Ramzan Fasting, a period of staying away from food and drink from dawn to sunset is not just a religious practice from thousands of years but it is an act that brings in a change and detoxification in the body and spirits of people.
In Islam, the 9th month of the Calendar starting and ending with the Crescent moon reference is marked as the holy month of Ramzan. This holy month is reported by Prophet Mohammed as a month when “the doors of heaven open”. Rightfully so, there is much to this simple term used here as fast. It is more to do with one feeling the need to stay deeply connected to God and cleanse himself of everything he has been through throughout the year. It is much more than what is seen by the naked eye.
Listed below are some aspects of Ramzan which show the beauty of this festival celebrated in various parts of the globe
5 core principles of a Muslim
The profession of faith, Prayers, Pilgrimage, Fasting, and Alms is the five core of a respectful Muslim brother as per the holy Quran. The emphasis on Fasting starts from the holy month of Ramzan. This was the month that had a night called the “Night of Power” where the readings of the Quran were first revealed by God to the Prophet himself. It is considered a month of the calendar where all healthy Muslims are expected to refrain from food and drinks during the day.
By this very act of sacrificing it is believed that the sins of the past will be forgiven by the Lord. That is the very base belief and the remaining virtues or deeper meaning of fasting follows.
What does fasting look like?
The day of Muslims during Ramzan usually starts quite early. The day begins with the first prayer at the dawn and then by taking the first meal of the day which is a nutritious meal packed with a lot of proteins and body essentials. This will be the only meal till the fast breaks in the evening. Nonvegetarian food is mandatory which includes eggs, fish, meat, etc. Also, you will see a variety of Fruits, Colorful Vegetables, Dal, Rotis, and rice in the meals. They begin their day as usual and do not refrain from doing day-to-day activities. Unlike in most gulf countries, the work hours are reduced to some extent as the entire country in unison celebrates Ramzan as a major festival. The whereabouts, timelines, and Office activities are planned accordingly to support the ritual of fasting during Ramzan.
Irrespective of whether you can or not, you will be rewarded if you Continue to fast without any complaints
The fasting period starts in the early morning till the sun goes down. Muslim brothers are expected to stay committed to this practice and continue to do their daily work, activities, and household chores without any further complaints. A few exceptions are aged, diseased and pregnant women. The days that one skip due to valid reasons like menstruation, medical emergency, etc. compensate for the same by fasting even after Ramzan. It’s a holy act that builds God's consciousness within the individual and every Muslim indulges in this act without a second thought or any complaints.
Breaking the fast with Dates followed by Ifthar:
"The Prophet Muhammad used to break his fast with dates and if there were no dates he would break his fast with a few sips of water". The mention of the Fruit of Labor Dates has happened many times in the scriptures and the magical health benefits have made Dates available in abundance in every kitchen of a Muslim Brothers home. Dates inject an instant boost of energy when consumed after long hours fast. It is the best food item for breakfast. Dates are said to be great fuel for an empty stomach. It is rich in iron, manganese, vitamins, Calcium, photo-nutrients, and minerals. The irregularities in blood sugar level which is caused while fasting is instantly brought to normalcy by consuming dates. Ajwa dates in Islam are considered medicinal and were recommended as a remedy for cleansing the stomach, and fertility issues in a woman and also as a spiritual remedy for black magic. Pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive are also recommended dates due to the miraculous benefits it has to offer to a Woman’s body. One piece of jumbo-sized Medjool premium date will suffice.
The pre-dawn meal in Islam is called Suhoor and the fast-breaking “Ifthaar” meal is very commonly seen and we get to hear it time and again. Once the fast is broken after the prayer with dates or a sip of water, some snackable are consumed followed by a full meal called Ifthar.
What is fasting suppose to do to you as per the holy Quran :
- Keeping oneself away from materialistic pleasures and worldly excitements.
- Starving and not drinking water deprives us of our own needs. This helps us to be kind to all our human classes, empathize and stay grounded.
- Living a simple and pious life with minimal needs and being kind to humanity.
- Fasting is also considered an opportunity to cleanse one's sins and ask forgiveness from the almighty.
- The night of Ramadan is considered to be the most powerful night and one can reap maximum blessings and benefits from the great divine.
- In a world filled with needs and wants, we tend to forget that God is ultimate and he is the only one who is needed for sustenance.
- He may not expect anything from us but mere gratitude for the gift of life and the chance of humanity can help one go a long way in the path of spirituality. Fasting is thus considered an act of thanksgiving.
- One stick to timelines and discipline. He wholeheartedly indulges in the act of faith, prayers, persistence, discipline, and the following time. This makes him a better human
- One ensures self-control over food, lust, greed, and money and indulges in charity and good deeds.
Gifting during Ramzan
Gifting during Ramzan is considered to be an act of exhibiting love, care, and kindness. People gift their siblings, loved ones, and relatives mostly with a premium box of dates or Dry fruits. Nuts and Dates play a primary role during this season and we see a lot of Ajwa dates, Medjool dates, Dry dates, Almonds, Pistachios, and Cashews being gifted. Most of them also indulge in exotic choices of desserts and sweets. This is a way of emphasizing love, care, and affection among people.
Look at the beauty of this one festival which comes with so many aspects to it. This might be just a glimpse of a mighty mountain but a simple awareness of what this festival has to give us will add value to our lives.