Detox, reset, and reconnect during Ramadan
(Post originally published in Miami Herald on April 13th, 2021 and can be viewed here.)
By Maram Behairy
Ramadan, which begins April 13, is a month-long observance in which Muslims around the world fast daily from dawn to dusk. Fasting has tremendous physical benefits and is also a way to reconnect spiritually. Through stillness and solitude, we reflect and realign within ourselves and with God. Families come together around the traditional suhur (meal before dawn) and iftar (meal after dusk). Ramadan’s deeper spiritual intent can often be overshadowed by large social events.
Last year, the lunar calendar aligned in such a way that Ramadan occurred near the start of the lockdown. In a time of uncertainty, Muslim families had a unique spiritual experience in the forced solitude. This year, mosques are maintaining similar safety protocols.
In many ways, this past year has been a physical and spiritual detox for humanity. I hope we have begun to purge the hatred, racism, and bigotry hiding beneath the surface, and can emerge with a greater appreciation for the diversity of our communities. I hope we have gained a greater devotion to health, freedom and connection. But we have more work to do. Acts of worship are intended to improve our character. What is character if not caring for others?
I welcome Ramadan, hoping that it marks a reset to a sense of normalcy for the world with a renewed commitment to our priorities.
Maram Behairy is a contributing writer for soflomuslims.com and writes a monthly blog ‘Untangled’.