Muslims in Kitchener-Waterloo and around the world are entering a special season of spiritual reflection, devotion and self-discipline.
Midtown therapist, Ummehani Rehmani, shares about the significance and blessing of Ramadan for Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbours.
WHAT IS RAMADAN MUBARAK?
“Ramada Mubarak is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This is the most sacred month in the Islamic faith. It is a time of spiritual reflection, devotion, and self-discipline for Muslims around the world.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs as a way of purifying the soul, practicing self-discipline, and reminding themselves of the suffering of those less fortunate. This act of fasting is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam, along with the declaration of faith, prayer, giving to charity, and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Ramadan is also a time for community and family gatherings, sharing meals with loved ones after breaking fast at sunset.”
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE KITCHENER-WATERLOO TO KNOW?
“There are SOOO many ways Ramadan spreads positivity within our community. For starters, Ramadan…
…Increases Charity and Giving: Muslims are encouraged to donate to those in need. This helps address issues of poverty and inequality, it reminds us we’re all in this together.
… Strengthens Family Ties: Ramadan brings wholesome traditions of gathering as a family and sharing food after a full day of group fasting. We experience togetherness and shared purpose within our households.
…Fosters Empathy and Compassion: Fasting uses experiential learning to highlight the struggles of those who are less fortunate. It helps build sensitivity of and kindness toward those around us who are in need.
…Offers Spiritual Connection: Ramadan invites a special emphasis on spiritual devotion, including prayer and reflection. It reminds us of our connection to others and to something greater than ourselves.
…Encourages Unity and Solidarity: The communal act of fasting and breaking fast naturally invokes a sense of unity and solidarity. This sense of togetherness reminds us of the power of shared efforts toward common goals.
For so many reasons, the month of Ramadan is a special opportunity for growth and renewal for Muslims and their non-muslim neighbours.”
For family-friendly information about Ramadan, check out CBC Kids article, Ramadan: be good to yourself and to others.
And/or drop-in to Waterloo Public Library’s for Get Ready for Ramadan for crafts, games, decorations and more (March 25th, 3pm).
“I’M NOT MUSLIM, SO WHY SHOULD I LEARN ABOUT RAMADAN AND TEACH MY CHILDREN?”
Shelly Pavlic, Midtown clinical director, was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo. She grew up in a primarily white, Christian context, in which the above attitude was common place.
“It’s actually a great question.
First off, this is a major event for a LOT of people. Growing up, I had no idea. There are 1.8 billion Muslims around the world! If that many people are involved in something, it just makes sense to want to know more, right?
Secondly, building understanding and awareness of others’ holidays and religious practices expands our understanding of neighbours, coworkers, and fellow humans around the world. When we take the time and effort to learn about others’ beliefs in a respectful manner, we actively work against fear and discrimination.
What better way to combat islamophobia and other hurtful messaging than to teach our children to love their neighbours.”
From all of us at Midtown, Ramadan Mubarak!