Not just fasting

Believers in the Sultanate, along with their counterparts across the world, began fasting today on the advent of blessed month of Ramadhan and mosques began to have ‘Taraweeh’ prayers on last night. Scientists and medics are unanimous in highlighting the numerous benefits of fasting to one’s body, mind and soul.
“Ramadhan is all about purifying one’s body by keeping away from foods and drinks during the day, mind and soul by refraining from evil thoughts, and encouraging thoughts of Almighty Allah, and doing more charity than other months,” says Qari Ahmed al Ameen. For this, preparing for Ramadhan is more a spiritual exercise than physical for those who fast. But how is Ramadhan in the eyes of non-Muslim residents who witness the holy month among their fasting counterparts.
“More importantly, this is the month for self purification and generosity. Engage yourself in prayers and charity and the rest is optional”, Abdulla Purang, an Imam in Ruwi, said.
For Roselyn Ebuen, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at an engineering consultancy firm, who shares her second experience of Ramadhan in the country, says, ‘Coming to Oman was very eye-opening. In the Philippines where Christianity is the dominant religion, the concept of fasting for the whole month is totally unimaginable except may be if you are doing it to cut down on weight’.

Holy month an eye opener
She mentioned that the month of Ramadhan, in particular, is very educational especially when you are very observant because there are certain things that you have to be conscious about.
“In my first year here in Oman, I became aware of the difference in culture and traditions. I made certain adjustments by dressing appropriately at all times as well as being conscious of when and where I eat especially when the people around me are fasting” she said.
She said she learned, in her first year, self-discipline and positive things that fasting does to the body and have come to fully understand its purpose.
“It was a break from what I was accustomed to but it was totally a welcome change. In life, we should always learn from the people around us. By being tolerant and accepting our differences, we are forging a better world. This is how we get better. I am happy to see that Ramadhan a month when people strive to become a better versions of themselves,” asserts Roselyn.
Vinay Nair, a media person from India, seems to have same impression.“With my few years’ experience in Oman, what I like is the will and commitment towards fasting despite difficult summer conditions. This type of self-discipline is must for everyone, irrespective of religion, for a course correction in life,” he points out.
Sajeewa Jayasuriya, from Sri Lanka, sees Ramadhan as a wonderful opportunity to help people to fine tune their normal patterns of behaviour thereby changing them for better future. “Can question our own self by asking the areas we need a change. Such as attitude, personality, behaviour and other things. Ramadhan is a time for spiritual reflection and enhanced devotion. It’s a time people get to come together, especially during breaking fast. Also it’s a very special feeling. Gives an opportunity to change,” she says.

Zainab al Nassri and Kabeer Yousuf