Ramadan

May 11, 2021

Ramadan by Mrs Tosin Lawal

So, It’s no news to people in the LPSS community and beyond that it’s that time of the year when Muslims fast. You may have friends, family or colleagues who are Muslims and who observe fast during this period. You may have even heard your children talk about some of their classmates who fast/are fasting (we have to give it to these young champs!) this period. So, what exactly is this about?

While some may already know, Muslims observe fast (sawm) in the month of Ramadan – a period to abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset — yes, even water! Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim Calendar (Hijra Calendar – a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon) and it is considered the holiest month of the year. For Muslims, this period is a big deal, as it is one of the five prescribed pillars of Islam, which enjoins every eligible Muslim to fast, do good, seek forgiveness and generally repent from their ‘old ways’. I personally call it a period of rebirth – a period to do a ‘hard reset’ of one’s affairs.

As human beings, we strive in our daily lives to do good and be good, but it is also in our intrinsic nature to fall short sometimes. For Muslims, Ramadan signifies God’s mercy upon us to rewrite our past shortcomings. A period when we are encouraged to give charity, strengthen our relationship with God and show kindness and patience. A period to seek forgiveness and to ask God for anything you want, literally anything you want (no matter how crazy it sounds to you!). P.S – My children are fasting and praying for a pet this Ramadan (sigh!), I honestly don’t know how that’s going to pan out (*covers face*), but who am I to stop them from asking God for what they want! As the saying goes, “ask and you shall receive” . That’s not to say that one’s prayers are not answered outside of Ramadan, it’s just that Muslims get super excited for the month of Ramadan because of the exponential blessings that it brings. I read somewhere recently, where the last ten days of Ramadan was described as Muslims’ ‘black Friday’ (ha! ha!) – where one can get virtually anything at little to no cost i.e the blessings within this period.

It is a period of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, self-discipline, and heightened devotion and worship. In Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and using it as an opportunity to make changes in one’s life, for good. Ramadan is also a powerful symbol of unity, with Muslims around the world fasting simultaneously while bringing family and friends together. There is a deep sense of community during Ramadan and this is mostly demonstrated in the way Muslims worship in congregation and break their fast with meals at sun set which is called ‘Iftar’.

I fondly remember when LPSS hosted its first Grand Iftar in 2019. It was an event true to the very essence of LPSS – a community! and dare I say, it was a real delight! We had both the Muslim and non-Muslim members of the LPSS community come together to pull all stops to make the event an ‘amazingly successful one’. We explored what Iftar was like in different cultures, through some of our LPSS parents who provided tasty and nourishing dishes from their various home countries. We had other members of the LPSS community (parents, teachers and admin staff) volunteer their time and other resources (financial and non-financial) to ensure the event was a success. But the real icing on the cake, was when the non-Muslim members of the LPSS community came out in droves (despite the heavy rush hour traffic) to join and honour their Muslim counterparts’ invitation for iftar! That, to me, was most representative of the common essence which Ramadan and LPSS share – a sense of community, a sense of togetherness, a sense of unity. This event will be forever etched in my memory as one of my best attended events at LPSS and I do hope that there will be many more grand iftars in LPSS’ future – post COVID that is!!

 

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