By Youssef Sourgo
Morocco World News
Casablanca, July 14, 2013
Ramadan is an exceptional month by all criteria. It is a month of positive transformation. Many deem it the month of substantial change. There is an indefinable sense of motivation that the holiness of the month injects in one’s mind and heart. Muslims exploit this spiritual impetus to change the most tenacious bad habits that have clung to them for quite so long.
Some experience a radical mutation in this month, while others undergo a slight transformation. In all cases, the change that takes place in Ramadan at the personal level is immeasurably more significant than the change that might occur throughout the rest of the year. A Moroccan proverb perfectly matches this context when slightly altered: “One that first enters Ramadan’s atmosphere is never the one that leaves it.”
What is even beautifully unexplainable is that people sometimes unconsciously endure positive change. It is not forcibly always the result of a conscious act. Perhaps it kicks off with a pre-Ramadan determination and will, but individuals, in most scenarios, wind up changing without deliberately seeking it. Ramadan’s atmosphere of mental security, contentment, and positivism almost takes charge of all the rest.
The people below have delightfully accepted to share their experience of transformation with MWN. Each of them refers to the positive change the previous Ramadan(s) induced in them. You will probably relate with the scenario of one of them. It may also draw your attention to the question itself: what did Ramadan change in me, or what will this year’s holy month transform in me?
Ramadan taught me patience. The religious practice of fasting induced me to reflect more on my entourage. Giving up your instinctive physical needs and quotidian, basic behaviors is not an easy task. It helps you to shake the dust off things that have always mattered to you, but that you have never paid close attention to. Ramadan makes one more reasonable, more reflective than reactive. Ramadan taught me to be more patient. Life is replete with inequalities, certainly. Yet the only way to come to terms with smothering inequalities is to give oneself time to reflect in-depth on them. Patience is the key. Patience is wisdom.
(Ismail Chaki, Master’s student)
Ismail’s scenario unquestionably strikes a responsive string in both our minds and hearts. Ramadan is essentially about patience, tolerance and solidarity. Your fasting is one way to tell the impoverished, the destitute and the orphan “I feel you!”. By fasting, one grants an honor to those with an incontestable determination to combat life’s disparities and inequalities. The homeless miraculously stands the roughness of the “no home.” The destitute who miraculously manage to survive in a world of self-centerism. These people are heroes, and the patience we celebrate by means of fasting is in itself a celebration of their battle against life’s inequalities.
Slef-evaluation and Self-appraisal
In Ramadan, you are your own moral evaluator. That is what Ramadan is about. In last year’s Ramadan, I was quite reckless and frivolous. My behaviors did not seem to change to any better in the first days of the holy month. However, I felt an unprecedented sense of guilt that kept hunting my conscience.. It was not triggered by any one’s lectures, or advice. It came out of nothing. Ramadan’s holiness incited me to watch my behavior and aspire for a better transformation without the need of the “other” to point out my flaws and misbehaviors. This ability to self-assess myself has now extended out of Ramadan, and has become as customary as any of my other innate behaviors.
(Ayoub Labchir, a recent university graduate)
There is also something about Ayoub’s experience that rings a bell in our sensory memory. Most of us might have occurred to feel a peculiar, yet beautiful “pat on the shoulder” during Ramadan, that sort of “pat” you get from an encouraging friend, a concerned parent, or any thoughtful individual. This peculiar voice that incessantly echoes in one’s head, reminding us of our capability to change things in that seem stiffed and eternally lasting, is perhaps what Ayoub and many other people have equally felt during Ramadan.
Ramadan grants one the legitimacy to do what he or she sees in his/her own good. Ramadan elevates each of us to the position of the judge, the assessor and the moral consultant. We are no longer the vulnerable, dependent individuals that await a hand to surge out of the dark and pull us out of our darkest chasms. Ramadan is our ticket to volunteer, conscious change. Ramadan boots one’s self-esteem as well, as seeing ourselves ultimately changing kindles immeasurable ecstasy and joy that in us.
Ramadan injects a tranquilizing dose of safety and security in me. The spiritually enchanting climate of this holy month is a magical ataractic potion. The month, unlike any other, clams down one’s most uncontrollable psychological impulses. It has discernibly done so for me. I peculiarly feel safer in Ramadan. The merest fact that you can hang out with your dear friends after the fast-breaking usual meal without that sense of anxiety induced by time or distance from your home is in itself exceptional.
(Enass Malik, a university graduate)
Who can’t identify with Enass’s peculiar feeling of security during this holy month? Ramadan is a month of solidarity and coexistence. The austere sense of insecurity that trammels the usual months of the year is unwelcome in Ramadan. The month urges us to respect, tolerate, cooperate, coexist, cherish and be comprehensible towards the others, regardless of the sort of relationship binding us to them. Safety is a constitutive ingredient of the months entrancing atmosphere. We are more prone to draw smiles than to ignite disputes and misunderstandings, something that some of us successfully manage to sustain even after Ramadan. Thus, our deeds and behaviors rationalize our peculiar sense of safety.
Ramadan is a self-development month. Our greatest accomplishments in our self-development projects can sometimes find their seeds in this holy month. The motivational spiritual atmosphere it encapsulates is a powerful impetus inciting positive change in all its manifestations. If Ramadan were a year long, one would surely witness the most astounding miracles.
 The genuine, unaltered Moroccan proverb goes as follows: “Dkhoul Hmmam machi bhal khroujou” (entering a bath is never like leaving it)
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