Monday, April 12th, 2021 marks the ninth month in the Islamic calendar when for thirty days, over 3.5 million American Muslims will fast and “yes, even forego water.” Ramadan for Muslims world-wide not only is one of our five pillars or religious tenets, it is also an opportunity to reset, renew, and rejuvenate your spiritual connection to God (Allah) and use the physical pangs of abstinence, hunger, thirst during the daylight hours as a tangible reminder of your spiritual connection to something bigger than your body’s physical needs. However, as a religious minority it is often harder for us to do this. Living in a non-Muslim community means that we are squeezing in prayers between work meetings, breaking your fast at your son’s baseball games, or “listening” to the Quran, at stoplights while rushing to your next appointment. Not necessarily conducive to that whole spiritual awakening we are supposed to be experiencing. For our family, knowing that we cannot stop our every-day lives to dedicate it solely to religious practices, we try to fit in the intent behind Ramadan in a more practical application whenever we can.
Charity: As one of the main five tenets fitting in additional charitable efforts during this month can be a welcomed experience to all. After supporting our local Mosque, our family usually chooses a few charities to support either financially or with our physical time. In volunteering we are taking the meaning behind this month of connection to reconnect with ourselves as a family and to connect with the community as well. (Note: we are supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and you all are invited to our virtual iftar.)
Interfaith: My personal philosophy has always been that we are more alike than different, and in celebrating our differences we can view them as a rich opportunity for learning and growth. We are bridging that gap of misunderstanding one smile, one greeting at a time and potentially creating a village of allies that we all need during these rocky times. Use this month as an opportunity to take a treat to your neighbor, read a Ramadan book to your child’s class, write a blog in your local community. Make our presence known because it is a lot harder to hate when there is a person sharing their samosas with you.
Reflection: In using the momentum of Ramadan as a springboard to further reflection. How can we continue doing good works for a local community? How can we make small changes of understanding to further close the gap of misunderstanding? How can we as a family come together and with our own hands help the hungry, care for our neighbor, reconnect with God (Allah) in a way that is more meaningful than rushed prayers in between activities?
Maybe celebrating Ramadan here is not as easy as it would be in a Muslim country. However, I would argue that it is more meaningful. We as a Muslim community must work that much harder to implement and institute our religious traditions in a non-Muslim country. In making space for ourselves now, we are also making space for others that come behind us. If that is not in the spirit of Ramadan than I don’t know what else is.
Until Next Time,
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.
 Shahada (profession of faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity), Saum (Fasting), Hajj (pilgrimage)
 Muslims refrain from food, water, and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset.
 Muslims holy text