The real Ramadan

13 Apr 2023

The month of staying up late at night. Watching the upcoming episode before your friends. Going out with for iftar and suhoor. Talking about the new series that just came out. Exams. Wearing Henna. Gathering around the table.
Is this Ramadan, or is it what society made up to actually like this month?
What is Ramadan?
For those who don’t know what Ramadan ‘The Holy Month’ is, let me do an overview. For non-Muslims and Muslims, since they think that Ramadan is an ‘aesthetic matter’.
It is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon. Because the Muslim calendar year is shorter than the Gregorian calendar year, Ramadan begins 10–12 days earlier each year. The most commonly known information about Ramadan is fasting. A pillar of ‘The five pillars of Islam’. An obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, and sexual activity.
“Not even water?” Yes. Not even impure or unkind thoughts, words, or any immoral behavior. Thus, false words or bad deeds or intentions are as destructive of a fast as eating or drinking.
“What kind of religion makes you starve?” The kind of religion that teaches you discipline. Don’t you guys call it intermittent fasting? So when it comes to Islam (the religion of peace and kindness) it is ‘cruel’ and ‘doesn’t make sense’, But when science says it, it is beneficial.
Iftar and Suhur
After the sunset prayer, Muslims gather in their homes or mosques to break their fast with a meal called ‘Iftar’. Islam encourages Muslims to share their Iftar with others — Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, Whoever gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will have a reward like theirs, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. [Tirmidhi]. Iftar is often shared with friends and extended family, it is encouraged in Islam to begin with dates (one or three) and water as was the custom of Prophet Muhammad.
Guess what? Science approved this years later.
breaking the fast by eating three dates is recommended since dates are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients
Suhur is a significant element for Muslims during Ramadan. It is the last meal before the sun rises and the day of fasting begins.
For Muslims, it is more than just a meal. Usually, on the weekends, family and friends make an event out of it. They meet to socialize, enjoy the last meal together and wait for prayer time -prayer time, which is usually at 4:00 am, means the start of fasting. Friends and family will gather and spend a few hours of quality time together relaxing, eating, and playing games. From a spiritual perspective, the Prophet (PBUH) encouraged Muslims to eat Suhoor, because of the hidden blessings that come from eating the meal:
“There is a blessing in eating suhur so, do not skip it, even if one of you sips water. For indeed Allah and His Angels send blessings and mercy on those who eat suhür” (you get good deeds, have fun, and take care of your health).
The idea of Ramadan
I did mention gatherings and dining with family around the table. But as ‘Ramadan spirit’ and not the ‘idea of Ramadan’. The idea of this month is to get closer to Allah SWT. It’s a major opportunity to gain good deeds. Deeds in Ramadan are doubled, including bad deeds. Due to this, we attempt to refrain from performing activities that are haram (forbidden) during this month in particular. Muslims certainly aren’t perfect, and Allah SWT doesn’t demand that we be. The goal is to always strive to be a good Muslim. No matter how much you sin, go back to Allah.
Allah SWT says : “O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins.1 He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Az-Zumar 39:53]
Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an (the holy book of Islam). It is very common for Muslims to read the whole Qur’an during this month. In Ramadan, we hold our desires back and force ourselves into doing Fardh (necessities) and Sunnah (acts or sayings of the Prophet Muhammed). Which we should be doing all year, but, everyone has an excuse.
Ramadan serves as our justification for improving and carrying out the righteous things. It’s a new page, a golden one. This why this month is amazing. When we most need it, it appears to free our hearts and minds and give us another chance to be better. I’ll start saying “what kind of religion gives you endless opportunities to get better at practicing it, all the information you need to understand life, and a reason to live?”
A good one.
A kind one.
A peaceful one.
How to be a better Muslim for Ramadan
Being a better Muslim for Ramadan and stopping ourselves from sinning, doesn’t mean that we’re being hypocritical. Ramadan is the excuse for you to pray sunnah (additional prayers after the main prayers). It’s the excuse to stop cursing, hating, and bullying. It’s the excuse to start dressing more modestly and learn how to cover.
It’s a new begging and a new reason. It’s the reason to start fresh.
Science says that changing a bad habit takes 21 days and starting a new habit takes 22 days. James clear states that the way to Break a Bad Habit, is to Replace It With a Good One. Ramadan is 30 days, so why not? Why not exchange cursing with Dhikr (remembrance of Allah SWT)? Why not exchange crop tops with a 90s-full sleeve? (Not the perfect way of covering but, small good steps = small good deeds). How about not browsing on tiktok (that is full of music and influencing) and doing sunnah prayers or volunteering work instead? Maybe try making a new side dish for Iftar for the family? (C’mon! You’re going to take good deeds if the family eats it for Iftar). No? Why? it’s Ramadan!
I know all of you got things to do but why not? What is more important than religion? (I mean Islam because it has every aspect of life covered). Why are you so attached to this Dunya (life)? Trying to get closer to Allah is the only thing that matters — following Islamic guidelines does not mean leaving your work and staying at home to pray. It means, socializing with boundaries, studying, being respectful, being kind, volunteering, helping others, doing charity, reading Qur’an, praying additional prayers, don’t harm yourself, eating well, taking a nap, smiling, and many more. It’s never too late to try.
So why not now?

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