplish hardships if we are determined to do so. We change how and when we eat, sleep; lack of energy, increased stress levels. But despite it all with patience and perseverance, it's amazing what a human being can accomplish.