Spiritual enlightenment, reflections and a quest for inner peace. These are sought by Muslims around the world, who are preparing to fast for the Holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year the fast is scheduled to begin mid-April at the sighting of the moon. Ramadan is the month the Holy Qur’an (the Muslim spiritual book) was revealed and it requires all Muslim men and women to observe the fast for 29 or 30 days, depending on the next sighting of the new moon. There are some people exempt from the fast: the sick, travelers and pregnant women.
“I cannot wait for the fast to commence so I can work on all of my shortcomings and character defects and get closer to Allah,” said A’De Johnson. “After the fast I feel cleansed of old sins, old negative attitudes and behaviors.”
There are numerous rewards and benefits in the month. The fast is sectioned into three parts: the first ten days are Allah’s (God’s) mercy, the second ten days are His forgiveness, and the last part of the fast is freedom from the hellfire, according to some traditions.
The fast is to shield or screen from the hellfire and is an act of purification. Those who fast should avoid food, water, sexual relations and vain talk during the daylight hours and concentrate totally on Allah. The fast is broken after sunset. The fast is strictly for Allah, according to some traditions.
“Even though our living conditions haven’t changed because of COVID-19 and we as Muslims find ourselves in the same position one year later, we long for Ramadan,” said Johnson. “It gives us more opportunities to search our inner self for real peace and to get closer to Allah.”
During the month, Muslims offer extra prayers day and night. Some read 1/30th of the Holy Qur’an each day, which would allow one to read the entire text in the whole month—with the hopes of gaining a deeper and greater understanding of the scriptures.
The Qur’an is viewed as a healing, a guidance for mankind and a criterion between right and wrong to the Muslim community.
“It’s a time for me to recalibrate and strengthen my relationship with Allah,” said Marcus “Wali” Henderson, editor in chief of SQ News. “It helps me to refocus, to make amends to humanity, and to be a servant of Allah and mankind.”
Most major faith groups have some form of fasting within their religion. Buddhists, Hebrews, Hindus and Christians all have some form of fasting within their texts or traditions.
In Ramadan, Muslims seek to perform more acts of kindness and charity. They visit members of the community almost every night for religious discussions and to breakfast together (preCOVID).
“Ramadan is not just a command, it’s a privilege to spend the 30 days increasing one’s prayers and worshipping Allah more,” said H. “Muttakwakil” Manson.
Have a blessed fast — Ramadan Mubarak!