RAMADAN

Apr. 20, 2020

During these unprecedented times we find our worlds united in the fight against the spread of Covid 19.  News and media are seized with the topic and the data on an hourly basis, breaking news happening almost constantly.  The GSU equity committee would like to provide a distraction from the pandemic while providing a bit of information with respect to other cultures.  Ramadan is near and I found myself wondering what it was all about, we have a member of our committee who was kind enough to write about this holy month and we would like to share this with GSU members.

 

Stay safe friends and together we will stop this pandemic, however, we will need to use the lessons our union has taught us and that is the strength and power of solidarity.  If one person decides not to do what public health asks, we cannot stop it, only slow it.  Our jobs right now are to stop the spread, we must all work towards this common goal.

 

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Ramadan is a month of fasting and prayers for Muslims.  It is 29 or 30 days of fasting. Over the course of the ninth month, called Ramadan, in the Islamic calendar, Muslims of able body and mind should fast during the month of Ramadan.  They will not be allowed to eat, drink any liquid, smoke or engage in sexual activity from dawn to dusk. “Young children (typically under the age of 12), people on prescription medicines, people on grueling journeys, the infirm, the elderly, and pregnant women, as well as women during their period,” are exempt from the rules of Ramadan.  People who are temporarily exempted from fasting, have to make up for it soon after the month of Ramadan ends. Each day of Ramadan, Muslims break their fast at sundown with a meal called Iftar; which in my culture traditionally starts with dates and soup, followed by a full meal.

Fasting makes us deeply conscious of the pains of hunger and discomfort suffered by those less fortunate among us. They have to put up with these difficult conditions all through their lives. It gives people unfailing training in endurance, and a spirit of acceptance. This could well prepare them to put up with the unchangeable situations in life in the same spirit of resignation as is cultivated during the fasts. Fasting breeds a spirit of forgiveness in people towards others, as they seek God’s forgiveness through fasts and prayers. Fasting is meant to conquer anger and develop self-control in people. It also develops courage, fortitude, and a fighting spirit in people to surmount the heavy odds in life with a calm and tranquil mind. Fasting cleanses the human system of impurities that accumulate from uninterrupted eating throughout the year.

Fasting creates spiritual reformation in people, infusing them with a spirit of enthusiasm and zest to change and become better human beings in the eyes of God. This excellent opportunity is given to believers each year, to change themselves and consequently their destinies.

Each year Ramadan comes around 10 days earlier than the previous year.  This is because the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle. This year, 2020, Ramadan will be from April 24th to May 23rd.

On the night that Ramadan ends, Eid al-Fitr celebrations begin.  People pray and feast to mark the end of the fast.

 

Sue Soubra-Boone for the Equity Committee