Ramadan – The Spiritual Vista
I still remember the Iftaar (post sunset meal) parties we hosted back home, wherein all my close family members and friends would join. This Ramadan here in the US makes me nostalgic about those things. My mother would wake us all up for the Suhoor (predawn meal), which is a prerequisite if you are fasting. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk in the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar. Healthy Muslims fast abstaining from eating, drinking and immoral acts.
Ramadan is an auspicious and holy month for the Muslims, we believe the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in this month. The timings for the fasting limit vary from place to place as it depends on the sunrise & sunset. For example, from 4:16 a.m. in the Michigan area, when you wake and have a good breakfast to bolster you through the day until about 9:05 p.m. when you break your fast. That’s 16.5 hours with no food or water and other restriction.
Reading the Quran and charity are the prominent virtues to be done in this month. Some say, the angels (farishtas) of the heaven fly from the seventh sky to the first one to collect the good deeds of those following Islam in the sacred month. Most of the mosques host large iftaar parties for all its brotherhood. The poor and needy are up head as they need to be served first. There is a special prayer (Namaz) called Taraweeh in this month taking place after the Iftaar.
Ramadan connects you with the physical world. The arc of the sun in the sky becomes an important observation as one anticipates the joy and relief of iftaar (breaking the daily fast). Often it is a ritual of sharing dates, water and sweet tea.
For any Muslim who starts fasting in the month of Ramadan goes through loads of emotional & physical stances. It takes time to get into the rhythm of fasting. I personally struggle in the initial days with trying to focus, getting hungry, thirsty, etc. Once, your body gets compatible with this new schedule its easier & feels good, satiated whole day. Its more of getting above the temptations and leisure. That’s what Ramadan is all about, connecting with the internal spirit.
Now, talking about the Ramadan vibe here in the US. When you go to pray at the Islamic center (mosque), you pray with people from all nationalities, what an amazing experience it is. That makes a small circle of how similar each human is. With just boundaries dividing them for an account. It is amazing talking to them, chit chatting and having Qahwah (Middle Eastern tea) with a bit of dates.
I miss my family the most at such times but, who knew I would have a chance to have food & delicacies with people from everywhere. The organizers here provide with everything you need for iftaar. Me being a Grad student at University of Michigan visit the center primarily on Fridays & Sundays. On Sundays they have a special dinner after iftaar, which is seemingly incredible!
To end up, I miss Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi the most. The beauty of Indian Festivals is all the incredible fun we have together, though everyone has different temperaments & faiths. Festivals are all about family & getting together, being there with them in happiness & sorrow!
(The writer is pursuing MS in Industrial Engineering in Michigan, United States)
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The POST neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
(PHOTO INPUT : – FACEBOOK – Picture for representational purpose.)