Istanbul - Ramadan is a time of joy for Muslims. No matter how difficult things might have been before, as soon as this beautiful month arrives, an air of solace, a beautiful break from the everyday mayhem, comes along. And one doesn't even need to be religious to notice this change in the air.
Istanbul – Ramadan is a time of joy for Muslims. No matter how difficult things might have been before, as soon as this beautiful month arrives, an air of solace, a beautiful break from the everyday mayhem, comes along. And one doesn’t even need to be religious to notice this change in the air.
From Jakarta to Istanbul, Beijing to New York, Muslims all around the world enjoy the excitement of this time of the year. So beautiful is Ramadan that as soon as it starts, it is as if the world starts to spin slower and offers a small glimpse of heaven, a preview of what is awaiting believers in the hereafter with its ever-lasting peaceful air.
This homely warmth extends to everyone and everything: People seem nicer, streets feel safer, food is tastier, friendship is stronger, even television commercials feel cozier as everyone benefits from this all-enveloping warmth in the air.
It is all thanks to the holiness and blessed spirit of this beautiful month when the Quran was sent down.
As the pious embark on their month-long religious duty of fasting, they start with the suhoor meal late at night. This is a fun part of Ramadan. Waking up to the smell of food, hearing the happy banter of the household and the inviting clatter of cutlery, one can’t help but wanting to get up as soon as possible and join in the fun. After this meal is completed with light food for a comfortable sleep later, believers abstain from food and drink during the day. This helps to keep them focused and allows their bodies to get a much-needed break after an exhausting year of work.
As hours pass and iftar dinner nears, excitement mounts; especially if the dinners are arranged as feasts bringing together friends and families, which all Muslims strive to do throughout the month.
Hours chase minutes and the rush hour starts as the pious hurry to get to their destination in time.
The food served and the table setting is important. Rich or poor, Muslims of all backgrounds make their best efforts to prepare the most delicious food they can, while making sure the table looks delightful.
However, even the most delicious iftar cannot match the excitement of sitting at the table during those last couple of minutes before the fast is broken. This excitement, multiplied by the fact that it is shared with the beloved ones, is something to be experienced rather than described.
As iftar dinner ends, and Muslims thank God for this beautiful experience, tea is served along with light desserts. Yet the one thing that makes this entire experience truly beautiful is the praise given to Almighty God for His endless gifts and blessings.
As this warmth and friendliness overtakes the whole society, and everyone benefits from the all-enveloping air of warmth; negativity goes down and people feel more generous. As a result, the poor are helped more and the needy are protected more effectively.
This is also a time when Muslims ponder over the difficulties of the economically less-privileged. They also pray and work more fervently for the salvation of the world, especially those Muslims who are living under oppression, which now constitutes the majority of the Islamic world, and increase their intellectual efforts to contribute to peace the world so genuinely needs.