Rabat - On the Eve of Ramadan, I can feel some anticipation in the air. The streets seem to be a little bit more crowded and the cafes a bit busier than usual. It is difficult to picture what tomorrow will be like, when these chattering, smoking men with their tea will be absent.
Rabat – On the Eve of Ramadan, I can feel some anticipation in the air. The streets seem to be a little bit more crowded and the cafes a bit busier than usual. It is difficult to picture what tomorrow will be like, when these chattering, smoking men with their tea will be absent.
I have noticed the anticipation of Ramadan growing for the past week or so. Mostly I noticed this during my commute to and from work when I pass by the mosque. There seem to be more and more people going in to pray, and last Friday I noticed many more men spilling outside the mosque and spreading their rugs on the ground than usual.
As much as fasting all day, and especially foregoing water on this heat sounds less than pleasant to me, it seems that most Moroccans here are looking forward to Ramadan with anticipation and excitement.
Most people here seem to report that they are looking forward to Ramadan as a way to recommit themselves to God and also as an opportunity to purify their souls. They also say that Ramadan is a special time, a holy month and that they enjoy the fact that for one month of the year, spiritual fulfillment is collectively prioritized above all else. Some people have said that they look forward to Ramadan as an opportunity for a transformation of not only their soul, but also their bodies as they experience the physical and spiritual effects of the fast.
Many people are expressing that fasting, especially during the warmer seasons is a difficult task, but that this makes it all the more worthwhile, because it will make them stronger. They will be better able to discipline themselves, and fulfill their religious obligations. Many have said that the practice of fasting makes them more patient, self-controlled and pious. Many have also said to me that Ramadan is an exercise in showing solidarity with those who are less fortunate- a way to feel what poor people feel, so that they may become more compassionate people.
There are also those that have said they are looking forward to Ramadan from less of a religious perspective and are more excited about a shorter work day, and the delicious food that will be served at sunset. I have been told by many people that I should expect to gain weight during Ramadan.
Yet there are also those who have expressed their disappointment with this view. Some have said that instead of consuming less, and focusing on spiritual growth, many people actually consume more during Ramadan, and that some of the intended purpose of the holy month has been lost.
Nevertheless, it seems that overall, this Ramadan is something that most Moroccans are looking forward to with optimism. I commend all of their efforts to fasting, especially as the temperature rises and the days will be long. It will certainly be a challenge, and one that I’m sure will test yet enhance their patience and commitment to their faith.
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