What is the first thing you think of when you hear the month of July? The summer sun? The beach?
I was reading an article on the protests in Cairo by the Muslin Brotherhood that occur right after sundown and the practice of Ramadan. This article really sparked my interest to find out more about the subject in addition to it being July.
Now, I wanted to really look more into the religious practice and realize the foundation behind it. I knew that fasting was a big portion, from sunrise to sundown and then a family gathering and prayer during the allotted hours, but I wanted to know the purpose of these rituals.
So, I found out that Ramadan always occurs during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
Fasting from the break of dawn to sundown includes no food, drink, and sexual activity or smoking; basically nothing comes in the body or leaves the body.
The primary purpose of Ramadan is it is an opportunity to focus on the soul; Muslims practicing Ramadan focus on spirituality to improve their behavior by concentrating and empathizing with those in need.
Children are not expected or required to fast, but the opportunity is there should they choose to participate with the rest of the family. In addition, the elderly, sick or disabled are also exempt.
Now once Ramadan ends, the entire family and friends gather around together, after praying at the mosque, and ravage all the food.
The practice of Ramadan is very interesting; it really forces teenagers and adults predominantly to practice self-control to the extreme when our natural instinct when very hungry is to eat, and when thirsty, we drink.
Ramadan seems to really teach you how to control your mind and body and realize there is more to the world beyond the material items everyone seems to go bonkers for.
If you were to place yourself in the shoes of the hungry, would you be so worried about having a bad hair day or a tiny stain on your new button-down? I think not.
Ramadan is definitely a religious practice that shows true self-control and obedience to your faith.