Ramadan-My Favorite Time of the Year

Ramadan-My Favorite Time of the Year March 25, 2023

Ramadan Kareem/Ramadan Mubarak to everyone. I love the spring, the summer time and the winter holidays but the Ramadan trumps them all as I will explain below. And most of all, the month of Ramadan can fall during any of these times of the year because the Islamic lunar year has 354 or 355 days and every year it falls back about 10 days on the Gregorian calendar.

As you know, Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims around the world. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. The act of fasting may be the most prominent part of the month, but Ramadan is a whole lot more than fasting. It is a month to reassess our relationship to God and to seek closeness to the Almighty. It is a month of spiritual strengthening. This is when the doors of divine mercy are wide open. Yes, the doors of mercy are open all year round, but this is the month when they are wide open. This is the month for repenting for our sins and our shortcomings.

This is the month of giving. It is estimated that about 70% of all Muslim charitable donations occur in this month alone. By fasting one feels for the needy. I had written a few posts on the benefits of Ramadan in the past, but this post is more about why this is my favorite time of the year.

This is the month I am most relaxed. This is the time of the year I feel strong- physically, mentally and of course spiritually. On surface it may seem strange as fasting is often associated with feeling weak and feeling irritable. But there are clear physical advantages of fasting, as shown by medical literature, such as lowering of cholesterol, better sugar control and weight management. In addition fasting has been shown to stimulate the endorphins- the “feel good” natural hormones. However the benefits go well beyond the physical and the “measurable” effects. It brings me closer to God- the ultimate goal. It is the time of the year when my mind is not clogged with seemingly important, but ultimately not-so-important-things in life. The Covid pandemic taught us that things that we felt were necessary, were actually not that necessary. Ramadan renews that introspection and reminds me of that every year.

No wonder the Qur’an calls fasting as a “prescription”.

O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn Taqwa (guard from evil , or be God-conscious). The Qur’an 2:183

The prescription is to heal not only from a physical and mental health perspective, but to attain a higher level of spirituality and spiritual health. Our fast paced society is consumed with physical health, which is actually a good thing but pretty much all the focus is on just that part of our health. Mental health is often ignored and the third element, the spiritual health, is almost completely ignored. Ramadan is that time of the year when I slow down to reflect upon the purpose of my creation and to do a great deal of introspection. Why am I here? It removes the self-centered mindset and makes me re-examine my relationship with those around me, especially the needy, as Islam has an especial emphasis on helping the needy and the destitute.

Ramadan is a month when the Qur’an was revealed. It also has the “Night of Power”  or Lailatul Qadr, a night no one knows for sure what exact date but it falls on one of the nights in the last 10 days of the month. It is a night of supplications and seeking repentance. It is a night “better than a thousand MONTHS, as one of the verses of the Surah (chapter) named Qadr speaks about. The doors of mercy are wide open during the month of Ramadan, but on the night of Power, they are even more wide open. It is a night to seek purity and ask for forgiveness. Muslims pray all night long, or at least try to pray as long as they can.

Fasting is also about avoiding things that we should avoid round the year but it has especial focus this month. See no evil, do no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil, just to name a few. If we practice this for the whole month, the idea is to learn self restraint that will hopefully benefit us rest of the year.

Eid is the festival that follows the end of Ramadan to give thanks to the Almighty for giving us this amazing opportunity. It is a happy holiday but I always actually kinda feel sad to go back to the “normal programming”.

But for now, I am a very happy person, enjoying the immense and especial bounties Allah has sent down in the form of the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem everyone. May Allah shower you with His immense bounties and blessings on you and your families. Ameen.


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