Reflections on Joys of Ramadan

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Ramadan, the ninth and the most holy month under the Islamic lunar calendar, begun Wednesday. For 30 days, from dawn to dust, or 4 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the US state of Maryland, I will observe this blessed month, welcome it as a special guest that I’ll not see for another year.

During Ramadan, more than 1 billion Muslims around the world will abstain not only from food or drinks, but also from anything that distracts them from doing good deeds, such as reading the Holy Qur’an.

Ramadan is Islam’s fourth pillar, the month when the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Muslims are urged to focus on reading the Qur’an throughout the month, give charity, remember the poor or the less fortunate and perform additional or supererogatory prayers. In all, this month offers an opportunity to grow closer to God.

Ramadan this year comes during the summer here in the US, which means I’ll fast for a whopping 16 hours! The month usually begins 11 days earlier each year under the Gregorian calendar.  Despite the long hours of not drinking or eating from dawn to dusk, I enjoy Ramadan; I eagerly await for its arrival for it rejuvenates my soul and my relationship with my Creator.

This month can be a challenge, especially for those away from their families. Sharing the iftar, the meal for breaking the fast, together as a family, and inviting over your relatives and friends, strengthens the bonds among us.

But I’m away from my family this month, sort of. I left them in Minnesota a year ago after I was offered a job in Maryland. The loss of the warm of my immediate family this Ramadan has been compensated in other ways. I got married 20 days ago to my lovely bride, Aisha Elmi, and she has more than gladdened my heart.

Image courtesy of the Associated Press.

Mukhtar Ibrahim is a journalist who lives in Maryland, USA. Follow him on Twitter @mukhtaryare 

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