Purification of the soul

Aneeq Osman ’24 writes about how Ramadan is observed.

Ramadan began on the evening of April 1 and ended on the evening of May 1. | Graphic by Tillie Szwartz ’25

The month of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. This is an important month for Muslims because this is when the Quran, the Muslim holy book, was revealed. This holy month is where Muslims fast for thirty days, meaning they abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. But why do Muslims do this? In Chapter Two line 185 of the Quran, God says, “Whoever is present in the month of Ramadan, let them fast.” Not only is it mandatory for Muslims to fast during this month, but it is also one of the five pillars of Islam. The five pillars in Islam is what makes someone a practicing Muslim. The five pillars in order are the Shahada (believing that there is no one worthy of worship except God, and the Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of God), praying five times a day, Zakat (giving charity), fasting during the month of Ramadan, and Hajj (the pilgrimage Muslims make to Mecca). Ramadan is a chance for a person to improve spiritually, and it purifies one’s soul. Ramadan also purifies the heart, which is arguably our most precious organ.
This month, Muslims increase their participation in acts of good deeds and charity. This is a time of the year when Muslims are grateful for their blessings. Food and water are blessings that are given to us from God. LM student Sarem Khan ’24 says, “Ramadan is a time where I can connect with God and become a better Muslim. Everyone comes together and it is a great time of the year.” While Muslims keep away from their food and water, they also give these blessings to the ones who need it more than them. Charity and Ramadan go hand in hand. Charity is the third pillar of Islam, and it increases tremendously during this month. One’s generosity should increase 100 percent during this month.
It is said in a narration that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was generous all year round; however, during Ramadan, he was described as a hurricane of generosity or a wind that bears gifts. A hurricane wipes away everything around itself, meaning everyone around you should feel your generosity. Charity and fasting are vital factors in bringing oneself closer to Islam and God.

People may think fasting limits a person’s ability to do things. This is a misconception about people who fast. Muslims still participate in activities and sports. Kyrie Irving, a professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets, fasted while playing in the NBA playoffs. Irivng averaged 31.8 points since the start of Ramadan and put up 42 points against the Rockets on April 5. Athletes could potentially break their fast in the middle of their games if the times of sunset and their matches overlap. The meal that Muslims break their fast with is known as iftar. A number of famous athletes have iftar in the middle of their games. It is the way of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to break the fast with dates and water. This is a healthy way to break your fast because dates are a natural source of energy and are a filling fruit that can make you feel energized in a short amount of time. These aspects are what make Ramadan precious to Muslims and the real reason why Muslims fast. Fasting purifies the heart and soul for a closer relationship to God.

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