By Shadia Mbabazi
We are in one of the holiest months of the year on the Muslim calendar––the month of fasting, also known as Ramadhan. Fasting is prescribed for every believing man and woman in the Quran, however, there are circumstances whereby one is excused. This is a time to take stock, increase taqwa (piety), reflect, and connect deeply with Allah. There is also more wisdom behind fasting, but I won't dig into that now.
As we engage in this month of fasting, I wanted to share what this month means to me personally and other Muslims. It is a time of spiritual reflection and for more intense worship and devotion. We do this by increasing the reading and understanding of the Quran, late-night prayer, and early morning prayers.
During this month we seek forgiveness for all of our sins. What better time for all of this than now, when we do not have the usual busyness of life going on.
Ramadhan is a good time to set individual goals that you want to focus on during this beautiful month. One of my many goals this Ramadhan is to pray that Allah disconnects my heart from that which he despises, no matter how big or small.
This year, Ramadhan looks a bit different within the current situation of quarantine. In normal times, people gather together at the mosque, break fast together, and stay for prayers after that. During the last ten days, some people may even choose to stay at the mosque without going home or doing any business either than prayers and reading the Quran. Families and friends invite each other to their homes to break their fast together because there are blessings in feeding a person that was fasting.
Although we are observing this Ramadhan differently this year from what we’re used to––not being able to go to the mosque and mingle with family and friends––not all is lost. The beauty of Islam is you can still do this from home with your immediate family and what is more important is your relationship with Allah as an individual rather than as a group. Despite not being able to go to the mosque and participate in all the activities, you can still perform all acts of worship from home.
I feel blessed to be given a chance to witness another Ramadhan as there are many people who did not get that chance. I have also realized that at times I get so busy with worldly affairs that I start to lose my connection with Allah. It is a great opportunity to be reminded to pause and think about Allah and my deen (religion).
I am grateful for this beautiful month that helps me and many Muslims to take time to reflect and increase in our worship. As it is a time of worship, it is also a chance to be thankful, to share, and to give. We are encouraged to give more to charity during this month and to also remember those that are less privileged than we are.
This Ramadhan I encourage you to get to know your Muslim friends and neighbors and intentionally ask them questions about their deen. No matter how weird it may feel, you may be surprised about what you learn. I appreciate the community we live in because people are always curious and eager to learn––here is your chance! If you do not know any Muslims and you have a question, you can send me a direct message on Facebook at Shadia Mbabazi.