There is nothing like reading a Muslim woman talking about her experience with this celebration and learning about her perspective and customs. Thanks To Fanny Ochoa, Director of the Ibero-American Halal Institute and Center for Advanced Islamic Studies
When I think of the month of fasting, Ramadan, I have a feeling of joy, and the first thing I remember is my children and the meeting that night when space opens up again since I can't do it the rest of the year, to share and be in the company of them.
I don't know if it is the same for all Muslims. I know that for majority it is a month in which the energy of the environment changes because we are linked spiritually, socially, economically, and politically.
And it feels like time is extended each day during Ramadan because suddenly we can work, study, play sports, and also remember that we must help those who do not have the same opportunities as us (zakat), go back home and organize food at the end of each day's fasting, call family and friends to invite them over or greet them in this especial month.
We also need to stop and pray in silence, connecting with God. We feel a collective energy that thinks the best for ourselves and others, slipping into state of peace as the fasting days pass. It is a month where we do not want to distinguish ourselves by academic titles, honors, knowledge, or economic issues, but by becoming better people because our values and ethics come out strengthened.
Through daily practice, we can improve our patience and perseverance in the face of life's challenges. For that reason, when I think about the month of fasting, Ramadan, I realize that it encompasses my entire physical, psychological, social, economic, and even political being. It is a kind of annual spiritual review that confronts me with the sincerity and honesty that I possess. It is an introspection and a dialogue with myself because I am my only judge, and my actions as a believer in Islam matter. This internal dialogue expects a better version of myself to emerge, with responsibility towards myself and others.
Social responsibility helps me understand that every action we do affects others. In Islam, the spiritual, social, economic, political, and psychological aspects are intermingled into a consistent and cohesive whole. Ramadan fasting is there every year to remind us why we are here and what is the meaning of life. Like listening to the word, listening to our law (Sharia) allows us to build the world in which we live.
It is a month of joy, effort and will that fills us with self-confidence. Welcome back to Ramadan 2023.
Fanny Ochoa O
Director of the Ibero-American Halal Institute and Center for Advanced Islamic Studies.