Tomorrow (or officially, from this evening), we’ll enter the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, which is the month of fasting known as Ramadan. For the next month, Muslims all over the world will spend their days fasting, praying, meditating, spending time with family and building up the reserves of their faith and spirit. If it’s anything like what the beginning of this year was like for me, then it will be an intensely refreshing period both spiritually, mentally and otherwise for millions of people all over, including some of my friends and the millions of Muslims in my country. I pray they all have a blessed one.
A number of things about the period touch on stuff I sometimes write about on this blog, and so I decided to share some of my thoughts and findings.
Apparently, the stock markets of predominantly Muslim countries, especially in the Gulf tend to experience a month long rally, every Ramadan. I suppose all that good feeling has to show up everywhere, including the economy. Do with that what thou wilt.
Charity goes up tremendously during the period. Ramadan is a period to help the less privileged, feed strangers, double (or triple) up on alms giving, and be very neighborly. Very very neighborly. People in Nigeria give boatloads of fresh ram meat and raw groceries to their neighbors to make meals later or invite everyone to a big fast breaking feast.
Time spent with family goes up, especially for Muslims. You cut down on traveling, entertainment and all that. Focus on what is important, God, your faith, family, friends etc. Sounds like a great plan, regardless of your religious conviction.
Ramadan ends, most rewardingly, with Eid. Eid is for feasts, and gifts and lavish parties and celebration. Especially back home. Here in the US, it’s a lot more subdued, but Muslim Americans still get their celebrations on at Eid. It’s almost like Christmas in it’s festivity. If you have Muslim friends, you might consider a small gift for Eid. They’ll appreciate it.
If you can, participate in Ramadan even if you’re not Muslim. I did two years ago, and I plan to from tomorrow. But even if you don’t, if you have dope Muslim friends, mark your calendar for Eid and prep yourself for celebrations and a whole lot of Halal food.
To my good friends Sakina, Khalida, Bilal, and every Muslim who reads this,