As it has become these days, Ramadan is not simply an exercise in fasting during the day, binge-eating during the night and waking up for the predawn meal. Neither is it about irate drivers who feel entitled to exhibit road rage, employees who see the month as an excuse to slack off and overworked women slaving over a stove every day in preparation for the sunset meal.
If done right, Ramadan is none of those things, it is instead a chance for a spiritual boost, with lessons to be applied long after the month is gone.
It is one of Islam’s five main pillars (1. Faith, 2. Prayer, 3. Charity 4. Fasting 5. Pilgrimage) The elderly and chronically ill are exempt from fasting; however, it is incumbent upon them to feed the poor instead if they possess the financial means.
Many people ask,”What’s the point of fasting? Why deprive your body?” The fast is not simply about denying your body food and water. It also involves avoiding ill speech, arguments, loss of temper and malicious behaviour, which is a more difficult challenge for people these days.
Ramadan requires patience and mercy, which, let’s face it, we all need more of in these harried times. Ramadan is viewed as a month-long school where graduates leave with a developed sense of self-control in areas including diet, sleeping and the use of time.
There are basically two meals The Suhoor (predawn meal) and The Iftar (sunset meal)
Slow digesting foods like barley, wheat, oats and lentils are recommended and limiting fatty and sugary products is advised. There is a propensity to binge eat at sunset, but a balanced, moderate meal would really make all the difference and help one to maintain a nutritious diet even after the month is over. It is the time to give your digestive system some rest. It is a good time to decrease your blood sugar and cholesterol, if high. It is a time to be grateful for you what you have and to be helpful to those in need.
Sadly, people have turned the habit of eating moderately and wisely into pompous feasts and a way of partying. This is not the true Ramadan.
True Ramadan is when you inculcate generosity by being charitable, family-bonding by gathering around the iftar table, spirituality by praying, and self-control by practicing good manners.
All these habits build a feeling of peace, tranquillity and self-satisfaction.
Ramadan is, when the rich will taste hunger and thus will not forget the hungry.
Ramadan is when you learn to subdue anger and learn to be patient.
Ramadan is when you make- eating good, speaking good and being good- a habit.
Ramadan is when you try and make others happy and bring a smile on their face whether they be family or strangers.
And true Ramadan is when you choose to carry all these good things that spread love and peace within you and outside you, throughout your life.