Connecting this Ramadan
What’s your Ramadan Memory?
It’s interesting to see the reactions from various people when the holy month of Ramadan comes around.
There’s the enthusiastic/excited group, the ‘oh no it’s going to be so long’ group, and the nonchalant group who take it in their stride. Whichever group you may fall into, the reality for many Muslims young and old is that the memories collected over years of observing Ramadan are some of the most special.
When people reflect and talk about previous Ramadans there’s always common themes, such as the zombie effect which takes control of most blurry eyed families as they wander down to the kitchen together before the sun has risen to have suhoor - the meal before the daily fast begins.
As pots and pans go into operation and the smell of fresh bread and traditional suhoor dishes waft into the air, the silent zombie effect caves in as a hive of conversation and discussion ensues.
The radio is playing with that all so familiar voice urging everyone to make the most of this holy month, to pray more, to visit your neighbours, to help someone across the road – reminding us constantly that every good act this month is multiplied many times over in God’s infinite mercy.
One of my own fondest memories of Ramadan was of fasting as an eight-year-old, it was my first ever fast and I had made it through the day.
Then as I stood there in the kitchen full of pride and accomplishment helping my mum who was busy preparing the iftar meal, completely subconsciously a fresh, cool cucumber had made its way into my mouth.
Oh the horror as I desperately spat it out feeling like I had fallen at the final hurdle, my mother looking on in amusement.
It is these memorable incidents and those animated conversations as the family huddles around the table to break fast that set this month apart from any other for Muslims. Whether nowadays you open the fast at home or join the Mosque in a community Iftar a feeling of renewal and spiritual refreshment is undeniable.
This year ImamsOnline, an online resource showcasing good practices, and offering advice and education about the Islamic faith through a network of multi-denominational Imams and Mosques, is running the ‘Ramadan Reminders’ campaign.
Through imamsonline.com each day we will be featuring a different Imam or scholar with a short video reflection to talk about their memories, what Ramadan means to them, with gentle reminders, and the things that they do to make the most out of the holy month.
As well as the series of videos, Imamsonline.com will also be issuing a digital booklet capturing each participating Imam and scholars’ reflection message, the free to download booklet will serve as a reminder of the importance of the holy month.
So as a parting message, let’s all, regardless of our faith make a special pact this Ramadan. If each one of us wakes up with the conscious decision to do just one special good deed, whether it be to help someone across the road, to check in on an elderly relative, or simply buy a bunch a flowers for an old friend, think about how much better a place the world would be.