This Ramadan, Break the Fast and Start the Conversation
For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a time where we are all on the same page. Many draw within their heart, and renew goals in hopes of creating new habits that continue past this month. Ramadan offers the opportunity to improve on one’s religious practices, sacrifice ego and wealth, and atone for past transgressions. However, it is also an exciting period of time in which even the distant of souls return, not just for ourselves but for each other.
Ramadan fosters an environment, where the sacrifice ego results in the seeking of peace rather than rancour. Fasting is a shield for those to protect themselves and others. This is especially true amongst our family and friends, where perhaps negativity was prevalent, but during this blessed time we practice the virtue of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, where he says:
“If any one of you is observing a fast, let him not utter obscene talk or raise his voice in anger, and if anyone insults him or wants to fight, let him say: I am a person who is fasting.”
In absence of negativity in the home environment, Ramadan provides a safe space for families to grow together. Communal eating at suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, and iftar, the meal to break fast, allows the space for members to bond over food, scheduling their day together which may otherwise be overlooked in other months.
“I heard my father say: ‘I heard ‘Umar bin Khattab say: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Eat together and do not eat separately, for the blessing is in being together.”
In such moments, parents should talk to their children and encourage open communication that allows them to speak their mind.
On a moral level, Muslims strive to attain the most virtuous characteristics and apply them to their daily situations. Parents should be mindful to exercise compassion, generosity, empathy and mercy, to be positive role models for family members.
There are also those who are unfortunately marginalized during Ramadan. Families are brought together, the iftar tables are decorated with sizzling food and homes are bustling with conversations of men, women and children. However, there are those who don’t have families or are away from home for work or study, living alone, or struggling with their mental health. This is also a time for many among us to serve those who are not as fortunate, it is as simple as making a call.
You can offer to prepare iftar, or invite those who are alone, even if they’re not fasting, to keep them preoccupied in the spirit and traditions of this month.
“Whoever offers meal to his/her Muslim brother/sister at the time of iftar, s/he receives as much reward as s/he has earned. Nothing becomes less of the reward of those s/he offered meal to.”
To those who’re unable to fast due to prescribed medications, be supportive and empathetic to their struggles and help in finding tranquility. You can also offer rides to the mosque for daily lectures, and nightly prayers. In this service, you’ll be able to develop a relationship with your brothers and sisters and strengthen the bond of brother/sisterhood and increase love of faith.
“Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!” [Surat Ar-Ra’d, Verse 28]
Maintaining our mental well-being this Ramadan will sustain our spirituality and vice versa. With the right mindset, we can use this time to busy ourselves in the remembrance of Allah, find comfort through prayer and fuel our souls.