Today is the first day of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month. I received a Ramadan greeting from my family in the Gambia today and have seen many articles about it. I’ve been lucky enough to be in predominately Muslim countries during Ramadan in the past and seen for myself the connectedness that it brings.
Of course in a perfect world we all practice the ideals of Ramadan all the time regardless of our own beliefs; being aware of the needs of others less fortunate than us, not telling lies or talking about people, giving to charity, providing food for the hungry and homeless, stepping into the shoes of others to gain an understanding of how those who are less privileged feel, coming together with friends and family, acknowledging your community and being generous with your time and your ‘wealth’, but we are all human and fragile in the sense that some days we’re more able to give and look outside ourselves than others.
I find when I have discussions with people about this time they inevitably reflect on how it would affect them and mostly they talk about the fasting during between sunrise and sunset and how they couldn’t bear it. I guess they probably don’t know that you are expected to refrain from having sex and smoking during this time too!
I’m realising that being treated for cancer is a lot like that also. Not the refraining part (!) but the reflexive ‘how would I feel/react/cope’ element when you talk to people. Understanding other religions is perhaps part of the same mystery; it’s all too easy to make stereotypical assumptions and believe you know everything about someone’s beliefs and behaviours based on media speak and uniformed opinion, but really understanding opens up your mind in an informed way, if you’re open to learning that is. If you’re not, there’s no hope for you! Talking to people about their lives informs yours and can in turn support them. Just get talking. It’s simple, take a risk and talk to someone you don’t know or talk about something you’re unfamiliar with. What’s the worst that could happen?
Looking at my blog stats (though I am really trying not to!!) I can see that this blog has been read in Brazil, Bulgaria, Spain, UK, Belgium, USA, Canada, United Arab Emirates, France, Malaysia, Austria, Sri Lanka, Italy & Australia. Wouldn’t that be great if we could all communicate together? I’m really proud of this coverage and thank you all for coming along.
Ramadan is essentially being the best version of yourself. We can all have a go at being and doing that. Start now.
Ramadan Mubarak (wishing you a blessed Ramadan wherever and whoever you are)