Reflecting the Month of Ramadan

You may or may not have heard about the month of Ramadan, however, not many can honestly explain what it is and its purpose. 

Ramadan is a holy month in Islam, where Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. After the sun has set, they can eat until dawn again, and this cycle typically repeats itself for thirty days. Now the most common question arises, what is the reason behind fasting during Ramadan?

There are various reasons why Muslims fast during Ramadan, however, the most significant reason is to acknowledge privilege and develop an understanding of the life of the less fortunate who are unable to acquire food as easily. Human consumption is excessive and Ramadan is meant to recognize this. It allows Muslims to reflect and become more self-aware.

Additionally, Ramadan is the easiest way for Muslims to connect with their religion. Since it is seen as a holy month, it is heavily encouraged to pray consistently and refrain from sin. Ramadan is used as a way for Muslims to practice self-restraint in their daily lives, hoping they may continue these practices outside of the holy month. 

The day directly after Ramadan, Muslims gather to celebrate a holiday known as Eid Al-Fitr. This holiday marks the official end of Ramadan and the name translates to “the feast of fast-breaking.” Every culture has its way of celebrating, but it is typically a day full of eating, fun, and family. Eid Al-Fitr is essentially the Muslim equivalent of Christmas. On this day, presents or money is given out and it is overall a way to enjoy one another’s presence. 

Fortunately, Ramadan is being acknowledged more frequently in public spaces such as schools, workplaces, and popular organizations. For example, a few years ago in public schools, fasting Muslims received no accommodations and were expected to perform the same as everyone else. However, in the present day, public schools are more empathetic to fasting Muslims and will accommodate them as necessary.

This year at Emerson Junior-Senior High School, fasting Muslims could utilize the nurse’s office to relax if needed and several teachers demonstrated leniency regarding schoolwork. Acknowledgment of other cultural customs is hugely appreciated and a step in the right direction.