Ramadan 2023 - The Start of the Journey
We reached out to four of our Muslim colleagues and asked them to share some insight about Ramadan with us. Thank you Abdul Majeed, Habeeb Mohammed, Ali Bin Mohammed and Nazir Abdullah for sharing your stories with us.
1. Why do you fast?
I am fasting because, fasting is a one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which is an obligation upon all able-bodied Muslims - Abdul Majeed
Fasting is seen as an act of worship that can bring one closer to Allah and a way to gain self-discipline and self-control - Abdul Majeed
To get closer to God or gain spiritual conditioning - Ali Bin Mohammed
To train ourselves to control our desires for a month. It will help us in next 11 months of the calendar - Ali Bin Mohammed
Fasting is one of five pillars of ISLAM and I feel spiritually connected by doing so. As there are many promised health benefits of fasting that’s also one of the reasons I am motivated to do so - Habeeb Mohammed
Ramadhan is the 9th month of the year as per the Islamic calendar. It is considered as the auspicious and holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer for the Muslims - Nazir Abdullah
2. What does fasting mean to you?
Fasting is a means of spiritual purification and self-discipline in Islam, as well to express solidarity with those who are less fortunate and to cultivate empathy and compassion. It is also a time for increased prayer and reflection on one's relationship with God - Abdul Majeed
For me fasting means to feel what hunger means to numerous population who cannot even afford to get 2 meals a day. It means purifying my body and soul from the physical and spiritual toxins and sins. It means to get more closer to my creator - Nazir Abdullah
3. Do all Muslims fast?
During Ramadan, fasting is mandatory for all healthy adult Muslims, but certain groups of people, such as children under 9 years of age and the elderly (unwell) are exempt from fasting - Abdul Majeed
Yes, every Muslim (Healthy Person) fasts. If someone doesn’t feel well during this holy month, they can fast whenever he/she feels healthy - Ali Bin Mohammed
4. How do you break your fast at sunset? Do you have a particular food or drink that you always have?
Breaking Fast at Sunset is called Iftaar. We just follow the Prophet Mohammed. He used to break his fasts either with Dates or Water - Ali Bin Mohammed
I always go with dates to breakfast at sunset accompanied by fruits. I particularly go with Roohafza which is a prominent refreshment drink - Habeeb Mohammed
As per the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is advised to break the fast with something sweet specifically Dates. I do the same, use dates and water. In addition to that sometimes I eat fruits as well - Nazir Abdullah
5. What is Eid?
Eid means festival day. We celebrate after the completion of 29 days or 30 days fasting. On the next day of completion of 30 days fasting, we start preparing for Eid. We wake up early, wear new clothes (kurta pajama, or Punjabi or Arabic gown), wear Atter (Perfume), wear Kohl(Surma), CAP, etc.
All Muslims from one locality choose one open ground or space or big mosque known as Eidgah and offer prayer. Once the prayer is done, we hug and wish each other stating “EID Mubarak”. We come back home, have breakfast with family, visit relatives, neighbours, friends for whole day.
Everyone prepares Sheer-khorma at home (it is a traditional Muslim festive dish, and a dessert for celebrations. This dish is made from various dry fruits, vermicelli, condensed milk, sugar etc.). We ask Eidi (Money) from elders - Ali Bin Mohammed
6. What are you most looking forward to?
We love this holy month. Everything changes from dawn to dusk. Everything changes at home, in neighbourhood, and in community. Looking for Prayers, reciting Quran, training for a month to control desires, purifying our souls and family gatherings - Ali Bin Mohammed
Get closer to the holy book (Quran), seek forgiveness, some charity work, and regular prayers - Abdul Majeed
Honestly, I look forward to making a difference to someone and feel good. Also I look forward to all the delicacies that are Ramadan Specials - Habeeb Mohammed
I am looking for the peace within me during this month, re-discover myself - Nazir Abdullah
7. Do you have any special traditions or rituals that you follow during?
Waking up before sunset (at midnight) to eat food (known as Suhoor/sehar), reading or reciting holy book (Quran), breaking fast at sundown, offering prayer 5 times a day, ending nights with Taraveeh (special prayer performed during Ramadan after 5th prayer of the day). We perform midnight prayers in odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan. All prayers are mandatory, etc - Ali Bin Mohammed
Yes, the night during Ramadan is also a time for additional prayer and reflection. Many Muslims participate in Tarawih, a special nightly prayer that lasts throughout the month of Ramadan. This prayer is usually held at the mosque but can also be performed at home - Abdul Majeed
8. How do you wish someone a happy Ramadan?
We shake hands, hug each other and say “Eid – Mubarak OR Mabrouk” - Ali Bin Mohammed
Ramadhan Mubarak / Ramadhan Kareem. - Nazir Abdullah
9. What are the main challenges?
Main challenge is facing hunger and thirst. Also coping with professional and spiritual life - Habeeb Mohammed
Fasting in Ramadan can present several challenges, both physically and spiritually. Some common challenges include hunger, fatigue, and weakness - Abdul Majeed
10. How many times have you completed Ramadan?
25+ years - Ali Bin Mohammed
I have been fasting since I was an 11-year-old boy - Abdul Majeed
As my memory goes, I started when I was 6 years old and since then with Allah’s blessings I’ve been able to fast continuously - Habeeb Mohammed
11. What would you do differently this year? How has your experience of Ramadan changed over time?
Try to gain more knowledge about Islamic Personalities, read about miracles, will try to read whole holy book/translation in a month and offer prayers as much as I can. Midnight prayers, Helping the needy - Ali Bin Mohammed
12. Any advice for others completing?
During Ramadan, utilize time, go about their daily routines, whether that involves working or studying. Although fasting can be challenging, it is also a time for reflection, prayer, special nightly prayer, charitable act and support each other - Abdul Majeed
13. What advice would you give to those around you who don’t participate?
Stay away from distractions and utilize the holy month to the fullest and seek as many blessings as possible - Habeeb Mohammed