Today begins Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the most sacred, as it is known to be the month during which Allah gave the first chapters of the Holy Qu’ran to the prophet Muhammad.
Since the Islamic calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, so is Ramadan, which officially begins the morning after the crescent moon is visible to the naked eye.
Even though I am not a muslim, I fast during Ramadan, and here is why…
Fasting is a way to open one’s consciousness about the plight of the less fortunate who don’t have access to food as easily as we do. It is a way to teach ourselves self-discipline by resisting the desire to eat, the temptation of eating out of boredom, the need to eat when hungry… It is meant to help us take back the control of our mind and body and thus traversing a path which progressively elevates our consciousness from the physical to the moral and ultimately to the spiritual dimension of our being.
I feel proud when my body is asking for food but my mind softly reminds it that it is the mind that controls the body, not the other way around. Our mind is much more powerful than we think…
I feel grateful when iftar (the meal to break fast directly after sunset) comes and I have food and water, while some people wait all day and never get to eat anything… Fasting is a good way to remind us that we are lucky, that we should never take anything for granted and we should always be humble since no one knows what we will have tomorrow.
Ramadan is mostly seen as a period during which muslims can’t eat from dawn to dust, but it is way more than just fasting… Ramadan is also a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, doing good deeds and spending time with family and friends. I personally take it as the perfect occasion to reconnect with my inner self, to work on improving who I am as a human being, and to take better care of my body and soul.
Besides fasting, I enjoy Ramadan by forcing myself to work out more, to meditate more, to take time for my inner self and to be more productive regarding my personal projects.
And my favorite moment during Ramadan is to share iftar with friends, because Ramadan is also about making time for people we love and care about 🙂
What about Ramadan in Dubai…
Do everybody has to fast during Ramadan ?
Nope ! Not everybody fasts during Ramadan. Among muslims : children, pregnant women, women during their period, the elderly and those who are ill or who are travelling don’t have to fast.
For non-muslims, they can’t eat or drink in public. There is no outdoor sitting open, restaurants’ windows are covered, food courts are separated from the rest of the mall with big panels… But people can eat inside restaurants, in their office in separate room and, of course, at home.
So, what is different during Ramadan ?
Besides the fact that the streets look empty without the restaurants’ outdoor tables, the malls have different opening hours – they basically stay open later -, the working hours are reduced by two hours per day by law, the streets are nicely decorated with moon crescents, stars and lights, there are huge promotions in most shops, there are special menus in restaurants, and many Ramadan memes on Instagram ahah.
The only things non-muslims are required to do during ramadan is not to eat, drink or smoke in public, not listen to music too loud in public, dress in a respectful way – no need to cover your head or hair, and accept invitation to join a family or a group of friends for iftar : if you refuse, you’ll make them mad 😊
Ramadan Kareem to all my muslims friends, may this holy month bring you joy, happiness, and serenity 🙏🏻