Ramadan 2021 begins tonight at sundown and ends May 11 at sundown.
My youngest, Ri attended a college prep boarding school in our town, Wayland Academy, that recruits and enrolls kids from all over the world. Some from the far east, mainly China. However, there were kids from Muslim countries as well. She became close friends with two girls with ties to the Muslim faith.
While the school is primarily for boarding students, 18% of the student population are typically from the area. My daughter was one of the ‘day’ students. She and all other day students were welcome on campus from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm when evening study halls ended and the boarding students needed to get ready for lights out.
Ironically, both of Ri’s Muslim friends were day students, also ironically both families were members of the Presbyterian church that we attended.
One family, the Mohammed’s regularly invited Ri to observe the Ramadan fast with them. I’m uncertain that she observed the fast all days of Ramadan before sundown, but she rarely failed to show up at sundown to partake in prayer, reflection and community with the Mohammed’s.
Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.
The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. Muslims believe that Ramadan teaches them to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity.
Since graduating from college, Ri rarely gets to see her old friends from high school. I wonder if she misses the communal ritual. I will copy her for some reflection on the subject.