Ramadan: Celebrating Peace Within Chaos
With Ramadan’s end comes prayers of peace, hope and fulfillment.
Ramadan is almost over and as always it’s been an extremely busy holy month for Muslims. Fasting and worship aside, Ramadan means so much to so many people around the world. Here are some highlights, both good and bad, from this year’s Ramadan.
Charity projects received much attention this year, as they always do. However, because of islamophobic narratives of Muslims in many parts of the world, charitable causes gained even more prominence than usual. LaunchGood, the crowdfunding website of choice for and by Muslims, started the Ramadan Challenge, where donors received a daily email with suggested projects to support. Ordinary Muslims from all over the world supported diverse projects such as refugee relief, children’s playgrounds and Arabic classes.
Unfortunately, terrorists continued to take advantage of Ramadan as a marketing tool for their vicious goals and this year was a most deadly one. Muslims consider all good acts to be rewarded richly during the month of Ramadan, and sadly this resulted in many acts of terror in the misguided belief that they would earn the pleasure of God.
From Tehran to London, Baghdad, Paris and Manchester, Muslims stood strong against this hate-filled ideology and supported victims of violence. At the same time, we witnessed the terrible crime of the murder of Nabra Hassanen in Virginia. A community of all faiths gathered around this family and showed that Ramadan is a time of reflection even in the most horrific of circumstances.
While Muslims are fasting, they are also doing other things, like playing sports. Buzzfeed’s recent article about 15 athletes from a variety of countries shed an important light on the life of Muslims away from the racist and stereotypical narrative of terrorism. Writer Shireen Ahmad offers a wonderfully diverse array of sportspeople, from football to boxing, running to cycling, all explaining what Ramadan means to them and how they are able to continue extreme sports while fasting. This piece is sure to shatter the assumptions many people have about Muslims, as well as about the practice of fasting during Ramadan.
Speaking of Buzzfeed, they launched a new podcast named See Something Say Something – a taunt to the campaign created by Homeland Security which often entraps people suspected of terrorism, AKA brown people. This Ramadan saw some of the best episodes of the podcast, including celebrating Ramadan in Black Muslim communities, which is often an overlooked topic. The award-winning podcast is available year-round but the Ramadan topics were especially thought provoking.
Although Ramadan is the month of fasting, it frequently becomes associated heavily with food. NPR recently interviewed the organizers of the initiative Taco Trucks at Every Mosque, which aims to bring Muslims and the Latinx communities together. There were other fascinating looks at Ramadan cuisines from around the world, such as candy floss burritos and rainbow bagels in Singapore’s hipster Ramadan culture.
There is a serious side to Ramadan as well. Muslims pray more during this month regardless of whether they are fasting or not. Mosques have been full for the optional but highly rewarding tarawih prayers, in which worshippers try to complete the reading of the entire Quran in 30 days.
In an effort to make the fasting process more accessible, many mosques host interfaith iftars (breaking of the fast) for people of different faiths to eat together after sunset. This year the events were not limited to mosques alone. Hollywood boasted perhaps the first ever iftar which helped raise awareness of issues related to Muslims in America.
With the end of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world are feeling nostalgic yet triumphant. A difficult yet spiritually uplifting aspect of our worship has been concluded, and we look forward to another year. With Ramadan’s end comes prayers of peace, hope and fulfillment.
Featured Image: yeowatzup, Creative Commons.
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