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Saturday , August 24 2019

Abstinence, self-reformation

rbt

Holy Ramadan, a period of self-reformation and abstinence from worldly desires; a time to be engrossed in the remembrance, praise, and glorification of God. What comes to mind at first regarding fasting is a pure and forgiving heart. It is a period of revival, where Muslims all over the world fast, pray and give to charity. The empathy towards people around us, sharing, and caring  for others, is magnified. Rigorous fasting is a primary step to attain spiritual enlightenment and communion with God. In fasting, by refraining from the natural human instinct to sate one’s appetite, we deal with our emotions in healthier ways to reach a higher spiritual realm. The compassion and mercy of God are truly reflected in fasting, prayers and alms-giving, and these pillars keep people on the path toward their pilgrimage to God Almighty.

The holy month of Ramadan is a very special time for me even as a non-Muslim. It is a time for me to mould my character, cleanse, and purify my soul by practicing empathy, tolerance, and mutual respect. I experienced the true spirit of Ramadan a few years ago at my college hostel in my home country where my Muslim friend fasted and prayed fervently five times a day throughout the holy month. Her sense of holiness inspired me to abide in prayers of the canonical hours as a Christian. We both had a deeper appreciation of the shared spirituality that unites the Abrahamic religions. Back then, I had my first glimpse of the sacredness of Ramadan at a small scale. Since moving to Kuwait in 1995, I notice the entire nation’s unity as their devotion of the recitation of the Holy Quran, meditation and abstinence increases during the time of fasting, which ignites the holiness in Kuwait’s atmosphere, reflecting God’s blessings.

It is a great experience, one filled with a mystical connection, to wish Muslims a ‘Ramadan Kareem’ on the very first day of Ramadan every year and within the holy month, the joyful ‘Girgian’ with its sweets and treats reminds me of Easter eggs and bunnies. When the sacred month is over, ‘Eid Mubarak’ wishes during Eid Al-Fitr impart peace, happiness, and prosperity.

By holding the true spirit of the holy Ramadan ahead, let us get closer to a higher spiritual level by allowing God to touch our hearts. Best wishes and prayers to all my Muslim and non-Muslim friends who observe Ramadan in Kuwait and worldwide. And I extend my reverence and love towards my foster mother, Al-Kuwait.

 “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).” (Holy Quran, 2:183. Shakir Translation) 

By Jojy Jacob,

Kuwait English School

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