Meaning of Ramadan
‘Ramadan Kareem,’ said one of my friends over the phone. I was perplexed as I was not a Muslim and I was out of words. But I said, ‘same to you.’
I kept thinking to myself ‘What is Ramadan?’
Well, it does not make any sense if I do not know what Ramadan is. And hence I began quizzing my Muslim friends and colleagues as to what Ramadan meant for them and here is what I got to know, literally:
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. And on every day of Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to fast from sunrise to sunset. This year the days are longer; that means longer times at fasting.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world do not take food, drink, and other physical needs during the day time. This time is utilised to purify the soul, refocus attention on God and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking.
Muslims during Ramadan are invited to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic principles.
‘It is about Forgiveness, it is about strengthening family ties, it is about losing those bad habits that you despise. Which means that it is a time to clean up the lives, thoughts and feelings,’ says my friend.
The Arabic word for ‘fasting’ is ‘SAWM‘ which literally means “to refrain.” To refrain not only from food and drink but also from evil actions, thoughts, desires and words. It is both physical and mental purification.
During the holy month of Ramadan every part of body needs to be restrained.
Fasting during Ramadan is not only a physical task, but rather a total commitment of an individual’s body, soul and spirit. It is a time given by God to practice self-restraint, a time to cleanse body and soul and refocus on worship of God.
Well, now it makes sense. Ramadan is more about Spiritual healing than fasting. There is a very important lesson that every non-Muslim has to learn from Ramadan.
Now I can say, ‘Greetings of Ramadan, Ramadan Kareem.’