The week before Ramadhan begins there is a special energy. There is a silent mode of happiness in people’s hearts. There are preparations which go on well in advance, but now it is more intense and it is predominantly in the mind too.
It is a mixture of memories, nostalgia, the feeling of goodness, moments of sharing, eating together, shopping and most importantly praying and seeking peace within.
One would say why couldn’t all this happen in other months too?
Muslims across the globe unanimously, if health permits, will be fasting and breaking it at the same time depending on time zones. The control on food also has an impact on the mind and temperament. Besides, there are extra prayers enriching experience of meditation and focus. That’s what it is - millions of people would be focusing together for the whole month.
A friend explained how excited she is to receive the month. It is a month of goodness she said, “Because we have to think about others.”
It is almost a moral duty to find people who are in need. We love giving gifts to our loved ones, but is it not beautiful to provide for strangers.
Ramadhan is a month of blessings because it is a month when everyone can practice gratitude. The more we give the more we gain. Not just in comfort but in mind - the sense of contentment that no amount of wealth can guarantee.
The month is an immense opportunity to reflect and understand why intentions are so important. Actions can be mechanical in the sense of just following traditions, but to sit back and think why it has been prescribed to do the deeds listed out for the most beautiful month of the year is enriching on its own. Everything becomes meaningful.
“What is beautiful is that we are urged to help anyone and everyone, no matter where they are from,” my friend said added, as we continued to discuss.
This month is holy because this is when the Holy Quran was revealed.
This is why people take time and have the opportunity to perform special prayers and read the holy book. And especially men take time to spend time at the mosques at night to pray.
The rest of the year we are busy contemplating, judging and planning and here comes one month to cleanse our mind and body by refraining from food for the prescribed hours and keeping away from negative thoughts and actions through out. Surely these experiences are lessons in understanding the immense importance of intentions in our minds and sacrifice as well.
Throughout the year we are in a rush to learn new things ranging from skills to latest trends. But now here is a month to dive deep within ourselves to understand and ask the question, ‘Who am I?’
“Each year I learn and experience something new,” my friend said.
That is the beauty of the month, the process of fasting can be challenging but it is the benefits that people remember.
What the experts also reminds us is that while we gain health with fasting, let us not waste it with feasting. What the month teaches us is also about balancing whether it is wealth or food or time.
Because if you have been busy with appointments, deadlines and travelling, now is the time for togetherness with family members and relatives, and all age groups.
Lifestyle will change for the next four weeks. The working timings will change but the ones who are entrusted with physical labour will continue with their intensity, the farmers will continue to do their work, doctors and nurses will have to attend the patients and teachers have to give lessons with patience. Many young ones will enter the first year of fasting and learn the value of water.
Most importantly everyone will enjoy the unique feeling of giving.
In other words it is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to experience.
Then of course the question remains can we sustain what we experienced and learned?
Why go that far?
We can enjoy the moment first.
There is excitement in the air - families would want new decor in their homes, tailors will get busy and kitchens will work overtime.
But the essence of the month is moderation as per the scholars.
Most importantly there could be a new you at the end of it all!
And could that be the excitement and joy of anticipation that is prevailing in the air currently?
It is time for yet another beautiful journey.