Welcome to Ramadan 2013; the month of fasting, feeding, forgiveness and all round charitable fervor; the time when Muslims up their praying and curb their partying. The dawn to dusk fast includes not drinking fluids, which this year entails no daytime water intake during the peak summer month of July.
Nothing fundamental changes about the nature of the Holy Month year in year out. Yet since 2011, the so-called Arab Spring has undoubtedly toned down the revelry and gaiety surrounding the fast. It’s all the region can do to just keep fasting and carry on.
The charms of Ramadan's under-indulgence
Nevertheless, while all is less than swell in the Muslim heartland of the Middle East, and notwithstanding the revolutions, the bombings, the bloodshed and tears, Ramadan can still be expected to cultivate a calming effect for those who follow it. There's a certain appeal to a month of abstaining from overeating, swearing, gossiping and excess. It is about getting spiritual and being pure of heart and mind. It can be a time where one slows things down, (not so fast!) to reflect on their choices and reconsider their ways.
The fasting faithful often report feeling a sense of calm and composure that carries them through the tricky month that can pose its challenges, particularly in the summer heat.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
"Whoever observes fast during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven."
This year promises to see some of the region's turmoil and trauma diverted into the blessed month, but whether it will accelerate ceasefires (as per Ban ki-Moon wish) or spur more aggression, our prayers hold that it won’t escalate into a month of real hunger, struggles and war, particularly given the region's refugee crisis.
Albawaba wishes you a Ramadan Karim.