What does Ramadan mean to you?

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11 June 2019

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim friends and whānau! We have just seen the end of the period of Ramadan and Eid celebrations. Thank you to two of our staff, Jawed and Rohulla, for giving us your insight into this significant time!

What is Ramadan?

The Islamic calendar is based on lunar months and Ramadan is the ninth month in a lunar year. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and all healthy adults are required to fast (from dawn to dusk) during the month of Ramadan. Fasting is total abstention from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations. Additionally, avoiding immoral behaviour, anger and showing compassion are all part of the requirements of the fasting faithful. The purpose of fasting is manifold, Allah (God Almighty) mentioned in the Holy Book (the Quran) that the fasting is prescribed for the believers as it was prescribed for the people before them, so that they may acquire self-control. Therefore, the purpose of the fasting is to develop God-consciousness, self-control, and improvement of health by reducing or eliminating impurities from the body, and to become aware of the troubles of the poor, hungry, and the sick. The month of Ramadan is also the month in which the Quran was sent down from 7th level of heaven to the 1st level, where it was received by Prophet Muhammad in parts over a period of 23 years.

Ramadan starts at the first sighting of the crescent moon which marks the beginning of the month. After sighting the moon, Muslims wake up early to have their pre-dawn meal (called Sahoor) to begin fasting and then just before the sunset, the fast is broken with another meal called Iftar. This practice goes on every day until the new moon has been sighted, which marks the beginning of the next month.

What is Eid?

After the completion of the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world celebrate the holiday of Eid-ul-Fitr. This is the time to congratulate each other for their devotion and obedience and is a true thanksgiving for Muslims for having the opportunity to obey Allah by observing the fast. It is celebrated on the first day of next lunar month (Shawwal). The holiday begins with special morning prayers where Muslims putting on their best clothing and go to the Eid congregation, which are very large gatherings of Muslim men, women and children across the world. 

What does Ramadan mean to you?

Rohulla: Ramadan is a special time as our community come together to practice our faith and improve our relationship with Allah. The reason I partake is because it’s one of the five pillars that a Muslim should live their life by. It’s a month of reflection for Muslims, to determine what they are missing in their lives, and to create healthy habits for the rest of the year. At the end of the month, I feel I have learned something new about myself, and know what to improve on. Youth Horizons have been very supportive of us during this time, which I appreciate.

Jawed: Fasting is purely a religious affair and it is mandatory for a healthy adult Muslim. Your faith can’t be considered complete without fasting in the month of Ramadan. It is the month of purifying your soul and strengthening your connection with Allah (God Almighty). In our community, we usually start practicing fasting at a very young age (12-13 years), initially for 1-2 days in the month of Ramadan followed by the whole month of fasting as we grow older. Eid-ul-Fitar is a big festival season (three days) in Muslim countries with loads of family functions and social gatherings, especially with lots of sweets and food. Youth Horizons has paid due respect during the whole month of Ramadan and I’d like to say thank you to all my colleagues. I took a day off from work for Eid celebrations and I appreciate being able to do this. Perhaps this could be considered for all YH staff in future as acknowledgment of this special day.