Aisha Nasir, who has recently joined the Watkins and Gunn Property Team, explains what Ramadan is, what it involves and what it means to her.
Ramadan is the name of an actual month in the Islamic Calendar, the 9th month to be specific. Muslims have been ordained to engage in fasting during the month meaning that we are required to abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam (the other 4 being prayer, charity, pilgrimage and Shahadah – reciting the profession of Faith). It’s not all about abstaining from food and drink, actually far from it. It’s also about increasing our worship of God, practicing deep spiritual reflection, reading of the Quran (the holy book) and giving to the poor.
We wake up as a family at around 3am (before sun rise) to eat a morning meal, referred to as Suhoor. After having Suhoor, we’ll pray the morning prayer known as Fajr and we then go back to bed (if I didn’t sleep I’d surely turn up to work looking like a Zombie!). Although having Suhoor is not compulsory, it has been advised that this is preferred (we need as much energy as we can get so I’ll take it!). The time of opening of the fast (after sunset) is called Iftar. This time of year, Iftar time is at around 9pm. The time of opening the fast gets longer every day, as the days get longer. I love Iftar time, not just because it’s food time, but because we sit together as a family and open our fast together. It’s not always we get to sit together as a family and eat, but this is guaranteed in Ramadan. Altogether, the fast is around 18 hours long every day.
The sighting of the new moon in Saudi Arabia marks the end of the month of Ramadan. The celebration after Ramadan is called Eid. On Eid morning, we put on new clothes, and go to the mosque for the Eid prayer where we pray in congregation. After the Eid prayer…yes, you rightly guessed, it’s FEAST TIME!!
Personally, I struggle physically at the beginning of Ramadan, but as I persevere, it gets easier. I truly love this time of month. For me, Ramadan is a time for family and the strengthening of my faith. The month has such a positive vibe and it allows me to express my gratitude, practice self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy for those who are less fortunate.