Wednesday 28th April 2021
Approximately ¼ of the world’s population are Muslim, so many people you may know are currently fasting due to Ramadan. Ramadan is the holiest month of the year in Islamic culture. For Muslims, it's a time for spiritual reflection and growth, to help those in need, and to spend time with loved ones. It's also a time when Muslims around the world fast during daylight hours for the whole month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is about more than just fasting however, as it is centred around the themes of sacrifice, self-control and gratitude and brings people closer to God. Fasting means no eating or drinking (even water) from sunrise to sunset. Daily those observing fast will go around 16 hours without eating/drinking which may sound very scary, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Food isn’t the only thing we are mindful of, as Muslims also need to be mindful of their character in general, i.e. no swearing, lying and deceiving and just being better human beings. We fast to come together as one community by bearing the hardships that hundreds of thousands of people experience (poverty, lack of food, hunger) even if it is just for 30 days. This time period is a real eye opener and shows that we (not just Muslims) are very fortunate to be where we are right now and that we should be humble and content with our lives because there many people that dream to be living in our shoes.
You can support your friends and people fasting by being respectful as possible. This means acknowledging that they may be tired or even moody so try not to provoke anyone by questioning their mood. Instead ask about what they enjoy about the month and the experiences/ memories it created for them.
There is somewhat of misconception when it comes to eating in front of people fasting. Please don’t be shy to eat in front of those who are fasting as we genuinely don’t mind. However, this does not mean you can be obnoxious by eating or drinking loudly or by eating in a way which is annoying as that will actually bother us! As it may be your friends who are fasting, don’t hesitate to ask what or what not they are comfortable with as ultimately everyone is different and different people have different boundaries.
I also encourage you to ask questions in general about fasting and Ramadan as we love teaching our culture and are happy to help with any misconceptions or anything you are curious about. Just make sure they’re nothing too silly.
A list of Do not’s:
In conclusion, stay respectful and ask your friends if your unsure about any part of this holiday. Try to support friends as best as you can, especially during these times of Covid as it has made Ramadan harder this year. Thank you for understanding and thank you for respecting our holiday. Ramadan Mubarak!
Aspire Speaker Series 10:30am on 19th/26th May 2021 and 2nd/9th/16th/23rd/30th June 2021