It is a very special time of the year for Muslims all around the world. It is Ramadan – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, where Muslims from all around the world fast from dawn to dusk. In Islam, Ramadan is all about self-control and discipline for the sake of Allah. During this time of the year, mosques everywhere are filled with worshippers standing in prayer into the wee hours of the morning.
What else is important in Ramadan?
A critical piece of Ramadan is charity, giving, and fostering a sense of community and brotherhood with those around us. Growing up in a predominantly Muslim country (Pakistan), I grew up watching my mom send platters of food to our neighbours and inviting family members for iftar. This is a seminal Ramadan tradition that I have had since my first memory of Ramadan. Now that I live in a multicultural country, with people of many religious denominations, I take Ramadan as an opportunity to share my love of Ramadan and Islam with them. I also want this to be a tradition we pass onto our daughter, and hopefully our future generations.
Sharing the Joy of Ramadan
This year, I am in a new neighbourhood where I am the only Muslim. Given that I don’t know all my neighbours well enough to know about food/dietary restrictions, I went a slightly non-traditional route i.e. candy. I decided to go this way because everyone loves candy, and there is no doubt about the ingredients in each piece of candy. I also decided to do this for the sake of convenience. As a working mom with very little free time on my hands, I picked up these adorable pastel coloured lanterns at my closest Dollarama, as I felt these are nice symbol of what Ramadan is about – sharing our love of Islam with the community. I also picked up a variety of packaged candy that could easily fit into the lantern and stuffed them well.
To add a personal touch, I created these little “Ramadan Mubarak” tags and have linked them HERE. I printed them at my nearest stationary store on cardstock and attached them using ribbon to the lantern.
Instilling the Love of Ramadan in our Children
I also wanted to involve my daughter in this tradition now that she is old enough to have some sense of what is going on. We walked to our neighbours’ houses, and I had her hand the neighbours the candy-filled lanterns after I introduced myself. This was such a good way to also say hi and introduce my family to neighbours who I had seen around, but never formally talked to. I know this can be intimidating for some but let me assure you… it is such a nice feeling to meet a neighbour and know that you are part of the little community you have created by taking the first step.
This Ramadan, I encourage you to share whatever it is you put on your table with your neighbour. Even if it’s something as little as a plate of dates – walk over to their house and tell them about Ramadan. Ramadan is so much more than just abstaining from food and drink. Let’s be part of creating that sense of community where ever we live through sharing this month.
I would love to hear about your Ramadan traditions, tell me in the comments below.
Until next time!