as this year’s Aïd Al-Fitr comes to a close for some of us I want to talk a little bit about Ramadhan, because I’ve heard some comments & encountered some attitudes that suggest to me that a lot of non-Muslims view Ramadhan as being primarily or even entirely about privation or hardship. the assumption is that it’s an obligation, a dreaded obligation even, and that we would naturally be happy that it’s over.
I can understand why people would have that idea–certainly going without food or water from sunup to sundown for a month does sound rather daunting–but it doesn’t accord with the attitudes of what seems to me to be the majority of Muslims, or the energy in Muslim communities in general as Ramadhan approaches and ends. Ramadhan is, for a lot of people, first and foremost a joyous time. while fasting is a religious obligation for all those who have the ability to do so, it’s not a dreaded one. Ramadhan is, literally, a blessed month, during which Muslims believe that they are brought closer to God & are encouraged to improve in gratitude to him. families & communities are brought together during iftar (the meal after sunset that breaks your fast) & that is always a joyous occasion, regardless of what else is going on. the month is an opportunity for piety, charity, time with your family, involvement with the community, and, in many places, interfaith co-operation and solidarity. the festivals that end Ramadhan are not, to me, more joyful or appreciated than the month that came before, and many people greatly anticipate the coming of Ramadhan and are saddened when it ends.
this is not to suggest that Muslims are completely homogenous, obviously, or to deny anyone’s right to feel differently, or to imply that fasting is the only way to be close to God (as someone who is chronically ill myself, I understand that being unable to fast is a source of great conflict and sadness for many people–which actually should tell you something about desirable fasting is perceived to be by Muslims in general). it’s just to say that the prevailing attitude towards Ramadhan is one of joy & not one of dread or privation, and I think that it’s a disservice to say otherwise. so just so you know for next year, it’s not inappropriate or incongruous at all to wish someone a happy Ramadhan. & you can also wish someone ease with their fasting, or wish them blessings & rewards.
reblogs encouraged etc. & I’d also love to hear from other people from religions that fast about how things are for you