OpinionSpirituality

Ramadan 2018: Ways to show solidarity and respect to people observing the Islamic holy month.

The month is of huge importance across the Islamic world as a chance to show reverence to Allah and escape from the pace of everyday life

Ramadan or ramzan is a special month in the Islamic calendar when practising Muslims show their respect for the time in which Allah revealed his teachings to the Prophet Mohammad.Since the words heard by the Prophet are believed to make up the Islamic holy text, the Qur’an, the month is of huge importance across the Islamic world as a chance to show reverence to Allah and escape from the pace of everyday life.
It involves a focus on being one’s best possible self, with the hunger, thirst, frustration, irritation and sexual attraction felt by everyone all put to the test during of self-restraint followed by celebration.As such, being a Muslim in a country where not everyone is fasting can be difficult.

Here are few things you can do to show respect and solidarity to followers of Islam during Ramadan:
1. Be aware of the basics around Ramadan
Ramadan is widely expected to start on May 17 this year, although the date changes annually.
The holy month runs according to the lunar Islamic calendar, and begins upon the first glimpses of the crescent moon.
Sunni Muslims traditionally use a telescope to spot the light creeping across the moon, while Shia Muslims traditionally look with the naked eye.
This explains why Ramadan starts slightly later in Shia-majority countries, such as Iran, than in Sunni-majority countries, like Jordan.
Everywhere else, it depends which branch of Islam is being practised.

2. Understand that “fasting” does not mean dieting
It involves abstinence from eating, drinking water, and smoking between the local sunrise and sunset times – and trying to abstain from sensual and sexual pleasures throughout the entire month.
These are manifestations of a kind of spiritual fast, in which followers of Islam do not lose their temper, become angry or try to pursue their own selfish interests.

4. Understand that the month is not necessarily an unpleasant experience
“What’s the really good part? The Iftar, the feast set on the table once the roza [the fast] is over.”
Throughout each day during the month, many restaurants in Islamic countries are closed, and then open to the whole community to break their fast together once the sun has gone down, bringing with it a sense of comradarie and closeness with Allah.Abstinence during the period has also been shown to have health benefits, although anyone who is sick or frail is excused.

So lets be tolerant , sensitive and respectful towards all our Muslim community. Ramzan Mubarak !

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