How Ramadhan Can Make You Happy
We can’t blame others for thinking that fasting is immensely difficult, because it can be. But here’s why Muslims embrace it so wholeheartedly. By Afia R Fitriati.
When I was studying in Singapore, some of my non-Muslim friends would look at me during Ramadhan with pity in their eyes. They’d ask me, ‘Why are you not supposed to eat? How can you not drink all day for a whole month?’ I couldn’t find the proper words to answer those questions back then. But if I had the chance to have those Q&A sessions all over again today, I would tell my friends that they need not worry about my wellbeing. In fact, contrary to what they might think, Ramadhan is oftentimes the happiest month of the year for a Muslim. I’ll tell them why:
- First of all, as Dina Toki-o colourfully described, there is just something in the air that gets us all excited about Ramadhan. Maybe it’s the long wait till iftar time, the pre-dawn struggle to wake up for sahur, or the nightly vigils full of Lailatul Qadar anticipation. For me, it’s all of the above and more!
- Every so often, the worldly life carries us away into thinking that our happiness is linked to the things that we get. Ramadhan serves as our yearly reminder that we can still be happy despite being deprived. While our bodies starve, our souls thrive on hope, prayers, charity and repentance – plus those lunchtime naps, of course
- Ramadhan teaches us to appreciate the essential things in our lives that we often take for granted. Things such as food, fresh water, our family and friends, and our faith
- Ramadhan represents a massive competition stage where every Muslim races against one another towards doing good deeds to win prizes that are quite literally out of this world. Think of those crazy clearance sales where you bought one pair of shoes and got two more for free. This month beats those sales days hands down, with every good deed rewarded multiple times over. This is the kind of Olympics worth shouting about
- Ramadhan is followed by the convivial atmosphere and feasting of Eid ul Fitr with loved ones. Need I say more?
No, my friends in Singapore didn’t have to worry about me. As hard as it may look on the surface, truth be told, we Muslims feel lucky and privileged to be able to experience Ramadhan again each year. That we are given another chance on Earth to make amends and improve ourselves before it is our turn to leave this world. We anxiously look forward to Ramadhan, survive every minute of its challenges with every nerve of patience or willpower (usually both) that we can muster, in the hope that we’ll emerge a better person when it’s over, year after year.
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