Today is the first day of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims. Among other restrictions, they take in nothing by mouth from sunrise to sunset.
The time of year for the fast changes each cycle because Muslims use the lunar calendar, so next year Ramadan will start in late June. I remember when I used to participate in this fast that it was much easier to do during the winter months, and how much more difficult it was to fast during the summer months–not drinking water during the hot humid days with as many as four more hours of daylight before the fast ended at sundown, compared with the winter months.
Ramadan is a sacred month for Muslims because supposedly it was the month that the Quran, the Muslim holy book, was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. It is believed that during the month of Ramadan, Satan and his minions are locked up behind the gates of hell and they can’t get out to perpetrate evil in the world until the month is over.
The implication, if you believe such things, is that because Satan is out of the picture for the month, any evil that occurs during this time comes strictly from the hearts of humankind. There is nothing else to blame. Also, it’s a window of opportunity where every good deed takes on that much more significance.
This whole idea has always intrigued me. I used to imagine, and even now, though I don’t practice the faith anymore, that the world feels a little less oppressive during Ramadan, and at the end of the month, which this year will be around August 7, I’ll sense the world settling back to business as usual.
Not for nothing. Really. Just wanted to share that.
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2013