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May 30, 2019 · OPINION

Celebrating Ramadan as an American Muslim teen

By Maha Laiq

Every year, as the holy month of Ramadan draws near, Muslims from all corners of the world await in the excitement of observing the fast. Whenever Ramadan comes around, I like to treat it as a diet.

However, I don’t treat Ramadan as a diet of burning calories. Instead I observe it as a diet of burning ego, sin and becoming an overall better person for the benefit of humanity.
During this month, from sunrise to sunset, Muslims are expected to abstain from eating, drinking and engaging in bad behavior. It is a time when Muslims engage in spiritual reflection, and seek forgiveness for their sins.

In general, as a Muslim girl, fasting helps me understand and reflect upon the blessings I have been given. The fast emphasizes self-sacrifice by using the experience of hunger to grow in empathy with the hungry. It not only reminds me, but also other Muslim communities to work together in raising money for the less fortunate. Islam is a religion that makes the wellbeing of the overall society a main concern for Muslims.

Ultimately, the practices during Ramadan are meant to purify oneself, as Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) says, “Fasting is a shield; so the day one of you fasts, he should not indulge in foul talk nor should he shout. And if someone abuses him or fights with him, he should simply say to him, ‘I am fasting’.”

Ramadan is not only about observing the physical ritual of fasting, but also going beyond and attempting to purge oneself of impure thoughts. This Ramadan, which began Sunday, May 6, and which will end on Tuesday, June 4, let us hope that Muslims will benefit from the spiritual atmosphere by taking time out to reflect on actions that cause harm to others and strive to serve humanity.
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