As the holy month for Muslims begin, my intent is to also begin a month of purification and reflection. I think such periods, regardless of one’s religion or philosophical background offer much to assist on our spiritual path.
“The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm.”
My American Muslim friend Marcie used to tell me that this month for her was a very powerful way of connecting in with the spirit of charity. In her tradition, this month encourages people to be more generous and kind to each other. People tend to slow down and ‘tune in’ to use a modern phrase.
“Muslims all around the world will abstain from food and drink, through fasting, from dawn to sunset. At sunset, the family will gather the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar.
Most markets close down during evening prayers and the Iftar meal, but then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending time with their friends and family during the evening hours. In many Muslim countries, this can last late into the evening, to early morning. However, if they try to attend to business as usual, it can become a time of personal trials, fasting without coffee or water.”
As Marcie used to say, that time of personal trial was the one of most inner growth. I will attempt to fast as much as I am able to (I tend to run hypoglycemic, so I can’t participate fully), but in the spirit of Ramadan, I endeavor to slow down a bit and embrace humanity and all its wonderful diversity.
Quoted text from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan