Observing Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam and must be observed by all Muslims who are able so to do. Even I learned that in school in the 1980’s Finland. On the other hand we also were told that it’s ok to eat during the night time because Allah cannot see. Which, if I think it now, is just silly.
But do we concentrate on the fasting part too much, and forget the why we fast? Do we fast because we just do it, or do we actually take the time left available to ponder about the deeper meaning of Ramadan?
Many of us, me writing this and you reading this, come from countries that have access to Internet, we have plenty of food and drink, we have proper houses, etc. We can watch the slow daytime hours go by with Netflix or spend them studying or working. Those who can, take their summer holiday during this time to avoid the extra stress from work.
I have to admit that I get carried away with that sometimes, just waiting for the fast to end so that I can have the first glass of water with dates. But it really shouldn’t be about that – the fast and giving up the things that we take for granted should help us to be thankful of the blessing we have and also, remember those who don’t have the same abundance of things that we do!
Last year in Finland, we had thousands of refugees coming. Majority of them were Muslims and as they were placed in refugee centres, there wasn’t exactly the best means to make or have food after the sun set. But what I like about the Muslims in Finland is that some of them invited people to their places to break fast, some people cooked for the centres, allowing people inside to have Iftar, and some went and talked with the administration explaining the need to cook or have food late at night during Ramadan.
Ramadan isn’t about me. It’s about us as a community. It’s about realising that by our actions we can make a difference, we can actually help.