I wish you all the blessings of this holiest of months, whether you fast or not. Here’s why, despite media perceptions, this should be a month of peace and love.
For those of us fasting – here we go again.
Less eating and more weight gain, dehydration and headaches, bad breath and methane, low blood-sugar and caffeine withdrawal, sleepless nights and drowsy days and of course constant irritability and yet, universal love for all. Yep!
As you know Ramadan is about celebration and sharing, it’s about contemplation and worship, it’s about self-control and piety, it’s about sacrifice and empathy and, it’s about hitting that reset button.
So it’s a sort of cleansing, a renewal, a shedding of your sins, and an embracing of enlightenment.
When I was a kid I was told that all the devil’s mischief-makers were locked up in this month – I assumed that meant that bad would take a break and good would prevail.
And yet in and around every Ramadan, our newsfeeds seem to suggest the opposite. The world goes to hell.
Actually I can’t say for sure that it does any more than normal in this month, it’s just that it becomes painfully more apparent.
What also becomes somewhat alarmingly apparent, is that if what I was told as a kid is true, and the agents of evil are out of action, then who’s doing the bad stuff?
Well it’s us then isn’t it? We can’t blame any higher, or rather lower, influences making us do stuff. It’s us, it’s our actions, it’s our thoughts, it’s our responsibility.
‘Hey!’ – you’re thinking – ‘I haven’t done anything bad’. ‘Okay I did curse that other driver with a really naughty word, but he did cut me up bad!’
Fair enough. By the way, driving is never easy in Ramadan and you should check out my Ramadan driving tips on Motoring Middle East.
Back to the point though. Ramadan is peace, Ramadan is giving, Ramadan is love.
There is a lot of negativity in the world right now. So whatever positivity we can channel through these special 30 days, and indeed beyond, and project it outwards into the world, we should.
We absolutely must in fact.
No religion is bad, not Islam, not Christianity, not Judaism, not Hinduism, not any of them. None teach you to steal, maim, kill or be unjust to this world and those that inhabit it – people, animals or mother nature.
There is no compulsion in faith, there is only a desire for goodness; and you don’t even have to be a believer to subscribe to that.
Right now though, there’s too much angst and hate, suspicion and fear, misery and moronic incomprehension in the world.
Now thinking back to Christmas, and setting aside all the commercialism, something that is truly noble about that special time, I always find, is the emphasis on the spirit of peace and goodwill to all.
It’s just as much a part of Ramadan too, but it gets lost amongst the scrabble for the pakoras and the binging on biryani.
This Ramadan, let’s take those inward reset mechanisms and project them outwards in that spirit of peace and goodwill to all, which is just as inherent to Islam as it is to any other religion.
Let’s accept and announce that everyone is different and equal at the same time, that everyone is important and divine, and that we’re all in this together.
Let’s try to demonstrate what Ramadan is about, and in fact what Islam is about – and it’s not just about frowning on non-Muslims for eating in front of you. Deal with it dude.
Remember that every time we meet others, every single time we finish prayers we say ‘Salam’ – in translation, we wish peace upon all.