Monday, August 1, 2011

[ it's August and it's Ramadan ]


FOR ME, August has always meant that summer is halfway over and I'd better savour every moment that's left of it before the temperatures drop, flip flops are put away and socks reappear after their summer hiatus. But this year, it also marks the start of Ramadan. I've never been familiar with the customs and holidays of Muslims, so living in Dubai is introducing us to a few new things.

Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, when Muslims refrain from drinking and eating during daylight hours. It is the holiest time of the Islamic year, a time of reflecting, to do away with bad habits, to cleanse the body and soul. It is intended to teach patience, spirituality, humility, self-discipline, and sacrifice. It is a time of spiritual growth, to refocus on the worship of God through prayer and acts of generosity and charity for those who are less fortunate.

After abstaining from food and drink from dawn to sunset, families gather in the evening for the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar. Special prayers are held in mosques every night, when sections of the Qur'an are recited until the complete scripture is recited by the end of the month. Visiting family and friends is customary and can go late into the night, then fasting resumes again at dawn.

Ramadan ends after a month with Eid al-Fitr, when people get dressed up, decorate their homes and gather with friends and family. It is a time of celebration, when blessings are shared through gift-giving and contributions to mosques and feeding the poor.


Even as non-muslims, we'll be doing our own daylight fasting in public, as all restaurants, cafes and fast food places are closed until after sunset everyday. No lunch dates or morning lattes! But even though we won't be reciting the Qur'an, I guess it doesn't hurt to reflect on our own actions and be generous and kind to others too {something we should be doing everyday anyway}.

lisa

[top pic: Stephanie Rausser]

5 comments:

Formerly known as Frau said...

Lisa it's so interesting and your right it's something we should all be doing. I can't wait to see pictures of next month when the celebrating happens, I imagine the colors will be amazing. Have a wonderful Monday!

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

Lots of great lessons in this celebration, you are really having quite the adventure, so far away from home! Janell

La Dolfina said...

Good Luck with that!
You have such a great attitude on this adventure of yours :)
Will weight loss be a side effect?

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Well said. Must be a financial sacrifice for those shops as well.

Marianne {Style For Living} said...

I find it so fascinating learning about other cultures. It wouldn't hurt me to fast during the day! Perhaps I should give it a go. Not sure how long I'd make it without passing out!

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