When most people think of Ramadan, they tend to only think of the fasting aspect of it and overlook the very significant spiritual side of it. They might think happily of the shorter working days and shorter school hours as well, which is all good, but there is so much more to Ramadan than that.
Ramadan is the holiest of months in Islam because that is when the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. To celebrate that, it became the month when Muslims fast from dawn till dusk, are encouraged to read the Quran from start to finish, and to spend time in spiritual and self-reflection.
The essence of Ramadan is connection. It is one month of the year when you reconnect with yourself, your family and your God.
In a day and age when most, if not all members of the family are rushing about in their daily lives, parents working and taking care of the house and family, children rushing between school, activities and homework, too many times, a family will not gather altogether for a meal for days, maybe weeks. Ramadan does what perhaps might normally take weeks to organize, that is gather families for a meal. It is custom to sit together for the sunset meal as a family when breaking your fast, and it gives the family an opportunity to catch up with each other’s news and enjoy each other, to connect with each other.
As families gather for the meal, adults and children alike learn to appreciate and be grateful for all the food that is readily available to them, they appreciate the first sip of refreshing water and the first bite of food and they can reflect on the reality of how lucky they are while people all around the world suffer from hunger.
In a world of instant gratification and impatience, during Ramadan, people are challenged to be self-disciplined. To not eat or drink from dawn till dusk is a huge challenge, especially the years when Ramadan falls during the summer months. Whether children are fasting or not, they are aware of others fasting and begin to understand the challenges of self-discipline.
The virtue of patience is highlighted in this month when ill speech, arguments, loss of tempers and bad behaviour must be avoided. Manners are paramount and children, as well as parents, have to be especially patient with each other and speak to each other and everyone else with kindness and respect.
Charity is also an integral part of Ramadan and all members of the family can take advantage of this time to go through their clothes, books and toys and donate things they haven’t used in a long time or have outgrown. It gives adults and children alike the opportunity to appreciate everything they have and be grateful for it, and be aware of wasteful excess if any.
Ramadan is a great time to encourage your children to read about Islam, about the stories of the prophets and moral stories; reading and discussing books with them opens up an essential dialogue between yourself and your child, sharing thoughts, ideas and opinions. Families having open, verbal discussions and communication, can, unfortunately, be a rarity in this digital age
In this month of such spiritual engagement and enlightenment, your values as a family are cemented, highlighted and shared. With shortened hours at work and school, families are given the priceless gift of time that they can use to spend harmoniously together and to realize the true meaning and value of family.
Ramadan offers families a variety of gifts in the form of time together to reconnect, enjoy and appreciate each other. It takes people back to the basics of simple pleasures – a great meal, a good conversation surrounded by loved ones.
It is a time to slow down and take stock of everything and everyone in your life, a time to be more forgiving and understanding, a time to be kind to yourself and to others, to be grateful and appreciative. A time of charity and generosity.
Ramadan is Generous. Ramadan Kareem from Team Mumzworld.